While the Internet may be taking over many aspects of printing, some things are still preferred on paper. Banners, programs for special functions, birthday and holiday greetings are all still popular on paper. It’s not exactly socially acceptable to hand someone a laptop to look at when they enter the church for a wedding, after all. Niche printers, those who specialize in certain areas and create unique and interesting designs, are also becoming more popular.
Research your local market. Find out if there is a demand for printing services in your local community. A lot of competition does not necessarily mean you shouldn't start your printing business, but you may want to narrow your focus or try to do most of your business nationwide on the Internet.
You can operate a print business from home or a business park or retail site. A home business is suitable if you plan to run your business over the Internet, taking client orders online. If you want to attract walk-in business, a site in a retail area will enable you to attract customers or local retailers who have simple print requirements. Setting up in a business park gives your company a professional appearance and gives you the opportunity to choose the right size of premises for your short- and medium-term goals.
ile your business name with the Secretary of State. You should be able to find this form on your Secretary of State's website. If not, give the office a call, and it can send you the appropriate forms to fill out when filing a new business. In Harris County, Texas, you need to walk into the county clerk's office at 201 Caroline St. in Houston or download a copy of the Assumed Name (for a business) off the county clerk's website. You and any other owners of the business need to bring government identification, such as a driver's license, and you can fill out the form at the clerk's office. As of June 2010, there is $15 fee for the first owner and 50 cents for any additional owner.
Purchase your equipment. At first, you may not be able to afford a lot of equipment, so you will need to create a relationship with a local or Internet-based commercial printer. This is essential if you will be selling banners and other large printed items. However, for smaller items, you will be able to perform your duties with a computer and the necessary design software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. A digital printer will be expensive but the most valuable piece of equipment you own. Not only will you be able to print your proofs, but many small jobs can be done from there. You will also need toner, paper, a paper cutter, other tools and materials if you personally cut or design the paper.
Build a portfolio. You can start sending the word out about your business by volunteering to do print work for area organizations and charities. Offer to create and print their newsletters, business cards, invitations and event programs. Ask if you can use what you've created in your portfolio. This will give you experience as well as something to show potential clients.
Promote your new business with your expertise. Create and print your own business cards, newsletter, brochure and flyers. Use these to promote your business. Hand them out to friends and family, and bring them to events that you participate in. Advertise in local publications to promote your design and printing skills. Perhaps develop an insert to go inside your paper to really illustrate what you can do. A website will also be valuable, particularly if you create interesting and unique announcements, programs and invitations. You may need to consult a web programming professional to enable your customers to input their specific information and order online.