Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Expanding your business with on-site printing

All businesses, large or small, are looking to expand their market potential.  While repeat customers must be catered to and require constant attention, developing new business is how a business grows.  For many companies new business is created by the development of new products but another option is to expand into new markets.  At Brown, our engineers are always creating new and exciting products.  But additionally, we are now expanding into the global market and showing at new events.  This is expanding our product line and our customer base.

What are your expansion options?

One possibility is by offering products on-site at events.  These events can be festivals, markets, sporting tournaments or maybe your front side walk.  Summer offers this opportunity for those in colder climates and tourism feeds economic growth.  What are your options for printing on-site?

  • pre-print goods for the event.  In this way your are prepared and there is no initial on-site stress.  When you sell out, you go home.  The stress comes in 2 ways.  You either run out too soon, or you are stuck with inventory you cannot sell.  
  • Create or order heat transfers that you apply on site.  This is a great way to manage inventory.  You only press what you sell and the transfers are inexpensive to throw away.  There are two negatives.  One is that many people do not like the feel of heat transfers and, two, you do not generate a feeling of excitement within your booth.  You could have sold more.
  • The final option is to print on-site.  You only print what you need.  Customers receive a printed shirt, which many people feel is a higher quality than a transfer.  And you create an excitement within your booth that people want to watch the garments being printed and may buy more.

So what is involved in on-site direct printing?

First, if you think you should pull the equipment from your shop and set it up at a new location, think again.  That is a quick way to frustrate yourself and lose money.  The shop needs to be left alone to produce the work it was set up to do.

Second, if you think you can print on any used stuff you find cheap, then remember what it is like when your press doesn't hold register and your dryer breaks down.  Frustration and no money.

The answer is an inexpensive and portable set up that is designed to roll in and out with easy power hook up and real printing capabilities.  The size of machine you decide on is determined by your budget and your vehicle size.  

There are many options.  Just remember that you need the basics.  A multi-color printer, a tunnel oven and a flash dryer.  Unless you own a generator, then plan on all these items needing 120V power that you can "borrow" from the event.  You can start with table top machines that are small enough to load in a hatch back, or scale up to a PonyXprs that loads into a pick up or a small trailer.  With either of these options, there are profits to be made.

Your only final decision is where to start.  

If you have a business in an area with heavy foot traffic, how about starting in your parking lot.  Like a tent sale, only with new stuff.  The next option is to find the next street fair in your town.  The cost to show is minimal and you will pick up long term customers there as well.  Once you have tried on-site you will see the benefits and the increased customer base.