Many corporate entities view home operations as hobbies rather than serious business operations. Making it known that you are working from your house can actually be detrimental in some cases. Thus, you will be most effective if you go to your customers rather than having them come to you. This means you need a sales and marketing program for your business. The process begins by creating a sales kit so that you are able to work successfully away from your home.
Start with sample kits that appeal to the markets you wish to pursue. For example, if you have an interest in the school market, create a collection of items including several sub-categories of products such as spirit apparel, fundraiser items, awards, kid’s artwork, etc. Identify each sample clearly, so when the customer is looking them over, they have a reference.
In addition to samples, it’s also useful to create a portfolio with pictures of products you’ve personalized. Group the items and take pictures, then put this into a slideshow on a tablet or laptop for easy reference.
Many decorators create their own catalogs using desktop publishing programs. Be sure to use good quality, heavyweight paper and consider a three-ring binder for easy page change-outs.
The next item in your sales kit is a price sheet. It’s imperative that you create a pricing system for your goods that considers quantity discounts. Ideally, you will have a printed price sheet, at least for your merchandise. Some suppliers make their wholesale price lists available in Excel format so that you can download it, apply your own mark-up formulas, and easily create a printed retail price list. You don’t want to spend too much time in front of the customer fumbling with a calculator. It looks suspicious-as if you don’t know what to charge. In the customer’s mind, this is a perfect invitation to negotiate the price.
-Jimmy Lamb, Sawgrass