Wondering how to start a card shop? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Greeting Card Industry Trends
The rapid growth of the Internet led to an abundance of predictions about the greeting card industry's imminent demise. Those predictions, it turns out, were premature -- since 1993, the number of consumers who purchase greeting cards has increased 6%. Currently, more than 90% of U.S. households purchase an average of 30 greeting cards per year.
But the apparent vibrancy of the greeting card industry doesn't mean that card shop entrepreneurs can rest on their laurels. The modern greeting card industry has changed dramatically over the past twenty years as greeting card shops now offer a complete array of standard, custom photo, musical/electronic and personalized card options.
Networking & Diversification for Card Shop Startup Success
Growth-minded card shop startups are highly diversified business environments. Although greeting cards form the backbone of the business, shop owners consistently expand their product offerings to include a full range of products to help their customers celebrate important life events. It's not unusual to find card shop startups that also offer customized wedding invitations & accessories, stationery, personalized gifts and collectibles.
The most productive way to stay on top of new greeting card products is to proactively engage in business networking. Trade organizations like the Greeting Card Association routinely provide opportunities for greeting card insiders to check out the latest products and forge relationships with industry peers.
Optimizing Results from Greeting Card Trade Shows
The Greeting Card Association and other trade groups constantly update their members about industry trade shows -- perfect opportunities for card shop startup owners to educate themselves about the latest industry developments.
Every trade show you attend is an opportunity to achieve important wins for your card shop. To make the most of trade shows, you'll need to devise and execute a trade show plan that addresses educational and networking objectives.
Core Characteristics of Card Shop Business Plans
Every business plan is unique, yet the most effective plans share a handful of essential traits.
If your plan lacks required elements like an executive summary or marketing plan, it could jeopardize its potential to deliver real benefits to your startup.
Although it will need to be incorporated into the flow of your plan, we strongly recommend considering a PEST (Political, Economic, Social & Technological) analysis for inclusion in your card shop's business plan.
Be Active In the Community
Instead of selling to a large national or regional market, your startup will primarily sell to local customers. If you are an outsider or a transplant to the community, work diligently to build up your reputation as an active local leader. For example, spend time on local business associations and community organizations to demonstrate your commitment to the community.
Assess the Competition
Long before you open a card shop within your community, it's essential to determine how you will fit in the competitive landscape. Use the link below to find competitors in your city. Simply enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of card shops in your town.
Before you open up shop, make sure you know what you will offer to your customers that provides a significant advantage over your competition's offering.
Learning More About the Industry
As part of your due diligence on opening a card shop, it's essential that you learn from folks who are already in business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. It'd be crazy for them to teach you the business.
However, an entrepreneur who owns a card shop in another town may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. In my experience, you may have to call ten business owners in order to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Do you know how to find an entrepreneur who is running a card shop who is willing to advise you because you live in different cities?
Simple. Let your fingers do the walking by using the link below.
Advice for Acquiring a Card Shop
Without a doubt, it usually makes more sense to acquire a card shop than it does to pursue a startup.
But without adequate financing, your plans to own a first-rate card shop are going nowhere. Business acquisitions are easier to finance than business startups, even though the financing process can still be exhausting.
Our Business Acquisition Financing Tips have the information you need to successfully navigate the challenges of financing your new business.
Consider Buying a Franchise
Your chances for avoiding failure in business immediately improve if you go the franchising route in lieu of doing everything yourself.
If your goal is to start a card shop, you ought to check out whether purchasing a franchise might make your life much easier.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you sell to card shops, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.