Putting Ink to Paper: Questions to Ask When Starting a Printing Business

It's important to ask the right questions to shape your business plan and ensure that your printing business thrives. 

So, you want to start your own printing business. You dream of designing quality products and apparel from your own shop and adopting the entrepreneur lifestyle. The industry is filled with fierce competition, but that certainly shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your dream. As an entrepreneur, this is just one of the challenges you’ll come up against frequently.

It’s important to ask the right questions to shape your business plan and ensure that your printing business thrives. With a quality printer, some materials and a handful of clients anyone can start a printing business. What drives success and larger operations goes a little deeper. Here are three questions to ask yourself to dig deep and shape the concept of your future printing business. With a clear plan and purpose, your business could last a lifetime!


This classic entrepreneur question is still relevant, no matter what industry you’re entering. The basic concept between offering goods or services is that there is a “pain” in the marketplace, and your product or services can heal it. Are there no printing shops in your immediate area? Introducing your business would solve the pain of other businesses having to order online or go to other neighborhoods for printed products. Keeping an eye out for problems, pains, or even inconveniences can be the basis for the start of your printing company, whether it’s style, customer service, pricing, or location.


Your “comp-set,” or competition set, are a set of competitors in your industry that can give or take significant amounts of business for you. Not every printing company is a competitor. You’re looking for specific competitors who can match or exceed your own productivity, sales, customer service, and more. These are who potential clients frequently compare you to, and to whom you should compare yourself. Tracking social media, news, top employees, and sales in your comp-set will help you make much-needed adjustments.


Often in the whir of planning, pitching, and number-crunching, entrepreneurs can forget the most important sales tactic around. Studies and surveys consistently show that the experience a business offers its clientele is becoming more and more important. This doesn’t just mean a friendly smile and polite tone, either.

Consider the experience your customers will receive when working with you from start to finish.  How will they interact with your website and your social media? What about the second they walk through your front door? Then, consider what this experience says about you and your business. As a consumer yourself, is this experience everything you could dream of and more? Does it inspire curiosity, goodwill, and happiness? This experience is what will win your customers over the first time and keep them coming back!

Kristen Klingensmith

Kristen Klingensmith is the content manager for Nonstop Signs & Graphics, a printing and design company based out of San Diego, California. She holds a degree in entrepreneurship & venture management from the University of Oklahoma, and enjoys creating practical content for readers in the realm of business, marketing, and finance.

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