Advanced technologies have undoubtedly made life easier, convenient and profitable. Apart from revolutionizing the way people communicate and connect globally, technology has opened up business opportunities for many people. While some people find jobs online, others use technology products to build offline businesses, such as digital printing businesses.
A digital printing company provides printing services to individuals, businesses, and institutions. Most print shops print papers, business cards and posters. Others print t-shirts, mugs and souvenirs. However, although this is a highly demanded business opportunity, how can you start a successful digital printing business? Continue reading!
1. Create a business plan
The success of any business relies solely on the business plan. Therefore, creating a detailed business plan should be your first step. Your business plan should highlight a variety of factors, including whether you will operate from home or a print shop and your specialty. Are you going to focus on paper printing, t-shirt printing, or mug printing?
The plan should also estimate your expenses and income. Starting a digital printing business attracts most people because of the low initial investment costs. Start-up costs for these businesses range between $2,000 and $10,000. Start-up costs depend on the chosen printing equipment and other add-ons.
An effective business plan should also describe market trends affecting digital printing, marketing strategies and suppliers.
2. Obtain licenses and permits
The next important step is to register your business and choose a legal structure. You can choose between an LLC, sole proprietorship, and partnership. You then need to determine the licenses and permits required based on the business structure you have chosen. Operating your business without licenses or permits results in hefty fines.
Some mandatory documents required before operation include certificate of occupancy, retail license and tax registration certificate. You must also apply for a federal tax identification number for your business.
3. Research your target market
Researching the target market is another crucial tip. Understanding the target market helps estimate the demand for printing services in your proposed location. If your target market is local customers, you should have enough potential customers for your business. For example, if your print shop is in a city or town, you need to identify those who regularly need printing services.
The hardest part is attracting new customers, especially if there are other printing companies in your area. You must demonstrate to your customers that your services are superior to those offered by existing companies. Your target market or customer profile mainly depends on the services you provide. However, you can target local businesses, organizations, members of the public, and other overwhelmed print businesses.
4. Identify the requirements to start the business
The next step is to update your business plan. As mentioned, starting a digital printing business requires a small investment. However, the quality of your printing equipment will determine the quality of your services. Therefore, you should not increase your business budget too much.
Below are the essential equipment you will need to start the business:
- Printer – a digital press printer is arguably the most important piece of equipment for your digital printing business. Most people start with a professional inkjet or laser printer. You can start with small capacity printers and upgrade as your business grows.
- Computer and design software – you should also buy powerful computer and graphic design software. You will also need more storage space because designed files take up a lot of space.
- Cutting equipment – running a digital printing business involves cutting a lot of paper. Therefore, you should have a manual or automatic cutting tool.
- Laminator – most customers expect printing companies to offer laminating services.
5. Promote your digital printing business
You need to market your printing services from day one. Effective promotional strategies for digital printing companies include:
Create a distinctive proposition
You need to present a creative value proposition to attract more customers. Unfortunately, most printing companies have similar offerings that focus on quality services, pricing, and fast delivery. If you include these common elements, your proposal will definitely not stand out.
Therefore, you need to create a distinctive proposition with unique selling points. This can be the nature of your products, such as the ability to offer printing solutions for different departments at different scales or the use of environmentally friendly materials. The proposal should also resonate easily with the target audience.
You need to implement inbound and outbound lead generation strategies to find customers. Outbound lead generation strategies include direct emails, cold pitching, and other ways to reach potential customers. On the other hand, inbound leads include using websites and improving online presence. This requires excellent SEO efforts and the use of paid ads.
You shouldn’t just focus on digital marketing efforts for your printing business. Conferences, exhibitions and other in-person meetings can increase the visibility of your business.
With low initial investment costs and a general annual growth rate of 4.4%, you should consider investing in a digital printing business. However, be sure to identify your target market, choose a good location, and market widely to make a profit.