Adam Coursin of Kewaunee is making a business out of helping others make a business.
The owner of Advanced 3D Creations (advanced3dcreations.net), Coursin was guest speaker at a recent Green Bay SCORE meeting. His goal is to help inventors, like those commonly mentored by SCORE volunteers, take their idea to the next level.
“What I do is mostly target inventors and entrepreneurs to formulate new products,” he said. “My company is at the beginning stage of forming a new idea. Mold and tooling costs are not a good thing for someone starting out in business because you immediately need to go out and get a loan. To be able to prototype it is a powerful thing.”
Coursin, a mechanical engineer who also works full time, spends his “free” time turning ideas into exact replicas through rapid prototyping. He designs, makes drawings of, and uses a 3D printer to quickly assemble a physical part, piece or model of a product. Although he purchased his first 3D printer as a hobby, he said his father encouraged him to take it to the next level.
“My father is a businessman — he runs a building company and is very well-connected. He’s been the president of several companies and has a wealth of knowledge and experience, and he recommended that I form an LLC,” Coursin said.
The LLC was formed in 2015 with two objectives in mind. The first was to create inventions of his own; the second was to fill a niche in the market by helping people avoid high casting costs in the product development stage.
One of his first projects, the Doggie Doo Clip (doggiedooclip.com) is being marketed online with his sister, Sara, as partner. The clip, each one individually handmade and laser cut, attaches to a leash and holds a clean or dirty dog bag so that owners have their hands free.
Coursin produces the clips, and his sister is doing the marketing. They have applied for a patent with the hope of garnering success on a national level.
Other projects, many of which are featured on the company website and Facebook page, show great diversity. Coursin has worked for individuals and larger companies.
“I made a battery bracket for a customer who was backed by multiple investors so they could see it before moving to production," Coursin said. "There was a two-day turnaround; that’s how fast you can turn an idea into a reality.”
While some customers need his services so they can make changes and look at the viability of the product before mass production, others might be looking for a few pieces of a part that would be otherwise cost prohibitive.
“If you have a part and it’s outdated or hard to find, I can make it,” he said. “Some people give me a sketch on a cocktail napkin and I have the resources to draw on my own experiences to make what you want.”
Coursin will be trying to get the word out about his business by taking part in local farmers markets and other events. He still needs to define his business model so he can write a business plan.
“I started to write a business plan, but I need to know how I want the business to develop," Coursin said. "So far, I’ve used my own capital, but will need a plan when I go for a loan.”
In the interim, Coursin falls back on experience gained. Even as a teenager, he felt the entrepreneurial itch and had a grass-cutting business. His father bought a lawn tractor with the understanding that the younger Coursin could use it for other lawns if he took care of the family’s lawn for free.
Coursin was so successful that the business paid for a car and college expenses. He plans to apply the same diligence to the new company.
“An entrepreneur is someone who is willing to pay the price of what it takes to own a business; a person who is willing to work hard,” he said. “You also might need to be a little obsessive and crazy.”
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.