The current term paper provides a description of the start-up project M3D. The business is the improved model of 3D printer that has greater reliability and affordable price at the same time. The project was chosen for the current work because 3D printers represent the modern trend with the growing popularity as they enable us to create unique things from a great variety of materials. M3D is an innovative model that provides the ability to design, prototype, and manufacture things with greater accuracy. At the current moment, this project is not completed yet because the team of developers needs additional finances and time to finish certain procedures. It is proposed to obtain financial resources from the pledges on Kickstarter, companies, and individuals who are interested in manufacturing unique things, as well as financial institutions. For the completion of the project, organization of mass production of M3D, and increasing the demand for this model of 3D printers, the developers should create numerous relationships with the suppliers of raw materials, on-line selling platforms, and potential consumers. Moreover, they should proceed to working on the improvement of their project in order to meet the growing expectations of the target audience. The recommendations are precisely described in the marking plan, operation plan, and finance plan provided in the current work.
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The popularity of 3D printers significantly increased in the recent years because the equipment enables to design, prototype, and manufacture any ideas of researchers, artists, and representatives of many other professionals to meet their needs and industrial purposes. The new things are created by the special mechanisms from plastics. The only things the user should have are the printer itself and the plastic raw material. However, existing printers have numerous weak sides, like insufficient reliability, low speed of printing, small volume, lack of functionality and affordability, unviable business ideas, overheating, and noise (Gilpin, 2014). As a response to the problems, some researchers are constantly working on the improvement of 3D printing technologies to eliminate the above mentioned weaknesses. The current work will provide the description of the project that represents the improved version of the 3D printer under the name M3D. The project was presented in 2016 in the on-line platform for start-ups Kickstarter (Kickstarter PBC, 2016). However, the professional team of engineers develops, realizes, and manages it for more than 2 years. The start-up was chosen for the analysis because as per personal understanding the mechanism that enables people to make anything they want and need at their homes is the step into the future. The only barriers to all-out implementation are the weaknesses which could be addressed with the help of M3D. The following sections will provide short description and analysis of this project for the preparation of the business plan that may bring it to success.
The idea of the use of 3D printers for the personal and industrial purposes became rather popular in the recent years. The tremendous increase in the idea’s viability can be traced from 2007. The statement is based on the actual figures form the search engine. For example, the trend of requests for the “3D Printing” in the Google search shows the growth of clicks. It is visualized in the figure 1 (3D Engineer, 2016).
In addition, the tendency is supported by the special report provided by Allied Marker Research. It predicts that the market of 3D printers can reach more than $8 billion by 2020 (Gilpin, 2014). The estimates and the enormous popularity of 3D printing today are grounded not only in the ability to create and manufacture any models, but also in vast variety of materials available for 3D printing (like, carbon fiber, plastic, and metal), constant improvement of the hardware and software, wide area of application (from accessories and figures, to medical products and parts for aircrafts), and increased awareness about 3D printing among the broad audience (Gilpin, 2014). The factors form the background for the further popularity growth of various models of 3D printers, like the model that was chosen for the current work.
The section also contains the description of the project 4P, i.e. product, place, price, and promotion. The M3D is the improved version of 3D printer with numerous sensors, glass surface, and software and hardware innovations. This model has the number of benefits, like greater printing volume, heated print bed for adjustment of the temperature, higher accuracy, faster printing, third party filament, recovery mode, and improved sensor network (Kickstarter PBC, 2016). Among other notable features are higher power efficiency, lowered noise, attractive design, and 2 year warranty (Kickstarter PBC, 2016). The project is not finished as of today.
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The described project can be found only on Kickstarter and its official site. It is proposed to venture into the popular on-line selling platforms like Aliexpress, Alibaba, and eBay for attracting the attention of the wide audience to it. Much attention should be paid to the precise description of the major characteristics of the 3D printer, its distinct features and benefits, which were noted above.
The developers of the M3D provided the price of the printer on their page on Kickstarter in the amount of $449 per piece (Kickstarter PBC, 2016). The price is rather reasonable for the high-quality equipment with numerous distinct characteristics. At the same time, the M3D printer is affordable for the individuals, who intend to start creating and manufacturing their designed things.
The promotion of the described project can be performed by its introduction in various printed and on-line media for creators, inventors, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and other potential consumers. It can be also presented on innovation exhibitions and during the presentations to the groups of potential customers. People should not only obtain information about the new version of 3D printer, they should watch it at work to clearly understand its benefits over other models of 3D printers. The information about M3D can be presented in social media, like Facebook and LinkedIn, as millions of people spend hours in the online means of communication. Much attention should be paid to the creating and placing greater number of interesting videos on YouTube. The approach would enable the visualization of the actual work of M3D and make it more understandable to people.
The operational plan of the described project contains the following parts: resources, activities, and partnerships. The financing of the project will come from the great variety of sources: people who intend to donate their funds for the development of the start-up by means of Kickstarter, manufacturers who are interested in the design and production of the unique components and equipment, and creative people who want to realize their ideas. Furthermore, the developers of M3D may cooperate with the financial institutions and apply for grants for finishing their project.
The major activity to be completed in the nearest time is finishing the designation and construction of M3D. The stages of the project already performed, under performance, and under approval are shown in the figure 2 (Kickstarter PBC, 2016).
The stage of the project is connected with collecting of funds via the sources described above. The next stage is the mass production of the model of 3D printers. The developers would need the greater number of raw materials, resources, and more labor force.
Simultaneously, the developers of the project should actively promote their idea through the channels discussed above. Much attention should be paid to the cooperation of manufacturers of different equipment, like medical, transportation, and laboratory. The companies may be highly interested in the unique abilities provided by M3D and may even place orders on the 3D printers before the actual beginning of the mass manufacturing.
After the completion of the actual work on the model of M3D printer, the developers should complete the activities on searching of the new ways to improve 3D printing technologies, like the ability to use greater variety of materials, development of different sizes of 3D printers for various purposes, improved accuracy among others. The activities would enable the management to meet the growing demands of the potential customers and even exceed their expectations. The constant improvement of the current design will enable to reach leading position on the growing market of 3D printers.
The developers of the project should also form the variety of partnerships to grant the success of their ideas. They should closely cooperate with the suppliers of the parts and materials necessary for making 3D printers and materials for 3D printing. The customers would value the company that offer the whole range of products, i.e. the printer, spare parts and accessories, and material for printing. As it was mentioned above, the developers should closely cooperate with on-line selling platforms, printed and on-line magazines, and newspapers for the presentation of their production to the broader audience. They should also form partnerships with the potential customers, including creative personalities and manufacturing corporations. The relationships would assure stable demand for the new model of 3D printers.
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The financial plan for the discussed project contains information about estimated cost, revenue, and financing information. As mentioned on the page of the project on Kickstarter, the developers need about $ 100,000 to finish their project (Kickstarter PBC, 2016). The projected price of one M3D will be $449. As per personal understanding, the cost includes the expenses on actual production of the printer, wages of engineers, promotion of the project, and overhead. Therefore, the company would need about $350 for the production of one 3D printer. Thus, the actual revenue would be $ 99 per one item. The exclusion on the additional expenses on advertising and improvements, gives the sum of income that is estimated to be $30 per item. Thus, selling 1,000 items would bring the developers about $30,000 profit. The figures are based on the estimates grounded in the information provided by the developers of the project.