Simon Rodrigues grows business with focused marketing
Simon Rodrigues is a recent graduate of the NIACC Pappajohn Center’s Launch & Grow Your Business program. Launch & Grow prepares prospective business owners to successfully launch new ventures and assists existing business owners grow or otherwise deal with change. Simon came in with deep experience in welding but learned that running a business is more than technical expertise in the service offered. The discipline of working through the operational details and operational budget was essential to go live.
“As a welder, I immediately understood the production time and consumables required for a particular welding job. Those were variable costs in my operating budget. It required more planning and helped me to think through all the fixed costs like rent, insurance and basic equipment necessary before I could do job one. These fixed costs are there regardless of how many customers or projects I have. When you’re an employee, these are the employer’s problem. When you’re the business owner you can’t ignore the fixed costs or the time to ramp-up sales with marketing,” Simon explains.
“With the help of friends, I’ve kept my start-up and fixed costs low. And I’ve focused on a different market than my day job. This allowed me to start my business part-time.”
One of the key things Launch & Grow focuses on is solving a problem for a clearly defined customer. Selling to everyone almost never works. Offering a solution for a customer’s problem does work for most small businesses. Keeping a customer is less expensive than constantly getting new customers. Knowing this, Simon looked for customers in a position to deliver repeat projects. “If I keep them happy, they’ll be back,” Simon concludes.
“In brainstorming with my NIACC businesses coaches, I identified the architectural and construction industry as a repeat buyer of custom architectural, decorative or ornamental iron and steel work. I’ve landed some good projects building custom railings and stairs. These show off my craftsmanship and attention to detail and satisfy my artistic side. They also work on the business side. The construction industry needs parts built to specifications, but on time and on budget is also important because my work eventually gets incorporated into final building.”
Simon concludes, “I do a variety of on-demand work including repairs and fabrication. I need some of the repeat, volume jobs to make the numbers work. Fabricating for the architectural market is great. I love that people see and touch my craftsmanship every day. The Pappajohn Center and Small Business Development Center helped me understand how I solve problems for customers. Architects and building contractors need a welder to build custom details that can deliver the fabricated steel to realize their vision. I can see the growth in my business as a result.”
Glory Welding, in Mason City, Iowa, offers customer welding and steel fabrication. Owner, Simon Rodrigues works in a variety of metals and welding techniques and offers more than ten years’ of welding experience. www.glorywelding.com/