Starting and running a successful screen printing business is a dream that many are capable of achieving. However, it is important in the start-up phase, in order to be successful, that you take the time to plan, research, and set up your screen printing business correctly. Once your business is established it is also important to build your brand, keep your books and practice some exquisite customer service. Here are 6 need-to-know tips that ensure that your business will grow and become profitable.

1) Do Your Research

So many businesses fail because they fail to do adequate research in the start-up phases. Screen printing isn’t a profession that can be jumped into blindly. There are different screen printing techniques, equipment, and different methods. All of these factors affect the quality of the product that you will be producing down the road. One wrong move and it could cost you thousands. Luckily, with all of the online resources available these days, there are reviews for almost everything and they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Read through as many reviews as you can to determine the best equipment and techniques that are best for your company.

2) Make a Business Plan

There’s no doubt about it, business plans are required when you’re starting any business. To put it simply, there is nothing else that you are going to do in the beginning phases of your screen printing business that is more important than making a detailed business plan. For most entrepreneurs, this is often the most boring part of their dream– putting it all on paper and researching every tiny detail– but it is the most necessary. By the end of your business plan, you should know exactly what you are offering, exactly how much every piece of equipment will cost, where you’ll be located, who makes up your ideal customer base, and when you will decide to hire any help. This is extremely important if you’re going to be requesting financial assistance. Even if you are not requesting funding, a business plan serves as a roadmap when you get a little further down the road. If you’ve begun to stray from your original plan, it is the sounding board of where your screen printing business needs to get back to.

3) Pricing Your Product

Guessing a price is never a smart strategy, especially in the screen printing industry. You need to know exactly how much money goes into each product so that you can accurately gauge the price that your customers should be paying. If you are unable to turn a profit, your business will close up shop before you even get through your first year. A good rule of thumb is to calculate how much money you put into the shirt and then add 20-40% to that number to use as your selling price.

4)Building Your Brand

Your brand is so much more than your logo, it’s your reputation. You’ll want your brand to stand out and make customers take note, but you’ll want to make sure that it isn’t so flashy that it turns your customers off. You have to be gentle with your reputation, especially right out of the gates. You don’t want your screen printing business to be associated with a company that does sloppy work or one with questionable morals. Keeping your brand safe and building it to be associated with quality and uniqueness will keep your customers coming back time and time again. Happy customers mean that you stay in business!

5) Keep Up With Your Books

Bookkeeping is a business essential. You can not accurately know how your screen printing business is performing without being able to see the numbers. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas of business that falls to the wayside, sometimes people are just too busy or too scared to see at what level their business is actually functioning on. There are a number of programs out there to track your books, some are very user-friendly, sometimes you may need to hire this job out to make sure it gets done. Small business taxes are a whole other beast. While you can do this on your own, with the right tools and a penchant for research, it is often easier to consult with a tax professional and an accountant. These are all people that you need on your team if you’re planning on running a successful screen printing business.

6) Customer Service is Key

Finally, we come to the topic that no one actually likes to discuss. Customer service in the retail sector will make or break you. Just take a look around at all of the big retail stores that sell screen printed items– there are some who believe that the customer is always right and then there are some who believe they are always right. You don’t want to be the one who doesn’t take care of your customers because, at the end of the day, a dissatisfied customer will write the biggest and nastiest review of your work, even if you’ve pleased the last 100 customers. This topic doesn’t just matter if you plan on selling your screen printed items retail, it also matters if you are taking custom orders. The customers who request large amounts of a product have friends in the same situation as they are in– their recommendations could bring you thousands of dollars worth of business– this is never a topic to ignore!

A successful screen printing business is a lofty and worthy goal. As with any new business, research is key. You’ll need to know about every detail of your business before you ever open. You’ll need to understand pricing as well as how to write a business plan. Keeping up with the business aspect of your new start-up is essential, as is building your brand and investing plenty of time into customer service. With all of the hard work being put into this venture, it would be a shame to see it close down in a few years because you neglected a few simple tips!