Run it the right way, and you could make handsome profits from a business dealing with promotional products. If you have the courage and determination to begin your new venture from scratch, do so. Otherwise, go for a franchise or a direct sales dealer having an established setup.
Your products should prove popular at every kind of event, such as college campus events, political rallies, sporting events, webinars, etc. After all, people do love receiving free T-shirts, pens, key chains, business card holders, calendars, foodstuff, drinks, etc. Just make sure that your company logo and name are on each promotional product.
However, how would you actually go about initiating a promotional products business?
At the outset, this step is not compulsory, but might prove helpful if you are a novice in this arena. You may give a couple of years to learning the ropes of the business by joining an established organization.
You will be able to observe all kinds of promotional campaigns from initiation to completion, as well as learn about the risks and pitfalls you must take care to avoid. Above all, you will gain a number of professional contacts.
Do your Research
You will have to identify your niche or target market first. Towards this end, you must make up your mind about what kind of promotions you would love to take up. For instance, you might like to link up with companies that deal with specific products/services.
Alternatively, you may like to become a specialist in enhancing brand names, entertainment promotions, etc. Then again, you may be wish to be a part of all kinds of events, go in for ticket sales, make guest appearances on the radio/television, engage in direct marketing and distribution of services/products, etc.
In case, you desire to begin your venture from scratch, it would be best to link up with wholesale manufacturers or wholesalers. Peruse certain publications and websites, to garner as much information as you can.
It would be best to find someone, who offers drop-shipping, for you will be able to order large quantities of products at wholesale costs. Some wholesalers offer commercial printers for printing your establishment’s name and logo. If you cannot find such a dealer, you will have to purchase a printer of your own.
Look at Competing Branded Merchandise Suppliers
It’s always good to check out the competition, so you should look at other branded merchandise suppliers for inspiration on product lines and the way they market their business. One of the recent trends have been a push towards eco-friendly promotional items, with customers and companies alike concerned at the use of disposable items, and the impact they may be having on the environment.
You need to check out the competition too, in order to fix your prices. Investigate and compare over the Internet. This exercise will also help you decide if you are entering a rather overcrowded market or a landscape with sufficient space for your setup too. Whatever you decide to do, ensure that it is a niche you are passionate about, for only then will you give your 100% to it.
Draw up a business plan
Even if you are the most intelligent person on earth, it does not hurt to document a detailed business plan on paper! Use the business plan as a blueprint for evaluating your establishment’s progress regularly, as well as resetting of business goals. Include a wonderfully catchy name for your promotional products business too, in this plan.
Names do attract, even if they are a small part of the whole picture. At the same time, ensure that it is easy to remember, and not long-drawn in nature! Anyway, you will need a name for registration purposes, whether you are planning to set up your business in an urban, semi-urban or rural area. You will need a business/vendor’s license in hand too, as your clients will have to give you sales tax. You will need insurance too.
The next important thing is expense. You will have to expend on various areas, such as initial investment, startup, products/services, advertising, action strategies, acquisition of clients, linking up with business associates, etc. If you can reasonably figure it out, place your projected income in the first couple of years too, on the blueprint.
Finally, set up an analysis section, wherein you place your thoughts about the demographics you plan to target, the industry you have decided to enter, and the existing scenario at the marketplace. It always helps to gain clarity in thought processes. Towards this end, you might even connect up with friends, who work in diverse sectors of industry, or have their own businesses.
Just request them to outline the challenges they have faced in the past, and how they have handled them competently. Their answers should help add value to your business propositions, whenever you approach potential clients. In fact, you will be able to decide the kind of individuals you want to be around for a major part of your day. It always helps to work with people who share your views, or whom you can respect and like.
Creating the infrastructure
Fortunately, for you, you will not need a huge amount of capital to set up your promotional products establishment. In fact, you may not require a physical layout at all. It is easy enough to work from home, if you have a desktop computer or a laptop, along with a Smartphone. At the same time, you should be willing to travel to meet clients at their chosen locations.
Apart from traveling expenses, you will have to shell out money for purchasing materials required for promoting products/services. Sometimes, you may opt to print promotional materials. The venues, where you choose to conduct your promotions, will demand advance fees too. Finally, all kinds of incidental expenses may crop up without warning. If you wish to reduce your costs, look for arenas that do not demand heavy advance deposits. Similarly, use word-of-mouth advertising as much as you can.
Will you require business equipment?
Apart from your phone and computer, you may require some office furniture and production equipment too. Ensure that you have a load of business cards handy, to offload on various contacts. The content should be very professionally and entertainingly outlined on these cards, including your updated contact details.
You will need to build a network of contacts, both, from within the industry and without. The people within your chosen industry will support you with materials or at events. They should include event organizers, printers, transport services, caterers, etc. Check their professional backgrounds and expertise, prior to hiring them.
With regard to building a customer base, you will have to keep your posters and flyers handy at all times. Do not hesitate to connect with small corporations, educational institutions, dealers, restaurants, etc, and request to speak with managers of advertising campaigns or public relations officers. You may even connect with coaches, owners of trade magazines, local radio/television stations, etc.
Do not forget to build a presence on social media. After all, this is the ‘Internet’ age! Create an eye-catching and knowledgeable website, which appeals to accidental visitors, potential customers, as well as professionals. Note that your professional profile should be separate from your personal one, for you are keen to enhance your ‘brand’.
Use e-mails and print media to display your services and talents too. Just in case, you fail to find paying clients during the initial stages, work with non-profit organizations that may, or may not, pay you. Your kindness, combined with their goodwill, should suffice to give a boost to your non-existent business and make it progress!