Owning and Managing an Engineering Business in a Challenging Economy

Owning and operating an engineering business can be a challenging endeavour at any time. However, during a global recession, pandemic, and threat of war, these challenges can become even more intense. 

In this set of frequently asked questions, we review some of the areas that you may need to take into consideration when operating an engineering business within a challenging economy. We’ll review a range of implications from upping your marketing game through to successfully growing when companies around you are struggling to make ends meet.

What are the most critical characteristics of a successful engineering firm?

  • Self-awareness: Recognize your abilities, as well as your strengths and flaws.
  • Foresight: Be aware of upcoming developments in your field and in the economy.
  • Adaptability: Don’t be scared to grow or extend; don’t limit yourself.
  • Integrity: Never let your customers down. Never mislead customers.
  • Honesty: Always be honest with your customers.

What marketing tips do you have for an engineering firm?

  • Make an effort to be seen on major social networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook. You can also list your services on major directories and the websites of professional bodies. 
  • Make connections with folks who aren’t in your field or profession.
  • Keep people updated on your progress and what you’re working on at all times.

How can you grow your engineering firm during tough times? 

  • Be prepared to adapt and provide a wide range of services.
  • Offer lower rates in the hopes of establishing a long-term working relationship.
  • Invest significant time in networking and marketing.
  • Relax payment terms and conditions for any customers who are experiencing temporary cash flow issues.
  • Identify a specialisation and research, learn, and stay on top of the latest developments and changes in that sector.
  • Foster a family-like atmosphere and morale among staff. Make sure your staff are paid on time. This may mean paying yourself last in some cases.
  • Creating a varied network of contacts outside of your field.
  • Publish articles and attend seminars to get the word out about what you do and why you’re an authority in your niche.
  • Give without expecting anything in return solely for the sake of self-promotion.

What are the drawbacks of owning an engineering firm during a downturn?

  • Problems with payments, debt, and financial flow.
  • Challenges managing delicate client relationship issues.
  • Requesting that your workers make sacrifices
  • Dealing with creditors and obtaining loans.

Can you launch an engineering firm during challenging times? If so, what steps can you take to maximize your chances of success? 

  • Make certain you have a viable target market.
  • Make sure you’re willing to make sacrifices.
  • Assemble the RIGHT team, and don’t overlook the importance of chemistry.
  • Have a financial backup plan in place to help you get through difficult times.
  • Give your employees a say in the company’s development and make them feel like they’re part of a family.

What insurance do engineering firms in Australia require?

NER registrants must demonstrate that they have the benefit of personal indemnity insurance and that they have PI Insurance in place throughout their registration period, which covers engineers for the periods during which they are providing engineering and/or engineering related services when applying for registration on the NER.

Registrants will be asked to prove that they have maintained PI Insurance that fulfils the NER criteria at the time of yearly membership renewal. Engineers Australia may ask registrants to present a Certificate of Currency (or, if unavailable, a Policy Schedule) for their PI Insurance at renewal or upon request.

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