Before starting any business and as an ongoing planning tool you need to create and maintain your business plan. As the saying goes, fail to plan, then plan to fail. Scribble down your ideas to start with, then using resource such as business link in the UK you can download a Business Plan Template.
If you are already a sign maker then I have some tips to expand first of all.
Digital vinyl printing can be an exciting venture. Digital vinyl is a cost effective material which lasts longer than the older materials. Furthermore it can be used for outdoor advertising.
Digital vinyl required of course special inks. If you buy compatible ink for a branded printer you may find that the warranty is voided. However if you shop around you will find reputable silvent printing suppliers who are supplying excellent and affordable warranties which happily run alongside compatible inks. And voila your problem is solved and your costs may be halved. A truely fabulous way to grow your business.
For newcomes to vinyl sign making you will need – A vinyl cutter, a computer with sign making software, a supplier to sign makers and a printer. The printer type is known as wide format, and solvent, eco-solvent printer.
If you buy your hardware over a 5 year period you will find minimal cash required to get going. One important consideration is a well ventilated room. Maybe you have a spare room, or access to a friends spare room to start off with. With interest rates being low you are sure to find a great deal with discount and a low rate of interest.
You’ll need a computer with sign making software to design the graphics and send the information to the cutter. The vinyl cutter usually comes with its own software. You can use it to design images or import files designed in other software or on specially developed websites.
There are suppliers who can provide the whole starter kit. If you take this route then you will be sent tutorials and may be offered telephone support. It depends on how much sign making knowledge you already have. The overall price may be higher than buying components seperately.
You will need the rolls of vinyl, premask, and squeegee to prepare the vinyl for application. We carry every supply necessary for complete sign making.
You will require substrates for the finished signs. This can be any solid, non-porous surface. A glass door, an automobile, or primed and painted wood.
There is much resource on the internet about how to do various aspects of the sign making. With the advent of video jug and you tube, there are videos which will show you how its done by the experts.
Lets look at the other aspects starting with financially. We need to work backwards here. Calculate how much profit per month you need to pay your bils. Do your research and establish the profit to be made from an average sign. Now calculate how many jobs per month you will have to do to break even and be able to get by.
When I started my own business, I cashed in shares, emptied my savings accounts and had enough cash reserve to live off for three months. I therefore had a three month plan to find new customers, do the jobs, and ultimatley the fourth month was make or break. Fortunatley for me it was make. Partly due to planning, I was able to enjoy the sales process rather than worrying and feeling pressurised. A year on and after attending several networking events business was booming which leads to the old cash flow problem. With planning and living within your means you will find success.
You will need to contact the tax office and register your business. There is an amount of flexibility about time given to register but I would strongly recommend registering as soon as you set up. The reason being that they can take eight to ten weeks to send through your tax number and you may need this for the family tax credits that you may be relying on.
You need to do your book keeping from day one. There are several book keeping packaging that make it simple to produce invoices, take payments, record expenses and materials costs. It will quickly produce balance sheets and profit and loss statements. Do not worry about doing your self assessment because the tax office will send you your pack well in advance explaining how to do self assessment and when they need it by.
If you find this daunting you may ask an accountant to do it and the costs for sole trader is usually quite low. They will also send by default a pack on how to run your own business. Obviously you need to keep receipts for everything from petrol, materials, to car expenses.
When you are starting out look out for deals on the internet. For example you may choose to use compatible inks rather than branded inks.
If you are starting to think about your own business then my advise would be do your research, use the internet, find out about pricing and remember it is not easy. However it can be the smartest move you ever make. Us any free resources like Business Link who will give you free guidance all the way.
You need to be self motivating, have a hunger and determination which will get you out of the bed and into the office each morning, and finally good skill.