Pivot or Persevere?

kenEco3D has been a laser scanning service provider for the last 7 years, growing to 50+ full-time employees with offices in Phoenix, New York, and Utah. All we do is laser scanning, 2d replication, and 3d modeling – no engineering, surveying, or other services. I share this only to provide referential support for the views I’m about to share. Our journey for the last 7 years has been a series of “pivot…or persevere” decisions. And while we usually get it right, there are many times we didn’t.

I’m not the smartest guy in the room – the truth is I’ve made a lot of mistakes – and if history is any indication, I will continue to do so. My goal here is to share my experience and thoughts to make it easier for you to succeed.

So why do I want to help? Because I believe that the faster our industry grows, the better it will be collectively for us all. The better the industry is, the more money we can all make. Remember, laser scanning and 3d technology is being used in less than 10% of all potential opportunities.  Frankly, it pisses me off that more of my colleagues don’t put a genuine effort in that direction, but I guess that’s human nature – to feel that everyone is a competitor.

Our single greatest challenge as service providers isn’t the technology, it’s getting people to change. And if we can collectively do that by educating our clients—regardless of the market—we can kick some butt.

So here are some lessons learned from my rear-view mirror:

  • Don’t always say “yes” when the phone rings with an opportunity. Pick select markets that allow you to profit; that fit into your existing expertise; and that allow you to scale.
  • Don’t sell laser scanning; sell measurement.
  • Don’t sell modeling; sell accurate 2d and 3d as-builts.
  • Never outsource modeling to a foreign nation and expect accuracy.
  • GC’s and architects will continue to believe they can perform laser scanning and modeling in-house. You can’t fight that, but you can educate them. Eventually they will fail for a variety of reasons, but they need to learn that themselves. It’s like working with a teenager…
  • Vendors don’t really care about you…only themselves. They’ll make claims that are always under “ideal” laboratory scenarios and have very little practical application. Nonetheless, you need to partner with them to watch what new technology is being developed. Help them help us.
  • Hire sales people, not tech experts! You’re selling—regardless of the industry—to relatively new or completely new users and they want relationships; not white papers.
  • Don’t mistake a good meeting with a project opportunity. It’s one thing for someone to appreciate the technology—and it’s a whole different mind-set that gets them to buy from you.
  • Solve a simple problem and go for the close. We have a saying — “quotes are free”. You need to quote your butt off!
  • Regardless of how sexy our 3d world has become…2d is still the king across the planet. So…don’t fight it, embrace it with your 3d scanner and create 2d deliverables. What!???!  Yeah, get them hooked on YOU with 2d deliverables and then morph them over to 3d.
  • It needs to be easy for a client to use your services. The more complicated you make it, the less chance for conversion. So, ask the client how they’re currently solving the problem of measuring and offer a specific solution.
  • There are 30 – 40 different markets that you can specialize in – many are completely untouched.
  • Regardless of how the economy performs, we have the ability with this technology to save labor and material expense. As such, our industry will continue to have rapid growth.

We as an industry need more competition…which will lead to more democratization of the technology, which will help us all grow our businesses.

As always, I appreciate your comments, questions, or ideas for another topic. I can be reached at ken@eco3dusa.com

Ken Smerz

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