There are many reasons why you might want to start up your own business for personalised gifts. the main reason is financial, why produce your items for a third party when you could be reaping all of the benefits?
In order to be successful, you will need to understand the key factors involved in starting any business and apply them accordingly.
When you first get started you should have already taken the following into consideration in respect of how to start a personalized gift business
1. Establish Your Niche
Is the market already saturated with what you are offering? If so, what can you do to make your offering more attractive? If not, why not? Is your offering required by the public or just an idea that you thought was desirable? Remember, we are all built differently and some ideas are just not practical.
However, once you have found your niche, through research, make sure you are prepared before putting it out to market.
2. Have a Business Plan – and STICK TO IT
You need a thorough and honest business plan. Don’t try and sell yourself, be 100% transparent. You may never need to show your plan to anyone else but, should you require extra funding it is the first thing you will be asked for.
You should include your findings regarding pricing structure, stand-out offerings, sales strategies as well as potential profit and loss.
You can get help for developing a business plan online and for free –usually on the government website.
Unless something goes terribly awry, try and stick to your business plan throughout the planning and take off process. Too many people are tempted to go ‘off piste’ at some point and this can cause problems further down the line. Remember, you wrote the business plan to correspond with how you want your business to look, you did it for a reason so don’t compromise that reason.
3. Know your Market
You are going to be doing a lot of research, you have to when starting any business. The most important research for you is your competitors; what are they doing? What are they offering? What discounts do they have?
Remember that although these are your competitors, it might be a good idea to try and speak to them, especially if they are selling something which is in a completely different category to yours. This kind of research is invaluable as you will be able to learn of potential problems, and at the same time make a friend in the business. Have your questions ready to ask.
4. Design Your Brand
All companies have a brand and the most well-known have a well-known logo or brand associated. You need to get this one right the first-time round as rebranding is costly, time-consuming and proves you didn’t take it seriously enough the first time.
Choose a colour scheme. If you do this first, you are halfway there as you only have to incorporate the name of your brand. Of course, you will need to make sure that there are no other companies using the name you want to use and that your colour scheme is not deemed as trying to replicate another brand who offer the same services as you.
5. Create a Web Site
There are many free web site builder apps (such as WordPress). These guide you through how to create a website offering your wares.
Get professional standard photographs of your items as this is known to encourage sales.
If you want any functionality not supplied with your free web builder, employ someone to do it for you. There are thousands of freelance web developers out there. You can tell them exactly what you want, and they will give you a price (or a timescale and a daily rate). It’s a worthwhile investment as these days so many people order online.
6. Find a Location
This is something that can come later if preferred – wait and see how the internet offerings go first. However, there may be reasons to have an office away from home (for example, you may be offering large items and don’t have the space at home). Choose a location that is near to main roads for delivery purposes.
In the unlikely event you are not intending to have an online presence, then location should be in the centre of a bustling town.
Find out when markets and fayres are on locally and book a stall. Take any personalisation equipment with you and sell on the spot. Of course, if your personalisation is in the form of paint or embroidery – take along some of your favourite pieces and commission work at these events.
7. Market your Business
Create a buzz! If you don’t have lots of money for marketing, use social media. Try and get some influencers to endorse your products.
Approach local companies and see if they need any personalised items to hand out to their clients. Research – are any of the local businesses approaching a big anniversary? If so, make an appointment and take some samples of what you can offer…give them a reduced price for guaranteed business.
Approach hotels – they always have personalised items. Think of other services who you know have personalised items.
8. Choose Your Fonts Wisely
Many buyers can be put off a personalised product because the font used is not to their liking. You cannot know everyone’s favourite though! It is advisable that you give a couple of examples personalisation to show what fonts you can use.
Even better, incorporate a ‘try it and see’ option on your website whereby potential buyers can change the font and colour to see which they prefer.
9. Create a Brochure
The list of people who would buy something personalised is endless, from large organisations to individual gifts. A brochure in the right place could be the difference between getting the business or not. Ask if you can leave brochures in prime locations.
10. Establish Relationships
Make sure you treat the suppliers like clients. They have the power to change everything by changing the way they sell, or increasing prices. If you have a good relationship with your suppliers you could find that you get work from their recommendations too. These relationships are invaluable when used correctly – they could be a fledgling company too, so the relationship could be mutually beneficial.
As with all businesses, it is imperative you do all the groundwork before you launch your products.