Have you ever tried to buy the perfect promotional item for your business? You look online, you talk to a salesperson, you look at a catalogue but you don’t find quite what
you had in mind. Or, you find something that you decide is close enough, and when you try to order it, you can’t get it in the color you want or with the printing you want.

There is a remarkable story in Fast Company today about a company that has carved out a niche in 3-D printing and custom manufacturing: “Shapeways, the Dutch upstart that brings rapid-prototyping to the masses, is one step closer to becoming a custom-manufacturing juggernaut. The company will announce today that it has raised $5 million in Series A venture capital and will move its headquarters to New York.”

The article continues, “Today, Shapeways is the rapid-prototyping manufacturer for designers and DIYers who want high-quality, relatively inexpensive 3-D-printed wares in an improbably vast selection of materials, from plastic and sandstone to glass and bronze. Shapeways also operates an Etsy-style marketplace that allows people to hawk their work in online shops — a boon to independent designers who’d normally have to cozy up to a
mainstream manufacturer to bring anything to market. Shapeways’s output has grown from 600 products a week to 2,500 in less than two years; that’s allowed them to drop prices to a third of what they were in 2008. And it’s still growing.”

You can read the fascinating interview with the CEO of Shapeways, Peter Weijmarshausen,
here: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662361/exclusive-shapeway-scores-5m-from-union-square-ventures-aims-to-be-etsy-of-3-d-printing?partner=homepage_newsletter

Shapeways was an experimental company formed within the parent company (Philips). There was a clear understanding at the outset that some experiments fail and some succeed. If there were failures, the experiment would end. If there were successes, it would either become a part of Philips or it would spin out on its own.

Once you read the article, sit down for a few minutes and clear your mind of everything else. Try to think of your firm as analogous to Philips and think about the kind of niche you could create that would meet a specific customer need or alleviate a particular client pain point.

Once you have the idea, give us a call at The Practice Building Team. We can help you build that niche and make it a profit center for your firm. Call us now at 732-397-8489, or click here to email us.

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