I see a lot of threads on starting a welding business. Having had a good business for many years I thought I would pass this on regarding a business. When I opened the shop we had a purpose and were negotiating a contract to build specialized trailers. That fell through and we had to change gears fast. We couldn't compete building standard utility and box trailers in a small shop. My wife went to about every business in town that could use welding services and brought a portfolio of what we could do. That kept us going but not making us rich. I joined a few groups like the chamber of commerce, better business, small business and others. They were pretty much a scam to me (sorry if I offend any members) and really did nothing for bringing in business.
By chance I was invited to a unique business group after doing some work for one of their members. The group was about 75 members. No two business could be in the same business. I was invited to see before joining and pay any kind of dues. This was purely a local group, no fancy plaques,decals, or awards, just weekly meetings. I soon picked up more business from this group than any other means we tried. They gave me their business and referred a lot to me. Of course, I did the same for them. There was a huge variety of firms. One of each electronic, mechanical, appliance, building contractor, lawyer, architecture, structural, realtor, mattress maker, and on and on. They gave me good prices for their services and I for them.
There is a lot of discussion about what equipment to buy for a shop, where to locate, etc. but getting business in the door is really the import thing. If you have a business, there is the usual, create a business plan, insurance, funding etc. but finding a group like the one I was in was really a blessing. This may be something to help some of you out.