When something is "reified," it is taken from an abstract concept and shaped into a tangible real-world object. It's safe to say with 3D printers, a basic form of reification is now finally possible.

While this device will undoubtedly change the face of the manufacturing world, the average small business environment could see considerable changes as well. And not just those that spend money on purchasing one of these machines. Small businesses could learn a thing or two from the 3D printer and its designers. After all, there's a lot to admire.

"How narrow is your small business's audience?"

The shortest distance between two points
Larger corporations using 3D printers for focused operations look for one aspect in particular. Call it cutting out the middleman or trimming the fat. Either way, these big businesses understand the value of streamlining their operations.

Depending on what kind of overarching business plan these big name companies have in place, optimization can create closer client relations, save on operating costs and shrink the distance between the boardroom and the end result.

Whatever your small business may be, ask yourself: Is there anything separating me from my finished product or service?

Stretch your wingspan
BizTech reportedly priced top-of-the-line 3D printers at more than $1 million – not a terribly accessible sum of money for everybody interested in what these machines have to offer. Printer makers took that as a challenge, and now quality hardware can be purchased for 0.1 percent of that original asking price. Not only can smaller enterprises enjoy the benefits of 3D printing technology, but the general public can join in too.

Unleash your inner printer.Unleash your inner printer.

How narrow is your small business's audience? Sure, maybe a high-end plunger company might sell exclusively to plumbers, but is it too much of stretch to assume every household in the U.S. wouldn't mind a well-designed and reliable way to unclog their toilets?

Adjust your business model so you can reach a greater customer breadth, and your small business might obtain recognition once thought inconceivable.

Break the mold
Speaking of which, it's been said an imagination is a terrible thing to waste. What's worse is having a lack of imagination as a barrier. Small businesses can still do big things. If a machine can print a car in 44 hours, your small business is capable of equal amounts of innovation.

All it takes is a goal in mind and your team's best brainstormers.

Equipment and business industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.