Do you have a passion to start your own greeting card company? You can do well in the greeting card industry with research, effective marketing and persistence. Here are 4 tips you can use to make your launch into the marketplace a successful one:
1. Get a Business License
You may need a business license, depending on your state laws. If your business name includes your full legal name, then you most likely don't need to worry about a license. You'll have to fill out an application and pay a fee with your city or county. To find out, call your county clerk in the department that handles business taxation or corporations, or call a similar state department.
What makes your cards different from the many cards already on store shelves or available online? That's the question you need to answer before starting your greeting card company. You need to know your competitive advantage:
- Is it specialized cards that you write for each client, never to be found elsewhere?
- Do you tackle topics not already covered?
- Are your cards written in a "hard to translate to" foreign language?
- Do your cards have unique and appealing art prints?
When you determine your competitive advantage, it's important to highlight that in all of your marketing efforts. There are a lot of other greeting card companies that are already established, and your challenge is to win over some of that competition.
3. Buy Financial Software
Purchasing financial software will help you keep tabs on the health of your business. It's a time-saving and flexible tool to keep your books updated (and better than using Excel or paper). You can generate reports at any time to see how well you're doing. Some recommended software to consider are Quickbooks and Peachtree. Keeping accurate books will help you to determine how and when to order additional inventory and other supplies. You can generate a cash flow report, profit and loss statements and balance sheets to get a picture of where you may need to make improvements in your marketing (or what cards to promote or discontinue).
4. Build a Team
When you're first starting out, it may seem unlikely that you'll ever grow a team of professionals to help you meet the needs of customers. However, building your team needs to be part of your business planning, and it should be a top priority. Your team should include:
- A printer
- A graphic artist
- A web designer
- A writer
- A sales rep
- An attorney
You may have the skills and experience to fill some of these roles, making your need to fill a role less urgent. However, if you find that you're not reaching your business goals because you're wearing too many hats, it's time to outsource it to an experienced independent contractor.
It's important to network with suppliers and other companies when you start your greeting card company. You'll also want to keep up with trends and other relevant information to grow your business. Joining a trade association, such as the Greeting Card Association, can help you will these objectives. You'll get a trade publication, opportunities to participate in trade shows and you can buy health insurance through a group rate plan.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.