How to Start a Print Business with Little or no Capital
In my previous post, I wrote on how you can start a print shop without owning a print press. Another thing you may not know is that you can start a print business with little or no capital. In this post, I will talk mostly on how you can setup a print business without having the necessary equipment for a print press.
The print business is capital intensive and so it will be really expensive for those who are interested in doing it but have little or no finance. However, you can still start one in the comfort of your room without having any money. What you need is just the negotiation skills. Below are some steps you could follow to setup your dream print business.
1. Set up your print business office or shop
This is easy. If you don’t have the funds, don’t worry. You can start it with a home office. If that is the case, then you can go straight to the next point.
On the other hand, if you have some money to start, then you can setup an office where you want to operate your print shop. You will need a phone, scanner, computer, Internet connection and a desk. Make sure your work area is as detailed as possible. This will give you a clear mind and let you to be at the top of your business.
Getting Internet connection today is not very difficult. With your mobile phone, you can share Internet to many computers without the use of other accessories like a modem, switch, cable, etc. This will permit you get connected on the Internet and promote your print business, receive and send emails, etc.
2. Look for printers who will do the jobs for you at wholesale prices
This is one of the most important task. You daring into print business without owning any printing machine. In my previous post, I talked of “printers are your employees”. You need someone who will print for you. There are many printers out there who will not hesitate to offer you commissions or reduced printing rates for you to bring in new customers.
I also made it clear that most printers, especially the small ones don’t engage in advertisement. This will be an advantage for you and them. To them, they are outsourcing their marketing to another party, while you will be paid on commission or make your profit from the difference you charge your clients and what the printers charge you.
You can check around town or use the local phone directory or the Internet to search. Call them and ask if they can have you as a print broker or do jobs for you at wholesale prices. Make sure you bargain at a minimum 10-15% discount or more. Some printers have print broker programs already and will have a contract ready to be signed. Always go in for signed contracts.
3. Choose the products to offer and set your own prices
There are many products out there that pass through the printing press. My advice will be that you choose the products that you know you can handle the market. As time goes, you can add more products. Go for products that are most popular.
The products range from business cards, envelops, brochures, letterheads, folders for presentation, fliers, postcards, and labels are popular. You can go as far as printing promotional items like pens, bags, t-shirts, banners, etc.
Plan your business for various festive seasons. For example t-shirts during Labor Day in Cameroon and most African countries; gadgets like pens, bags, calendars during November to February for weddings and end of year festivities.
NB: Don’t forget customer service is the key to this business. What you should stress on more is the value and not the profits in the beginning. Offering good customer service is the best you can do.
4. Promote your print business
You own a print shop and printers are an asset to publicity and public relations. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to make publicity as well (both print and Internet). As I said, it is rare to find local printing press go in for publicity of their products or services. Rather, print brokers do a lot of publicity to get as many clients as possible. As a print shop owner without printing machines, you need not take publicity lightly. You can do one or all of the following if you can afford:
If you have the cash, print fliers, business cards and post cards and distribute at places where people visit frequently. It could be a restaurant, hair salon, barber’s shop, clubs and many others. Without that, you can use the other inexpensive methods that follow. But remember you will have to still do the above when your business is growing.
Start a page on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Social media is one of the places where you can promote your business or brand with as little as nothing yet have people know it.
You can also create a mailing list and send short mails or messages to individuals. Email marketing is one of the best method to advertise for a print business. Make sure you respect people’s privacy and don’t junk their emails with publicity.
Word of mouth is a great asset. Tell everyone you know (friends, acquaintances, families) about your new business. Give them your business cards and ask them to refer you to others. This previous post on referral marketing as the best bet to grow your business will be something worth reading.
Own a website. Put your site address on everything you use to make your business known. Owning a website of your own today is not a big deal. Checkout our inexpensive website package that we provide for startups.
5. Maintain and keep your customer base
Always maintain and keep in touch with your customers. This is one of the most effective means of growing your business. When compared, it is easy to get a customer but very difficult to keep one. Make sure your customer service is such that clients will come to stay. A satisfied customer will refer others to your business.
As your business grows, you will have to think of changing your status as an individual to a registered business. To land big deals with companies, you will need to have a legal business. We have given details on how to start a sole-proprietorship or a limited liability company in previous posts. You can check them out.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for any help. Make sure you share this post with friends and relatives. This may just be what they have been looking for. You leave a message in the comment section to share your worries or experience about owning a print business. Don’t forget to subscribe below for more tips and updates from our blog.