Why do people exchange visiting cards? The first purpose of course, is to promote their business (subtly) to others. But then, there are awkward silences you need to fill while travelling in the elevator, on a subway, or while trying to fight the sociopath monster within you.
Visiting cards take you beyond the formal smile exchange program. They work as an icebreaker and are no less than a blessing in disguise. They give an identity to your professional world while reflecting what you do.
If you are into the business of selling business cards, you need to serve the plethora of purposes mentioned above. Unfortunately, having a small print shop within your vicinity, sitting in the worn-out chair ordering your employees to print 200 copies of a certain business card doesn’t work anymore.
For expanding your business and making its presence felt, you must move online. Or let’s say, have a digital shop integrated with a business card design software that enables your customers to create their own visiting cards.
We never meant to overwhelm you with the above descriptions. We understand how difficult it is to step into the realm of the digital printing world and succeed with it. And that’s why we have carved a step-by-step guide on how to start a business card business. If you’re ready, let’s delve into it:
A short summary on how to start a business card printing business:
- Knowing your industry: an overview, top players, your USP, etc.
- Setting up an online store: printing equipment, designer tool, website, etc.
- Working on your business plan: latest trends, legal aspects, marketing, etc.
Knowing Your Industry
1. Conduct Research to the Fullest
Before you establish a web-to-print store, it is important to know the ins and outs of the business card printing industry and how it works.
If you read the story of customized print giant Vistaprint, you must have known how it grew from being a basic website providing customized visiting cards to a full-fledged web-to-print store that is into selling an array of customized products including t-shirts, mugs, signs, posters, and more.
So, as the first step, you will have to gain all the knowledge pertaining to your industry. Here’s what you can do:
- Try to know how the established card printing industries work. Build a rapport with someone working at a card printing company, ask questions, and try to get information about the industry.
- If you can work for a company like this, even better; as you can learn things at an experiential level.
Conduct some research on installing printing plates as well as inking the presses. You will also get to learn a lot about paper sizing and machinery.
- It is important to know about the history and the current trends of the card printing industry. For example, cards of certain colors might work on certain festivals/occasions. But, would it make sense to invest into them only during those times of the year.
2. Take an Industry Tour
Field visits were quite common even while we were students. Well, if you want to start off with a card printing business, visiting the card printing facility is of utmost importance. You can converse with the employees and know about the products and services they offer in detail.
- Gather information about the inventory they have in store, including the card materials.
- Try to know the amount of inventory available on shelves and the kind of industries they serve with their quantity. It will provide you with know-how about the kind of financial potential you need to drive your business better.
- Get information about the price of the cards they sell and how much do they charge from customers. In case you can undercut the price they quote, you can have a competitive advantage over them.
Learning from the Top Players In the Industry
To help you with research, we have prepared this chart of the top 4 players in the industry and what they do best.
If you were to look at the website of all these companies, it is extremely well-functioning and without any clutter. When you start a business card business, you need to ensure that the website you build offers a seamless experience.
If you plan to let customers design their cards, you have to have another category on your website that separates customizable ones from the rest. For instance, Zazzle has a separate option to create on its menu bar.
If you offer a wide variety of cards, you can segregate them either by shapes or textures or industry-wise. Moreover, having search lifters on your sites is always a good way to help your end-user easily find what they are looking for.
Build your website integrated with a card designer tool
3. Join ICMA (International Card Manufacturers Association)
This is one of the most crucial steps. ICMA, also known as International Card Manufacturers Association, is a global card association for card personalizers and manufacturers. Its mission has been to promote the transaction card industry along with the value of its services and products by offering a platform to share knowledge pertaining to the industry.
ICMA provides education for visiting card companies and enables companies to collaborate and share innovative ideas amongst themselves. It actively operates in places including, but not limited to Europe, MEA, Asia and America. Several industry giants and card suppliers are a part of this association. If you want to keep the printing and manufacturing related glitches at bay, it would be advisable for you to be a part of this association.
4. Be Different
The traditional and the conventional methods of printing cards are a passé. It is important to remember that we are a part of the world driven by the Internet of Things. And hence, it is important to stand out from amongst your competitors. Churn over the most innovative ideas and offer your customers with features and functionalities that your customers can’t.
You can look for superior quality business card design software that helps your customers to create their own visiting card from scratch. This gives them the much-needed freedom and excellent level of personalization. Ensure that your tool is platform independent and compatible with all kinds of files and formats. The best way to win amongst your competitors is figure out where they lack and offer a solution to that.
Brush Your Ideas provides printing businesses like yours with a fully functional product designer tool. Equipped with user-friendly frontend features, our responsive tool aims to make customization easy for your end shopper. Go ahead, and give our card designer tool a try.
(Card Designer Tool for Your Card Business)
Setting Up An Online Store
1. Get the Printing Equipment
Like we mentioned in the paragraph above, the technology has advanced and hence, having generic printers won’t suffice. It is important to find out which printing system would suit you the best.
Also, if you do not want to confine your business to visiting cards, you can think about investing into a superior quality web-to-print equipment.
If you want to start on a small basis, an inkjet printer might help. However, if you have a huge customer base and want to print more than a thousand cards every month, you would have to invest in a high-end industrial printer.
You might need a cutting machine that offers you with different shaped cards. If the number of orders is less, having a hand operated machine would suffice. Not otherwise.
2. Invest into Product Designing Software
These days, it is quite common for E-retailers willing to have a successful venture to embrace the power of product designing software. A software that not only has a powerful backend but also offers excellent frontend facilities.
And that is not all! Its working should be no less than a human designer; a step by step guidance to the one who is designing.
One of the biggest challenges that e-retailers having a web-to-print shop face is – platform compatibility.
So, let’s say if you have a Magento or WooCommerce based store, you would need a business card design software that works with your platform smoothly and doesn’t affect the working of your website.
Brush Your Ideas web to print software has been a valuable addition to the kits of several visiting card owners who want to add personalization to their e-store.
Explore more features and capabilities of our card designer tool as per your business requirements. Talk with our experts in person, who will walk you through our product.
3. Work on Your Inventory
With the business of personalization, you never know what works when. At one moment you might be running a small web-to-print e-store. But at the next, a social media post from someone who has created their card from your e-store might go viral. Result? Your e-store is overflowing with orders. The only way to address this would be to work well on your inventory.
Ensure that you have enough stock to cope with everyday orders as well as unexpected rushed orders. The more variety that you can offer with paper types, the better it is. By offering your customers the kind of card they’re looking for, you would be able to bring a huge smile on their face.
4. A Website That Entices
What does your visiting card web-to-print look like? Is it conversational? Do you want to give it a professional look or a creative one? Mull over these questions before hiring a company to design and develop your website. Now, no matter what design you go with, you must ensure that it is aesthetically pleasing for your customers and has an easy to use interface.
Try displaying the best cards designed by your customers on the first page or give a classic look that shows the picture of your printing or cutting machines. This will make your website look quite attractive. Last but not the least, if you keep the nature of today’s professionals in mind, your website must be mobile responsive.
Build a website at minimum costs and less time with a web-to-print storefront solution
Working on the Business Card Business Plan
1. Conduct Market Research
Before you jot down your business card business plan or create strategies, it is important for you to analyze the visiting card printing market. What kind of professionals work in your area? What would be the risks of serving a particular group of professionals? By doing so, you would be able to minimize the risks.
How to start a business card business:
- Find out about the growth, potential and the trends pertaining to the card printing industry. Try to know how the other printing companies in your area work
- Mull over the kind of customers you want to target and find out if your competitors meet their needs.
- Figure out the weak spots and vulnerabilities of your customers so that you can create your USP and attain your targeted customer base.
Game-Changing Business Cards Trends
1. Minimalism – Simplicity is the key to greater engagement, and hence, businesses nowadays are considering simple minimalist designs.
(Logo, name, contact information, website, & social media handle – demand for cards that have just the essentials is growing)
2. Recycled cardboard – This one is for the conscious customer. Card printing companies like JukeBox have become a lot popular due to their unique offerings of recycled materials.
(Cards from recycled materials is a great niche to start a business card business)
3. Painted Edges – Bright edges and contrasting colors are the latest trends. Such hues with a 3D effect on card designs are sure to make your business card a best-selling product.
(Painted edges – the latest trend in business cards)
4. Large Text – Another big trend is displaying big text stretched across the entire card. These are simple yet convey the message.
(Business cards with big text)
2. Work Out the Finances
When you’re about to start a business card business, investments are inevitable. However, any business needs to run successfully that your profits outweigh the investments you have made. So, you need to make sure that you have an account of insurance, taxes, labor costs, overheads, benefits and more.
After considering your expenses, you can reach out to different organizations and ask them to support you or get a loan. Consider going for grants and loans – a Microloan or a general business loan. Pitch your business to venture capitalists and if they like your idea, they are likely to fund your business. And last but not the least, you can ask for crowdfunding after pitching innovative ideas to your customers.
3. Create Your Business Plan
How do you plan on running your business card printing business from day one and keep achieving success over the years? If you have fantasized about it, great! But that is not enough. You need to have a complete roadmap right from how you will start until you achieve targets and do after that.
Suppose you are not sure as to whether or not you have created the right business plan. In that case, you can discuss your thoughts with a marketing professional or a digital marketing company. They will provide you with a strategy to launch your business and handle it in the best way possible. Note these strategies down and ensure that you follow them and you are sure to be successful.
Build your dream store integrated with a designer tool to drive more traffic and sales. Partner with the expert team of industry analysts, designers, developers, and marketers.
4. Write Apt Content Descriptions
Any website should be representative of what it does and the kind of audience it serves. And that is reflected through the content of the website. If the content is not precise, concise, and doesn’t have the right call for action buttons, it is sure to affect its overall sales.
For your client’s understanding, consider adding visuals. Well-written features with images are way more impactful than simply listing down the information.
For example, this website has detailed product descriptions, but it is text-heavy.
On the other hand, text with such visuals adds charm to your product page.
You can even add FAQs on your product page. It will allow your clients to find all the answers in one place, plus FAQs that include the right keywords will allow you to improve your website’s online ranking.
(FAQs for website visitors to find all the answers)
Also, the best way to capture your audience would be to display your business connections, the partners you have worked with, the companies you have served, and more. This way, your customers would be able to rely on your brand and trust it in the longer run.
You can do so by adding customer reviews directly to your product page. Reviews work as social proof and help build trust with your customers.
5. Register your business
Do you want to go for a partnership, a proprietorship, or an LLC? Before you register your business, having this clarity is a must. Proprietorships and partnerships are cost-effective as more than one person takes care of the financial aspects. If you choose LLC, the taxes have to be paid at individual rates and not business rates.
Also, before you start with your business, ensure that you have all the permissions you need. In case of visiting cards, you need to deal with a lot of stationery, for which you would have oversized vehicles visiting your premises. This asks for you to get a federal permit.
6. Choose the Right Location
Even if the presence of your business is on the web, you would need to have a place where your print operations take place. Decide whether you want to have the same place to execute the entire print production cycle or not.
Also, if possible, have your presence in the area where you can get noticed. That way, you can attract an audience that is curious to know about your business.
One of the biggest mistakes that visiting card manufacturers make is that they do not consider the future after some years of establishing their business.
If the number of customers goes up or you add new machinery or inventory, you would need a bigger space. Get in touch with engineers and interior designers to understand the difference between commercial and residential properties and determine whether or not the expansion is possible.
7. Advertise Well
Once you have everything in place including the printing materials, machinery and the business card design software, it’s time to let people know that your business exists. Social Media of course, is a powerful way to make your digital presence felt. But what platform you choose is crucial. Since you will be dealing with other business owners, you need to find out what platform your potential customers are using.
Creating a business page on Facebook is the 1st step for any B2B marketing. You can take advantage of Facebook advertising and target prospects. Secondly, you can sell directly on the platform using Facebook shops. Selling on different channels along with your website is the quickest way to establish new revenue streams.
Also, do not underestimate the power of word of mouth. Get in touch with the businesses in your area and build a rapport with their representatives. Once they know more about your business and how you work, you are sure to get better orders.
Get marketing assistance tailored to your business goals. Know more about our marketing services
Start Build a Successful Card Printing Business Now
We hope that the above guide was helpful enough for you to start a business card printing business. However, before you start in a full-fledged manner, remember that you need to get over the mundane ways to run a print business. So, do what it takes, be unique and stand out from your competitors. You are sure to win.
Brush Your Ideas has been helping entrepreneurs like you to build, sustain, and grow their printing businesses. A fully functional product designer tool is our flagship product that aims to make customization easy for your end customers. Additionally, our solutions like print ERP work as an all-in-one software to completely streamline your daily print operations.
Get in touch with a tech team here to assist you at every step of your entrepreneurial journey.
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