March is “Business Ideas” Month and I’ll be featuring posts containing specific business ideas so you can get your creative thoughts flowing. My hope is to inspire you to start you own business and to offer you some interesting ideas to get your started.
Today’s business idea is about creating a product to sell locally. When sitting down to write this post the very first thought that came to me was an idea I’ve considered several times throughout my many years of entrepreneurship which is creating a Gift Basket Business! I absolutely love gift baskets and love that most gift baskets are non-perishable and people order them for a variety of great reasons all throughout the year.
I love idea of a Gift Basket Business because who doesn’t love a gift basket? If you are the artistic type and have a knack for bringing together items to create: beautiful gift basket masterpieces then this is the business for you.
Here’s 7 Steps to Creating a Gift Basket Business from Home
Step 1: Find Your Gift Basket Business Niche
First you’ll need to decide on a niche for your gift basket company. I would start by first researching your local competition and see what is NOT being currently offered. Then think about your personal style and incorporate that into your business model. Do you love Shabby Chic? Are you an All-Natural Mama? Do you enjoy Homemade and Locally Produced Products? All of these are excellent niche gift basket business ideas!
Step 2: Find Suppliers
Once you’ve decided what kind of style your Gift Basket Business will offer then you can go ahead and start deciding where to source your gift basket contents. Maybe you know of a few other Mompreneurs in your local community to are already making handmade items that would nicely complement your gift baskets. Consider offering their products in your basket and asking them to sell you multiple units at a time at wholesale discount price. Another place to source items for your gift baskets would be local distributors, like Specialty Food Purveyors, Crafting Supply Distributors and Beverage Distributors.
Step 3: Take High Quality Photos of Your Gift Baskets
Once you’ve decided on your niche, your final basket look, and get samples of of your basket items in your hands, you’ll want to takes some photos to show customers on your website. I’d suggest assembling some nice looking baskets and then having some professional photos taken of the baskets. If you can’t afford those just yet, you can also use an iPhone with great results. Here’s a great tutorial for using your Smartphone to capture great product images.
Step 4: Set Up Your Online Store
Once you have great product photos you’ll want to create an online store so your customers can purchase gift baskets any time of the day from you. I always suggest using Weebly to set up an online store because they offer a platform that is super easy for creating a store in less than a day and their templates are super sleek, clean and stylish. Here’s an affiliate link to try Weebly today.
Step 5: Create a Distribution Plan
Before you officially launch your online store you’ll want to have a distribution plan in place. It’s time to consider: How will you get your gift baskets to customers? Are you baskets able to be shipped or do they contain perishable goods? If they are able to be shipped, how much will UPS or FedEx charge you for shipping your gift baskets to your same state, same time zone and/or across the country? Pricing will vary. You’ll want to calculate shipping costs so you know how much to charge customers for shipping, or if shipping can be included in the cost of your gift baskets. If you are shipping gift baskets, I’d suggest contacting your local UPS to set up a business account to get discounts for shipping with them often.
Another idea to consider is only offering your gift baskets locally. This means you can simply load up your car and make deliveries in your local area without having to be concerned with boxing and shipping your gift baskets. Make sure to calculate the cost of gas and your time spent delivering baskets into the cost of your actual gift baskets, or consider charging a Delivery Fee.
Step 6: Create an Advertising Plan
You’ll want to consider how you will advertise your Gift Basket Business next. I would suggest having business literature printed and posting flyers around town at local coffee shops, fitness studios and libraries first. This is an inexpensive way to get people to know about your Gift Basket Business and an advertising action plan you can easily accomplish in a day or two.
Basically you’ll want to post flyers anywhere people will frequent often and allows you to put your flyer up for free. I like to use FedEx Office for printing flyers and sales literature because they have a quick turn around and have offered great customer service when I’ve had an issue uploading images to their site. Here’s an affiliate link for 25% off Custom Print Orders on their site.
I’d also suggest considering advertising in your local newspaper and publications. Often times you can get a discounted rate if you are a new business. Having a local ad in a paper that is read by many people will allow you to generate more sales in your vicinity and eliminate the burden of shipping your gift baskets.
Additionally, I’m hearing lots of GREAT things about Facebook Targeted Ads which you can use to display inexpensive ads to local customers for a minimal cost. Here’s a link to a great tutorial for creating Targeted Facebook Ads. Also, don’t forget to post about your Gift Basket Business on your personal Facebook account so people who know you can learn about your business and share it with their friends.
Step 7: Maintain Excellent Customer Service
Excellent Customer Service is KEY to running a sustainable business. Make sure you check your email daily and get orders delivered to customers in as timely of a manner as you can – the sooner the better. Be sure to answer customer service requests politely and to be as helpful as you possibly can be at all times – no matter what.
People will remember how they are treated by you while purchasing products from your business and word-of-mouth marketing is your #1 selling tool. Make sure to always go above and beyond for your customers and they will reward you with repeat and regular business.
For further reading, check out “Start Your Own Gift Basket Business” by the writers at Entrepreneur Magazine. This super handy guide is perfect if you’re considering creating your own Gift Basket Business from home.
March is “Business Ideas” Month!
All month long we are featuring posts on business ideas you can start from home in less than 30 days! Subscribe to the Mompreneur Advice Blog to get a weekly round up of posts sent straight to your inbox!