Engineering start-ups: Can you compete with the big players?

It sometimes seems that smaller companies are fighting a losing battle because they simply do not have the money or resources to compete with the big players in their field. However, this may not be the case in the engineering sector, where talent and offerings are more valuable than size.

The engineering sector today

The US engineering sector has been in something of a decline in recent years. This was inevitable due to the financial crisis that began in 2008 when construction markets came to a halt. Buildings were simply not being built, because money and backers had suddenly disappeared and companies delayed or cancelled construction projects accordingly. This led to a decline in the demand for engineering products and expertise; but now that the global economy is recovering, this decline is on its way to being reversed. The recovery of the manufacturing industry in the US has also played its part in the increase in demand for good engineers.

This means that it is an opportune time to think about starting up an engineering company. Engineers enable the modern world to work: can you imagine being without your car or cell phone, not being able to surf the internet or download music and movies? Without engineers designing the components for devices, you would not be able to do these things.

The engineering sector is viewed as a highly skilled arena, and is renowned for being an industry that embraces innovation and specialization. This is where the opportunities are for start-up engineering firms. The focus in engineering is no longer on being able to mass produce components, but rather the ability to innovate with both existing products and coming up with ideas for new ones. It will be virtually impossible for a newbie in the engineering sector to compete with the big boys, but the field of engineering is a great one for the entrepreneur to enter into.

Like many other sectors, the way in is to focus on a niche product or service. Transducer Techniques are an example of an engineering firm who have formed a niche for themselves, and are successful because of it. They focus on their products, paying strict attention to detail, investing in their engineers’ expertise and producing quality components. As a result, their products are in high demand.

The only problem with becoming a niche provider is the cost of hiring talent to back up specialized products and services. Highly skilled engineers are in high demand and as such, they can command considerable fees and salaries. Another option to paying high salaries, and one that is being considered and adopted by several US firms, is to offer engineers a stake in the company. This gives them a financial and intellectual interest in making sure that the company succeeds.

For those looking to enter the engineering sector, the future looks bright. Skilled engineers are in high demand, and as long as start-ups focus on niche products, they have every chance of succeeding.