21 Steps to Start Printing Business

21 Steps to Start Printing Business  | I am always interested in design and everything that comes with it which includes print design.

I am actually considering starting a printing business but I am still at research stage.

During my research stage I learn that, although the concept of printing business is rather simple the business itself is complex and resource intensive.

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Read on to find out what I’ve discovered so far…

Printing business is lucrative:

Printing business is lucrative – it seems that you can make millions simply by answering to the market demand. Indeed, the demand is there.

So, I thought starting a printing business is easy. Just buy a printer, printing software for digital printing, stock-up, and you are ready to start. The truth is, I search the web and found out what the been-there-done-that experts say:

If you think printing business is easy, think again.

But then Of course, the potential is still huge, despite all the online media and such. There are always needs for printing… Businesses still rely on brochures, business cards, banners and such for their branding and marketing campaign.

They still adopt a hybrid approach to marketing, using both online and off line methods.

All in all, the opportunities are there. However, let’s not forget that because it seems easy to start, there are many budding entrepreneurs jump into the printing bandwagon. Fortunately, many of them fail due to their misconceptions about the printing business. The same misconceptions I have, I must say.

Printing business challenges

Reading on printing forums and entrepreneurship sites, I learned that if you want to start a proper printing business, you need to have these:

Start Printing Business Start Printing Business

1. Deep pocket

If you want to offer offset printing, you got to have to invest in offset printing machine – which is expensive.

You also need to consider maintenance costs and budgeting for spare part – even printers – replacements.

Doing so without strong financing will be disastrous.

2. Exhaustive business plan

“Just do it” might generally apply in starting any businesses. But I believe in business plans, as long as you are not stuck in the planning stage and fail to do anything else beyond that.

From the online discussions I read, there is one common best practice suggested by experts:

Do exhaustive business plan. Printing business is a long-term business, and you need to project your financials properly.

3. Prime location

Some suggest that you should start a printing business near business district and campus area.

Doing so, even if you start small, your printing business suitability is “guaranteed” by the amount of “targeted” traffic you are getting. But then again, a prime location will almost always mean expensive lease and rent.

4. Design software

Adobe Photoshop is good, but to start a printing business offering digital printing.

You need the whole Adobe Design suite. This also applies for other design suites like Quark, etc.

And again, it’s costly, as you need to invest thousands of dollars to purchase a license.

5. Get a Strong print design knowledge

Your ability to use Photoshop is useful but to run a successful printing business you need more than that. You might even need to take design class and/or courses.

Sure, you could hire someone with that knowledge, but again, hiring someone is costly, especially in the early stage of your business.

So, yes, if you are thinking about starting a printing business right from your home you need to strongly consider and re-consider.

Indeed, the days of starting your printing business from your own garage are over; only a few doing so survive but most fail – just “blame” it on the online printing companies like Print Runner.

Clients can now conveniently order online and have their business card printing done in timely manner.

It’s that simple, and small printing company many set at home cant’ compete with that… or not? Yes, if you are insisting to start a printing business.

There is one of few ways you can do it with less investment and higher rate of success.

Here is my favorite business idea, as usual: start a printing business as a broker;

This is a good small business idea in many ways.

As a broker, you don’t have to invest in printing machines.

You don’t have to invest in human resources.

You don’t have to acquire design software license.

You don’t even need to have a location.

All you need to have is a computer, mobile phone and Internet access.

Your role here is as an intermediary.

Your job is to get clients and have the printing orders sent to your printing partners.

Your real work is maintaining a healthy relationship with your clients and printing partners.

Of course, there are some other things you need to consider to increase your chances for success:

6. Build a website

As you will likely to work from home or a smallish office you need a “front desk” that are both appealing and effective in converting prospect into clients.

You need a company website that actually allows your prospects to submit their requests online.

7. Use a virtual office

Just like businesses in other niches, in printing business image is everything. You need to look professional.

Consider to rent a virtual office space with all the perks. Receptionists, mail boxes, and meeting room (if your clients insist you to meet in “your” office.) .

A decent virtual office in prime business district won’t cost you a lot of money.

8. Build portfolio

You need to build a portfolio.

You might even need to work on projects free of charge to get your printing business name out.

Consider this as an investment.

9. Crowd source for ideas

You can offer print design ideas for your clients yourself, but if you don’t have the eye for design you might want to consider crowd-sourcing for design ideas. Sites like BusinessHAB.com can help you with that cost effectively.

10. Promote your Business

There is no such thing as “just build it and they will come” in printing business.

Market your printing services properly, and don’t forget you need to create your own business cards, brochures and other printed materials for your printing business.

It’s a great way to let your prospects know the quality of your work.

So, there you go – good luck in your printing business!

11Find a niche within the printing industry.

The most successful printing entrepreneurs start a printing business by finding a niche in a specialized area, such as digital printing instead of trying to be all things to all people.

Success is more attainable by targeting a need and fulfilling it.

One of the best examples of this strategy can be seen by the success of franchise sign printing businesses which target budget-minded business owners who only need occasional signs and banners which can be spotty (inconsistent demand) or loaded with competition.

They do not attempt to offer anything but quick-turnaround signs and leave brochures and envelope printing to traditional offset printing businesses.

12. Familiarize yourself with the business standards:

Realize that the niche for color printing and the better quality grade of printing May be in a certain number of dots per inch (DPI) Which can be very demanding and tricky to match.

21 Steps to Start Printing Business in Nigeria

13. Be careful with your words:

Remember, as a business owner. You will be responsible for the timely completion of jobs to your customer’s satisfaction.

Caution: Any verbal or written agreement like you [the printer] know what looks right.

So you can okay the proofs for color and quality is loaded with the danger of customer rejecting the finished product.

For example, they may require:

  • Product match, excellent quality – very precise color, hue, and tone for high end products.
  • Color match, excellent quality – usually precise Process Matching System (PMS Colors) by screen values (tones created by dot sizes) of the 4 process colors (cyan, magenta, process yellow, and black).
  • Or just pleasing color, of medium quality – which is not so precisely matched. Caution: that means pleasing to the customer, not to you.
  • Commercial quality printing is probably a cut above desktop publishing, done in your-office (above typical office printer, copier, or duplicator quality). It requires sharp line art and text – fineness of line work does not vary from page to page, screen color or halftone detail is consistent.
  • Any choice of printing process (or brand of paper) shown on a quote to your customer is for them to choose. No, you cannot substitute a more profitable method or material. Unless they agree in writing to a change, they can demand that it be redone at your expense — if you did not follow written specifications precisely.

14. Research the competition and their equipment:

Once you find out who your target market is.

Research the printing businesses who are currently attempting to fulfill the needs of this audience.

Visit these printing businesses’ websites and learn all you can about them to find out what services they are lacking.

Draft plans to start your printing business by researching ways you can offer those badly-needed services.

And improve upon the printing business as a whole within your specific niche.

21 Steps to Start Printing Business in Nigeria

15. Research available printing equipment from manufacturers:

Once you determine what your competitors are using in their printing businesses, Start looking to purchase your own printing equipment.

You’ll need to find the highest quality, yet still affordable, equipment for your niche.

The wrong equipment can make or break your business.

    • At the very least, you’ll need a desktop computer, some design software and a high-quality digital printer that is able to handle jobs up to 11in x 17in.

16. Research and obtain any necessary approval or documentation:

This includes any licenses, certifications, permits such as a state sales tax permit (in  Nigeria, under the  Nigerian Constitution guarantee of “freedom of the press — printers, printing companies, writers, editors and publishers can not be required to be licensed to be able to perform such work or services).

You will need fire department certificates.

Fire extinguishers and other safety equipment, safety procedures, safety rated chemicals, zoning, building use and occupancy permits and other items required for your specific operating location.

Even if you start a home-based printing business.

You will likely need some kind of permit or license from your particular national, state and local governments.

Call or meet with your local economic development agency to find out where to go next.

  • You should familiarize yourself with Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requirements, including their and other agencies such as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) “postings” (required posters about safety and employment opportunity, etc.).
  • Record keeping, tax withholding, reporting, and paying taxes and social security quarterly for employees (including part-time) are necessary.
    • If you only use independent, outside printing contractors to do occasional printing that you cannot do personally, then you could be a “printing broker (non-affiliated, wholesaler) and not have employees.
  • Quarterly estimates of income, record keeping, reporting of actual proceeds, and paying your personal proprietorship or corporate (limited liability corporation [LLC]) taxes and social security for yourself is your responsibility to learn and complete each year.

See also: How To Start Custom Mobile Cover Printing Business

17. Secure funding:

Starting a new printing business will take several thousand dollars in capital.

If you cannot finance this equipment on your own, Contact your chamber of commerce to learn who can help you apply for a small business loan.

  • After you become established and have enough credit and show volume and potential, you might be able to lease equipment, which can bring flexibility, but leases may have penalties and balloon notes, etc. to return or to keep the item, respectively.

21 Steps to Start Printing Business in Nigeria

18. Choose a business location:

To start a profitable printing business. Youll need to choose a location that works for you.

Look for a place that is within your budget and that is easily accessible so customers will be able to find you with ease. You don’t want anything to deter you from getting clients, and choosing a good location is a big part of that.

  • You can look at locations online via realtor websites or hire a realtor to help you find the perfect location for your new printing business

19. Turn printed items into products by creating a menu of what you offer:

When it comes to printing, most business owners don’t know exactly what they need.

A food manufacturer might think they need a traditional vinyl banner for an event but they don’t understand the pitfalls of using it in various scenarios. What they really need is a portable tabletop sign that can be utilized at events, sales meetings and other public awareness activities.

The more your customers understand what a product can do the happier they will be with the finished product.

21 Steps to Start Printing Business in Nigeria

20. Offer value-added services:

These are items that enhance your finished pieces within your niche, such as brochure holders.

Printed brochures need something that can display them properly.

If you are able to sell brochure holders along with your print job. Your customer just might thank you for saving them the effort of looking for a display by purchasing one.

21.Promote your new print shop:

Once you start a digital printing business.

You need to get the word out to bring in sales. Join your local chamber of commerce, sponsor community events, and advertise in the local newspaper.

Don’t forget to promote yourself online by building an effective website, participating in industry forum discussions, and taking steps to distinguish yourself from local and worldwide competition.

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