Are you interested in starting a screen printing business but dont know where to start? Today we dive into some concrete action items you can do to get your business off the ground and into gear.
Write a business plan
File for your business license according to the type of business you specified you wanted to start in your business plan, here are some resources to get started.
Filing for a business license can vary depending on your location and the type of business you plan to establish. Below we will provide you with a general guide on how to file for a business license. Here are the typical steps involved:
- Research your local requirements: Start by researching the specific requirements for obtaining a business license in your city, county, or state. Visit the official website of your local government or contact the relevant department responsible for business licenses.
- Determine your business structure: Decide on the legal structure of your business, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. The structure you choose may impact the licensing process.
- Choose a business name: Select a unique and appropriate name for your business. Check if the name is available and complies with any naming conventions or restrictions imposed by your local government.
- Register your business: Register your business with the appropriate government agencies. This step typically involves registering your business with your state's Secretary of State office or similar entity. You may need to provide information about your business structure and pay a registration fee.
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN): If your business will have employees or you're forming a corporation or partnership, you'll need to obtain an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website.
- Determine the license type: Identify the specific license or permits required for your type of business. Different industries and professions may have unique licensing requirements. Common examples include general business licenses, professional licenses, health permits, liquor licenses, or food handling permits.
- Gather required documents: Prepare the necessary documents and information needed for your license application. This may include personal identification, proof of business registration, EIN, financial statements, lease agreements, zoning approvals, or any other supporting documentation as per local regulations.
- Complete the application: Fill out the business license application form accurately and thoroughly. Provide all the required information, ensuring that it matches the supporting documents. In some cases, you may need to include a fee with your application.
- Submit the application: Submit your completed application and any supporting documents to the appropriate licensing authority. This can typically be done in person, by mail, or through an online portal, depending on the options provided by your local government.
- Pay the license fee: Pay the required license fee, which may vary depending on the type of license and your location. Make sure to follow the payment instructions provided by the licensing authority.
- Await approval: After submitting your application, you'll need to wait for the licensing authority to review and process it. The timeframe for approval can vary, so be patient. Some authorities may conduct inspections or request additional information during the review process.
- Receive your business license: Once your application is approved, you'll receive your business license. Make sure to keep the license in a safe and easily accessible place. Some authorities may require you to display the license at your business premises.
Remember, the steps and requirements can differ depending on your location and business type. It's crucial to consult with your local government and relevant licensing agencies to ensure you follow the specific regulations applicable to your situation.
Get a resale license to purchase garments at whole pricing
To obtain a resale license, also known as a resale certificate or sales tax permit, you typically need to follow these steps:
- Research your state's requirements: Start by researching the requirements for obtaining a resale license in your state. Each state has its own process and guidelines for sales tax permits. Visit your state's official website or the website of the state's Department of Revenue or Taxation to find information on how to obtain a resale license.
- Determine your eligibility: In some states, you may only need a resale license if you meet certain criteria. For example, you may need a license if you plan to sell tangible goods, operate as a reseller or wholesaler, or if your business reaches a specific revenue threshold. Ensure that your business qualifies for a resale license.
- Register your business: If you haven't already done so, register your business with the appropriate government agencies. This may involve registering your business with your state's Secretary of State office or a similar entity. Ensure that your business is legally established before applying for a resale license.
- Gather necessary information and documents: Prepare the required information and documents for your resale license application. These may include your business information, such as business name, address, contact details, and federal employer identification number (EIN). You may also need to provide details about the products you sell and estimated sales volume.
- Apply for a resale license: Submit your application for a resale license to the appropriate state agency. In most cases, this is the state's Department of Revenue or Taxation. Some states provide an online application process, while others require a paper application to be submitted by mail or in person. Follow the instructions provided by the agency and complete the application accurately.
- Pay any applicable fees: Depending on your state, you may need to pay a fee when submitting your resale license application. The fee amount can vary, so check the guidelines provided by your state's agency. Include the required fee with your application, following the specified payment methods.
- Await processing and approval: Once you submit your application, it will be processed by the state agency. The processing time can vary depending on the state, but it may take a few weeks to receive your resale license. Some states may conduct a review or verification process before issuing the license.
- Receive your resale license: Once your application is approved, you will receive your resale license or sales tax permit. This document allows you to purchase goods for resale without paying sales tax and collect sales tax from your customers. Keep the license in a safe place and make sure to comply with your state's sales tax regulations.
Remember, the process for obtaining a resale license may vary from state to state. It's essential to consult your state's Department of Revenue or Taxation for specific instructions and guidelines. They can provide you with accurate and up-to-date information regarding the application process and any requirements specific to your state.
Setup a business email and/or phone number for customers to contact you
How will your customers contact you? You can use your cell phone number however make sure to adjust your voicemail to reflect your business, you don’t want to confuse customers when they call with inquires. We highly suggest setting up an email. You can easily set up a free email on google or you can pay $5 a month to have an email with a branded domain. The branded domain helps to make your business look a bit more professional, however this is not necessary if you are trying to cut costs.
Here is an example of an email with a branded domain: firstname.lastname@example.org
Order business cards for easy marketing and networking
Now that your customers have a way to contact you, get a business card. While business cards are not a necessary marketing tool they are cheap and effective. Having a card handy when talking with friends or random people you meet throughout the day may turn into income! By providing your business card you are giving them a direct line to contact you and a first glance into your businesses branding. A cheap place to order business cards is Vistaprint.com
Create social media channels for your business.
Creating social media accounts to promote your business offers several benefits. Here are some key reasons why it can be advantageous:
- Reach a vast audience: Social media platforms have billions of active users worldwide. By establishing a presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube, you can tap into this massive audience and reach potential customers who may be interested in your products or services. It allows you to expand your brand's visibility and connect with a broader range of people.
- Increase brand awareness: Social media provides a platform to raise awareness about your business. Through regular posting, sharing valuable content, and engaging with your audience, you can establish and reinforce your brand's identity. Consistent and strategic social media presence helps potential customers become familiar with your brand, leading to increased recognition and trust.
- Direct communication with customers: Social media enables direct and immediate communication with your customers. You can use platforms like Twitter or Facebook to address customer inquiries, respond to feedback, and provide support. This accessibility and responsiveness enhance customer satisfaction and foster a positive brand image. By engaging in conversations, you can build relationships with customers, gain valuable insights, and refine your products or services based on their feedback.
- Cost-effective marketing: Social media platforms offer cost-effective marketing options compared to traditional advertising methods. Creating social media accounts is generally free, and you have the flexibility to allocate a budget for paid advertising or promotional campaigns based on your business goals and target audience. Paid ads on social media platforms often offer precise targeting options, allowing you to reach specific demographics, interests, or locations, maximizing the impact of your marketing efforts.
- Drive website traffic and generate leads: By sharing links to your website or specific landing pages, social media platforms can drive traffic to your online presence. By creating engaging and valuable content, you can encourage users to visit your website and explore your products or services further. Social media also serves as a platform to capture leads by directing interested users to sign up for newsletters, download content, or participate in promotions.
- Build a community and brand loyalty: Social media allows you to build a community of followers and loyal customers around your brand. By consistently sharing relevant and engaging content, providing value, and fostering interaction, you can create a sense of belonging and encourage customer loyalty. Social media platforms enable you to showcase your expertise, share behind-the-scenes content, and tell your brand's story, strengthening the emotional connection with your audience.
- Monitor and adapt to trends: Social media provides real-time insights into current trends, industry news, and customer preferences. By monitoring conversations, hashtags, and user-generated content, you can stay informed about relevant topics and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly. This agility allows you to be more responsive, stay competitive, and align your business with the evolving needs and interests of your target audience.
In summary, creating social media accounts for your business can significantly benefit your marketing efforts, enabling you to reach a broader audience, establish brand awareness, engage with customers, drive website traffic, and build a loyal community. Social media platforms offer a dynamic and cost-effective way to promote your business and stay connected in today's digital age.
Start a website
Creating a website for your business offers numerous advantages. Here are some key reasons why having a website is important:
- Online presence: In the digital age, a website serves as your online storefront and provides a professional representation of your business. It allows potential customers to find you and learn more about your products, services, and brand. Without a website, you may be missing out on valuable opportunities to reach a broader audience.
- Increased credibility and trust: A well-designed and informative website establishes credibility and builds trust with your audience. It showcases your professionalism, expertise, and commitment to your business. Having a website enables you to provide essential information, such as contact details, business hours, testimonials, and a portfolio of your work, reinforcing your legitimacy and reliability.
- 24/7 accessibility: Unlike a physical store or office, a website is accessible 24/7, allowing potential customers to engage with your business at their convenience. They can browse your offerings, make inquiries, or even make purchases outside of regular business hours. This accessibility enhances customer satisfaction and opens up opportunities for sales and conversions even when you're not actively available.
- Reach a wider audience: With a website, you can expand your reach beyond your local market. You can attract customers from different geographical locations, whether they're in your city or on the other side of the world. This increased reach enables you to tap into new markets, find niche audiences, and potentially grow your customer base.
- Marketing and promotion: A website serves as a powerful marketing tool. You can showcase your products or services, share valuable content, and run promotional campaigns directly on your website. It provides a platform to highlight your unique selling points, communicate your brand message, and engage with your audience through blog posts, videos, images, and social media integration.
- Improved customer service: A website can enhance your customer service by providing useful information and resources. You can create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, offer online chat support, provide downloadable resources or user manuals, and allow customers to submit inquiries or feedback through contact forms. This accessibility and support contribute to a positive customer experience.
- Analytics and insights: Websites allow you to gather valuable data about your audience and their behavior. By using web analytics tools, you can track website traffic, user demographics, popular pages, referral sources, and more. These insights help you understand your customers better, refine your marketing strategies, and make informed business decisions based on data.
- Competitive advantage: In many industries, having a website is now an expected norm. By having a well-designed and functional website, you can stay competitive and differentiate yourself from businesses that lack an online presence. It shows that you are keeping up with modern business practices and are ready to engage with customers in the digital realm.
Creating a website for your business is essential in today's digital landscape. It establishes your online presence, enhances credibility, expands your reach, facilitates marketing efforts, improves customer service, provides valuable insights, and gives you a competitive edge. A website acts as a central hub for your business, connecting you with a global audience and opening up countless opportunities for growth and success.
Purchase all necessary equipment and products to start printing
Our favorite part! The printing part. Do you have all the supplies and tools that you need to start screen printing today?
Screen Printing Consumables: Ink, Cleaners, Emulsion, Inkjet Film, Frames and Support Products can all be found at screenprintdirect.com. We also sell a single color press, washout booths and dip tanks. For a full list of what you need to start screen printing today check out this blog post.
Screen Printing Equipment: If you are looking to upgrade your equipment for your shop or to invest more money up front we suggest speaking with a representative at Anatol Equipment they have manual presses, conveyor dries and much more that you will need for a professional grade shop set-up
Blank T shirts for printing: Remember the resale license we talked about before? This will really come in handy when you are ready to purchase wholesale garments. We suggest purchasing through S&Sactivewear.com. Ordering is simple and quick!
Learn How to Screen Print and Practice (if you don't already know how to do so)
For a full breakdown on How to Screen Print download our screen printing guide now!
Determine an accounting system
The part no one likes but is necessary. Everything we discussed above will cost money, you need to start documenting how this money is spent. Keeping organized from the very beginning will be so helpful come tax season. It is also important to see money in and out so you can determine your companies revenues and net profit. Here are a few ways you can do accounting
- Wave: Wave is often considered one of the top free accounting software options for small businesses. It offers features such as invoicing, expense tracking, financial reporting, and basic accounting functionalities. Wave is user-friendly and has a clean interface. It also integrates with payment processors and payroll services, although these are separate paid add-ons.
- ZipBooks: ZipBooks provides a free version of its accounting software, which is user-friendly and suitable for small businesses. It offers features such as online invoicing, expense tracking, financial reporting, and time tracking. ZipBooks also integrates with popular payment processors. While the free version offers limited functionality, their paid plans unlock additional features.
- Quickbooks: QuickBooks is designed to help businesses of all sizes manage their financials efficiently. QuickBooks offers a range of accounting tools and features to track income and expenses, create invoices, manage bills and payments, track inventory, generate financial reports, and more.
- Xero: Xero is a cloud-based accounting software designed for small and medium-sized businesses. It provides a comprehensive set of accounting tools and features to help businesses manage their financials efficiently. Xero is known for its user-friendly interface, powerful functionality, and emphasis on collaboration and accessibility.
We hope this blog gives you a good place to start and a list of action items to start crushing your business. Don't be overwhelmed, work through each one, one at a time. Each step you cross off will bring you one step closer to running a more efficient and hopefully profitable business.
Screen Print Direct