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Eastern Iowa entrepreneurs, inventors have support system

3D printed prototypes, manufacturing available

Taking a idea and bringing it to fruition–it’s one of the most exciting processes for an entrepreneur and business owner. Once an entrepreneur has an idea of their product to change the world, it’s entrepreneurs like Gerald Beranek, founder and CEO of BareTek Industries that help bring the product to fruition. Gerald company is a “one-stop shop for entrepreneurs” where him and his team help guide those ideas through all the phases of the design and development all the way to launch.

We had a chance to hear a little from Gerald about his company, product design, development and his entrepreneurial journey.

Beth Cobarrubias places Power Perch charging shelves into boxes at BeraTek Industries, 407 Ninth Avenue SE, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Dec.14, 2016. The company handles distribution of its and client’s products as well as design, prototyping and manufacturing. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette).

Tell us about you, your background and what led you to start your business?

I am a mechanical engineer with a background in consumer product design and manufacturing.  The high cost and long lead time of getting a physical product to the market is what led me to start my business.

What’s a typical day like for you?  

Currently, my day consists of customer meetings on new projects and internal meetings to get processes in place for efficiency.  We are a small team doing big things and that takes a lot of multitasking in different areas of the company.  One day I could be playing IT guy, the next day designing a product and the next day playing CFO.  I put together a task list at the end of each day for the next day so I know what I need to accomplish.

A 3-D printer uses plastic resin to print a version of the Pins eject a Power Perch charging shelf featuring a horizontal outlet cover opening at BeraTek Industries, 407 Ninth Avenue SE, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Dec.14, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette).

What problem do you solve?

We give business owners and entrepreneurs a cost-effective way to get their product designed, manufactured and into the market.  We give our customers the freedom to manufacture at low volumes and high volumes so they can grow and scale their business as needed without having to sit on too much inventory.

What product or service does your business provide? 

We are vertically integrated from design all the way to fulfillment.  The in house services we provide are product design, prototyping, injection mold design and build, injection molding, warehousing, fulfillment and digital marketing.  We specialize in consumer product design and manufacturing that is cost effective to get to the market. This allows our customers to have a lower upfront investment than traditional manufacturing companies.  We allow our customers to order low volume parts all the way to high volume parts.

How do people find your products and services? 

So far it has been word of mouth and we have a 3rd party manufacturing sales rep. We are going to be focusing on digital marketing in 2017 to help us grow.

What makes your company unique? 

Our dedication to customer service and our ability to adapt to our customer’s needs is what makes us unique.  We also are unique in the fact that we are 100% vertically integrated which provides internal efficiencies that saves our customer money and time.

A CAD drawing

A CAD drawing shows an injection molding tool of a Power Perch charging shelf (left) at BeraTek Industries, 407 Ninth Avenue SE, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Dec.14, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

What is product design and why is it important to business owners?

Product design can range from a consumer product design all the way to a process design.  It is the way a product looks, feels, functions and provides value to a customer.  Innovative product design should be important to business owners because that is what is going to separate them from the competition.  If you design a product like everyone else’s products then your product is a “me to” product and that isn’t innovative.  There are plenty of other companies doing “me to” products just to gain a small piece of the market.

Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?

-I see my business growing to 20-30 employees as we add more capacity and different capabilities that will help our customers get their products to the market faster and more cost effectively.  We will start to utilize 3D printing more in the production environment and market testing we perform.  I think we will see a shift in entrepreneurs and companies wanting to make their products in the US and that will help us grow as we become more and more efficient internally.

If you could summarize your entrepreneurial journey in 1 word, what would it be and why? 

This is a tough one….I have felt so many different emotions along the way!  “Exciting” would be the word.  I think exciting can be used in many different forms.  When I hit a low I am excited for the future and the strategy to get to the high and when I hit a high I am excited about what was accomplished to get there. Every day is different and that makes me excited about the future of BeraTek.  I am excited that I am forming a team that is in this 100% and wants to see our company succeed.

What advice or golden nugget would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners? 

Work your butt off and don’t settle until you’ve reached your goals.  Make sure you understand who you are and what you want to do and play to your strengths. Hire people who are better than you around the things you aren’t so good at. You can’t build a successful business overnight or by yourself.  Find the right people to surround yourself with and work together as a team.

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