How To Launch A Successful, Small Mail Order Catalog Business


Catalog shopping has been in existence for over a hundred years.  It continues to be quite popular as consumers search for various ways to save time and not have to shop at malls in their local areas.  With an existing consumer base, a smart catalog entrepreneur will be able to get a part time business launched with fairly low overhead depending on the way the business person plans to operate the business.


Step 1:


Create a business plan.  Determine the kinds of products you would like to sell.  Also, figure out how you are going to make your catalog unique or different from other catalogs selling similar or the same items.  Financial information should be included about how much it is going to take to get started and run the business, in addition to projected income.  Research startup expenses such as catalog printing and desktop publishing.  Finally, details should be included regarding your target market – demographics of the individuals you are expecting will purchase from your catalog – and how you are planning to market to these people.


Step 2:


Secure finances for starting your business.  There are numerous ways of getting the money you need to start a business, including using your business plan to get a partner, investors or a loan, or using your own assets or savings.


Step 3:


Set the business up officially through deciding on your business structure, like creating a limited liability company.  If required, apply for necessary licenses and permits through county government or local city offices.  For instance, general business licenses are not issued by the City of Houston.  However, you might need a permit or specialty license depending on what you are selling.  For instance, a permit might be needed for selling guns, food items or antiques.  Apply for a sales tax permit via your state’s comptrollers or tax office since a majority of states will require that you collect sales taxes on the purchases that consumers make who live in your state.


Step 4:


Create business relationships with distributors and wholesales and find products.  Unless you will be creating your own products, it will be necessary for you to find good sources of products that you can sell. Organise your delivery or courier person, ensuring they have courier insurance. Find companies online that sell items for wholesales or discounted prices that you want to include as part of your catalog.  Your sales tax permit can be used for obtaining stock without need to pay sales tax on it.


Step 5:


Design your catalog and print it by either hiring a desktop publisher or utilizing a desktop publishing program.  A catalog is a kind of marketing tool.  Therefore you will either need to lean how to do your own copywriting or find a good copywriter to hire that can write enticing copy regarding your products.  Also make sure to take high quality photos of the products you would like to include in your catalog.  Your final catalog should be produced by a professional print shop.  It will most likely be among the largest expenses for you.  However, your catalog is also your most important sales tool.  Therefore, it needs to have a professional appearance.


Step 6:


Develop and implement your marketing plan so that consumers get copies of your catalog.  Think about renting a list of containing the names and mailing addresses of consumers who are part of your target market.  Mail your catalog to them.  Run display or classified ads in various print media that is read by your target market.  Create a website where people can also purchase your products.


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