How to Start a Digital Printing Business

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Printing has come a long way since Gutenberg's Bible, and digital printing, or the transfer of digital images to a physical surface, has become the preferred method of printing today. With this rise in popularity has come a greater need for quality digital printing services. Learn how you can take advantage of this demand and start your own successful digital printing business.

  • Educate yourself. The first step to starting your own digital printing business is to learn everything you can about digital printing and the digital printing industry -- and there's a lot to learn. If you are already working in the industry, then you are probably pretty familiar with the processes, equipment, language and pricing. If you do not have experience, you will need to do your research. Start by checking out Printguide.com, where you can find answers to all your printing questions, from "What is hexachrome?" to "How long will a screen print last?"

    Then, talk to people in the field -- both the digital and traditional print business -- print shop owners, screen printers, even designers and typesetters. Go to the library and check out some books on digital printing, such as Mastering the Art of Digital Printing, by Harald Johnson. You can even take a course at your local community college. Expect to invest significant time and energy into learning everything you can about digital printing.

  • Decide what services you are going to offer as a digital printer. There are plenty, possibly too many, from brochure and business card printing to T-shirts and mugs to large-scale banners, signs and even books. Decide whether you will offer short-run printing -- printing in small quantities -- which has become very popular among print customers for its is cost effectiveness. or only bulk printing. Choose the services you would like to offer and make sure that you know what equipment you will need in order to provide them. For example, if you plan on offering embossing services, you will need to purchase an embossing machine and/or hot-stamping foils. You will also need to know what services and products you are going to offer when you begin to market your business to prospective clients.

  • Find a facility. Based on the size of your new digital printing business and the range of services you will offer, decide what size space you need and where you would like your business to be located. Are you going to be doing deliveries to businesses? If so, you may want to be closer to the business district in your city. Are you going to be doing large-scale printing? If so, you will need to have enough space for bulkier equipment. Keep in mind that the larger the space and the closer its proximity to a central business area, the more expensive it will be. Figure out how small you can go without sacrificing productivity, and think about how close in to the city you need to be. Look at other similar businesses, where they are located and how large they are. Then compare your needs and choose a space that fits them and your budget.

  • Promote your business. When you begin to advertise, make sure your materials speak about the level of quality of your services. Print brochures and business cards yourself, or have a quality printer do them for you. Make sure they act as a sample of the work you would do for your prospective clients. Decide on your target market and find unique opportunities to get in front of them. Join local business associations and attend networking functions to let area businesses and decision makers know about your services. Anyone who has digital printing needs is a potential client. Networking has become the preferred mode of small-business marketing today, especially for a tangible product such as digital printing, so make sure you are taking advantage of every opportunity.

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