- Be open to changing your business strategy to keep your business growing
- Research and plan any business strategy changes
- Seek help from experts and business owners that have been through the same process
Adapting for longevity
Long established product design and development firm, APS Innovations, has successfully adapted over the years to meet the changing needs of industry according to project manager, Callum MacLeod.
'Quite aptly, our story is one of constant innovation. Back in the day nearly all our work was in simulation and tooling design for the local automotive industry. Today we develop and engineer medical, electronic, agricultural, building and consumer products for clients, with automotive making up about 5 percent of our business.'
The real growth sector for APS Innovations is in the medical device technology field, with the company having had major success in developing and testing world beating products for established manufacturers.
'Engineering highly complex medical devices often involves plastic injection moulding to the tightest of tolerances, which is one of our specialities. This is where we see our future.'
Changing business strategy
Perhaps the biggest innovation of all is that for the first time in the company's 25 year history APS is about to become a product manufacturer in its own right.
'We determined that the most effective way to continue growing the business was to manufacture our own medical device here in Victoria, which can be done cost competitively. The really challenging business aspect is that we haven't marketed or distributed products before.'
APS Innovations is currently half way through a two year Market Validation Program Proof of Concept project with the Royal Children's Hospital for a new infant feeding teat, slated to be the company's first product.
Getting help at the marketing and online workshops
With the product development team hard at work, the business development attention turned to how they would take the product to market, with the assistance of Knox City Council and Small Business Victoria’s Small Business Workshops and Seminars program.
During Victoria's Small Business Festival, a number of APS staff attended the Marketing for Growth, Get Your Business Organised and Building Your Online Strategy workshops.
'The collaborative nature of the workshops worked really well for us. In each case we were able to obtain the essential information we required, enabling us to focus on what we needed to do next to introduce our product successfully.'
The workshops helped confirm that their online marketing and sales plans for the new product were correct, and that it was something the company should do direct.
'One of the best things was that the seminars led to fresh insights for us in key business areas. We were convinced that moving to a brand marketing model was the right thing for our business, and I think we now know some of the major pitfalls to avoid.'
'There is no doubt that the Small Business Workshops and Seminars program has taken us a step or two closer to the day we launch our own product.'
While the new product launch is still some way off, the team at APS have completed an action plan for the roll out of the new business. They know how they are going to sell the product, and how they are going to distribute it. They have even trademarked a brand name for the new health and wellbeing product.
'It was a long process, but we all agreed on the name Sepal. Sepals are the part of a plant that protects the flower in bud, and supports the petals when in bloom, which is exactly what our infant feeding teat will be doing for babies and toddlers around the world in a year’s time.'