Industrial Speed Dating

Industrial water treatment networking for small businesses a major focus at WQA Aquatech USA in Las Vegas this year

• Industrial water treatment networking for small businesses a major focus at WQA Aquatech USA in Las Vegas this year

by Peter Censky

So, you have a good solid industrial water practice. But a small business can always use more opportunities. How do you effectively market your capabilities? How do you expand? How do you reach new markets and penetrate new territory?

Let’s say you get a lead but the opportunity is too far away or you lack part of the capability package the customer needs. How do you supplement your present capabilities to keep that lead? It’s a quandary many face.

The big industrial water jobs are the obvious ones. That market is clearly defined and perhaps out of reach for many. But there’s a middle market that lies somewhere above the commercial market and below the obvious big industrial market. Don’t ask me to define that industrial middle market better – I could no more show you the boundary line between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

At the Water Quality Association (WQA), we think there are thousands of unserved or underserved customers in this middle market. There are far too many to even begin to describe here. As one of my members said, “Every hamlet has at least one boiler, for starters.”

This is the challenge for everyone in industrial water. Big water companies can’t serve these customers with their current models. Small companies can find this market but often lack a full range of capabilities a project requires.

There are thousands of companies and consultants spread across the country with at least some capabilities needed to specify, design, manufacture, install, service and maintain industrial projects. The problem is finding others who can complement their capabilities. The solution is a network, one that permits its members to share information on their individual capabilities with other peer companies. This network makes it possible for individual companies to come together on a project by project basis.

How does the network form? One way is through something the WQA calls “Industrial Speed Dating.” The idea is to bring together companies in a setting where they can display their capabilities and past projects to each other. The companies do the rest – it’s a true networking session. The first such speed dating event will be held in conjunction with the WQA Aquatech USA show in Las Vegas, March 25-28. The Industrial Speed Dating event will be held on Thursday, March 27th.

WQA is also adding industrial capabilities at its website with a Commercial/Industrial tab with links to our Water Information Library, which also indexes articles from this magazine. This will be a site where members can post their capabilities and customers can come to look for solutions to their industrial water problems. WQA’s website averages 3,600 visitor sessions a day and had 207,543 unique visitors through November 2007 – so the industrial sub-site is becoming a real value to our members. For more information, on Industrial Speed Dating and WQA’s other industrial education programs, visit www.wqa.org.

About the Author: Peter J. Censky is executive director of the Water Quality Association, an international trade association representing the household, commercial, light industrial and small community water treatment industry. Contact: 630-505-0160

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