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    7 Replies Latest reply on Jul 13, 2009 8:01 PM by LUCKIEST

    Need Help Getting Business Off The Ground

    pmoreland420 Newbie
      Hello everyone. Wow, I can't believe I'm actually posting in a forum asking for help. Well here goes. I have have been trying to get my publishing business off the ground for over 5 years. I've made some sells door to door and now I've ventured out into daycares (ok only one daycare but it's hard balancing that, another job, school, and motherhood). I have great products I'm sure but how do I market them. I also have a website that needs to be revamped. I'll get to that soon but right now, I need to find a place to sell my items. I basically sell bookmarks, posters, framed work, along with many other items. Those are just the main ones. I also design business cards, stationary, etc., and do custom things like poems, personal planners, and things of that nature. The customers I do have are repeat customers but I'm trying to get into schools and churches. I just need a little advice on how to do so successfully. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
        • Re: Need Help Getting Business Off The Ground
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Need Help Getting Business Off The Ground, Welcome Pamela

          I would be happy to mentor you. I also have two suggestions. One, Develop a business plan and the other, contact SCORE. SCORE is FREE.

          Good luck, LUCKIEST
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: Need Help Getting Business Off The Ground
            Tracker

            Pamela:

             


            I have some ideas that may help.

             


            I would recommend that you revamp your web site before you do anything else. Your site probably is keeping you from making money. Don't wait to change it. Potential customers (that you have talked to or have simply found you on the web) will not get the best impression as to the quality of the product that you can produce. Don't let your site work against you. Plus, an effective site that ranks well for your keywords and phrase can help bring in more business.

             


            Do you offer items that your customers can customize plus items that they can buy with motivational / spiritual says already printed on them? Do you know how many potential customers don't want to create their own sayings versus those that do? Some schools and churches may work with publishers because they like the premade content that the company creates so they don't have to.

             


            Have you tried creating programs that benefit the schools and churches in your area to partner with you to sell your products to their families / parishioners. For example, create a program where you will donate 10% (or another amount) of proceeds back to the schools and churches that participate. They can come up with messages that they want to promote to their families that you can print up for them. Impress upon them that working together, you can provide a flexible means to promote "their" message instead of "a" message.

             


            Approach the schools and churches with creative ideas. For example, have the school kids create a poster or slogan around a particular theme where you will print out the winning entries as a poster for sale as part of a fundraiser. Try and find someone that has experience in fundraising to give you ideas on effective fundraising campaigns so you can approach the schools and churches with packaged ideas of fundraisers with customer created posters, bookmarks, etc.

             


            If you create campaigns for your targets to earn by promoting your products, you will have a better chance of earning their business. Come up with a couple different ideas and focus on just a few of your products first. Don't try to sell them everything at once. Get them going with a few products and then see how you can capture their business with your other products.

             


            You can create affiliate programs, too, allowing others around the US to promote your products to their local schools and churches and earn money while they stay at home.

             


            But, start with your web site before you do anything else.

             


            Hope this helps.

             


            Dug Dolan

             

            The Solopreneur's Guide

            http://thesologuide.com
            1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Need Help Getting Business Off The Ground
                pmoreland420 Newbie
                Thanks.

                I've been to your site and I will definitely bookmark it. Your ideas are great and surprisingly are similar to the ones I've conjured up in my head many a restless night. Yes I do have inspirational/motivational quotes along with photos for just about every product I've made. The website I'm using now is the free office live site. I redesigned it in publisher and while it is nicer than before, it still lacks personality. I am going to take real photos of my products for one and replace the old pictures.

                The other thing I want to do is partner with some schools and churches. I want to start some kind of "fight illiteracy" program with daycares that incorporates fundraising as well as awareness. I have many many many ideas but "zero" capital. I've written a business plan years ago while attending an entrepreneur guidance training class. I don't want to give up because I feel I am on the verge of a "breakthrough", I just need help.

                www.madskyllzpublishing.com .........that's the site. I definitely will be looking to redo it again. I'm starting to actually hate it now. :-(
              • Re: Need Help Getting Business Off The Ground
                bentenn Adventurer
                May I suggest that you take a deep breadth, count to five and begin again. From your comments, you have spent 5 years working at creating items and when time allows to sell them whenever and wherever possible - in what may be described as a bit of scattershot. Now you are asking for help selling your items to schools and churchs but you don't explain why they should be so high on your priority list when you also say you are looking for places to sell your products.

                First, sorry you had a bad experience with a SCORE volunteer counselor. If interested, you can visit www.sba.gov, click on local resources and then click on the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to find the local center near you. Professional business advisors are available to you at no cost and can provide 5 to 10 hours of no cost counseling plus workshops.

                In the meantime, I suggest you define your business with clarity, and then describe your best and mostly target customer by age, gender, income level, seasonality of your products, etc. If you have created a bus plan but did not specify who you should be targeting for customers, that could be a problem. Once done, and since you wish to sell your products through retailers or etailers, search out those who sell similar products and contact them with samples, pictures, information, etc. to learn if they would like to add your products to their mix. It may be that your efforts should be directed to selling to those retailers and etailers who can resell to the consumer for you.

                Yes, you will likely have to sell to them at a 50% discount and wait for payment until they sell your stuff, but they are already bringing folks to their website and stores through their marketing and other products. Attend a gift show in your area or the national gift shows to find them.

                Good luck. Ben
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Need Help Getting Business Off The Ground
                    pmoreland420 Newbie

                    Thanks Bentenn. I chose schools and churches as my target audience because the majority of my products have an educational and inspirational message. From bookmarks to posters motivation is the key. I have also listed that in my business plan in the "Marketing Mix" section. I do like your idea about finding retailers and etailers so I definitely will follow up on that. I am also going to decide once and for all what exactly my "type of business" is. I was told by the entrepreneur guidance traininer that it is publishing, but I feel it's much more than that. I have always had a hard time discussing it. I feel my products speak for themselves, something else I need to work on.

                     


                    Thanks again for your input.
                  • Re: Need Help Getting Business Off The Ground
                    LUCKIEST Guide
                    No matter how good the business system is, the business must be one that "fits" you. It must be a business that builds on YOUR strengths and talents.

                    Achieving your dream: It is good to understand your options and determine what is best for you.

                    The three basic options are:
                    1. Start a business from scratch
                    2. Buy an existing business
                    3. Purchase a franchise

                    I have just joined a group of Franchise Consultants. The company specializes in helping people learn about many of the possible investment choices that exist in today's market.

                    The services are free to you the prospective buyer. For more info, email me at " pdeig@juno.com " and please include your phone number.
                    Thanks, LUCKIEST