“If you build it, they will come.” Sure, this is true if they can find you, know about you and have other essentials needed. . Starting your own custom shop, whether it’s a sign shop, a print business, a vehicle wrap shop, a custom apparel shop, custom
trophies, or another manufacturing business, can bring much satisfaction – if you have a few essentials that need to fulfilled. Here are few to get you started:
- First consider what products you will offer. Keep in mind, just because you want to sell something does not mean that others want or have a need to buy it. Do market research to see what is in demand, and then pick a few select products to focus on. Of course, you can offer many more items, but your main focus should be on mastering a items to offer. After you are more established and master those, then you can move onto other areas. Make sure research the price that your competitors are pricing these products at too.
- Figure out who your ideal customer is. Who needs what you offer? Retail shops? Sports Teams? Individual consumers? Schools? What income level? It’s very time consuming to focus on creating a customer base from different industries. So, choose one or two to start with. After you establish a base, then roll over into others.
An incredible designer. A great designer is what will make you stand out from other custom businesses. So, be careful who you hire for your design team. Design is highly important in the custom business industry. Your designs make up the image of your business and will be in your portfolio. In the beginning, you will need some outstanding mock-ups to attract new customers. This is the one area, you need to make sure that you don’t let you ego, nor relationships affect your decision – but talent. I like to say, “Proof is in the proof.”
- Location. Unless you are an online custom shop where you deliver your custom products, you will need to have a location that is easy for people to pick up their products. A place that has easy parking helps.
Marketing. “If you build it, they will come.” Well, only if they know about you. You may have the most incredible designer, the best location, know your ideal customer and have the products all ready, but if no one know you exist, you can’t thrive. So, put together an marketing plan that can reach your target. Often an online marketing plan and an offline plan works best these days.
- Tools and equipment. It is best to invest in high quality products in the beginning to make sure everything runs smooth. Learning to run a business is challenging enough – imagine your machines and tools not working on top of that! This will cause stress overload. So, make sure you research your tools and machines before buying one. This includes machines to create your products, as well as software to manage your quotes, workflow and invoicing.
With these 6 essential needs fulfilled, you new custom manufacturing shop will be off to a great start!
If you are already a custom shop manufacturer, do you have anything to add to this list of essential needs? Please add them to comment section below.
Joanne Cipressi is the Content Marketer and Director of Social Media at shopVOX inspiring business owners to better manage their careers, employees, customers, projects, production, invoicing, and all other areas of their management needs through tips and motivation.