Opening a balloon business? Most business advisors are full of hot air but we've got some advice that will float your boat.
Guidelines for Balloon Business Startups
The market for celebratory and special event balloons offers diverse opportunities for startup entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. Although much of the market is comprised of consumer orders, the balloon industry also presents opportunities to sell to commercial customers to decorate their establishments for sales, grand openings and special business events.
In contrast to many other types of small business startups, the balloon business has low barriers to entry and startup costs. With a minimal upfront investment, a balloon enthusiast can easily launch a small balloon business that can be gradually expanded to a more substantive operation.
However, low barriers to entry also mean that the balloon business marketplace can become crowded with competition. In the balloon industry, differentiation often boils down to industry expertise and an aptitude for capitalizing on new trends and market opportunities.
Balloon Business Startup Requirements
A basic knowledge of balloon products and decoration techniques is the starting point for a successful balloon business. With a firm grasp of the fundamentals under your belt, you'll need to secure supplies (e.g. wholesale Mylar balloons, ribbons, etc.), basic equipment (Helium tanks, nozzles, shelving) and other low cost essentials.
Since many balloon businesses feature delivery, you will also need a delivery vehicle. In the best case scenario, your startup will have a dedicated company van that is used exclusively for balloon deliveries and other business purposes. If startup resources are limited, a personal vehicle can be used for dual business/personal use.
Tips for Home-Based Balloon Business Owners
As a startup business owner, it's in your best interest to launch your balloon business as cost-effectively as possible. For many balloon business owners, that means starting their operations as home-based businesses.
Home-based businesses offer several advantages over startups that need to be launched in a dedicated space. At the same time, a home-based business can have a devastating effect on both your professional and personal life, especially if you fail to establish sufficient boundaries between your business and family life.
If you plan to launch your balloon business from your home, we strongly recommend setting aside a space that will be sed exclusively by your startup. Sole purpose space makes it much easier to reinforce work/home boundaries and is usually a requirement for tax-deductibility purposes.
How to Draft a Balloon Company Business Plan
We know - writing a business plan can be a daunting task for a new entrepreneur.
Learning how to draft a balloon company business plan isn't difficult. If you can get past the mystique, you'll see that a business plan just describes where your balloon business is headed and how you intend to get there.
When you compose a business plan, you formally document the rationale behind your entrepreneurial vision. The information in your plan (and your rationale) are essential for lenders, investors and other people who have a stake in your company.
Before you begin, we recommend reviewing a few sample business plans.
Investigate the Competition
Long before you open a balloon business within your community, it's a smart move to see how strong the competition is. We've provided the link below to help you generate a list of competitors near you. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of balloon businesses near you.
Prior to opening your doors for business, be sure you fully understand the competitive landscape and where your new business will fit in.
Turning Competitors Into Collaborators
If you are interested in starting a balloon business, be sure to learn from folks who are already in business. If you think owners of nearby balloon businesses will give you advice, think again. It'd be crazy for them to teach you the business.
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started a balloon business in a location that is not competitive to you can be a great learning resource for you, as long as they don't view you as a competitive threat. Indeed, many experienced entrepreneurs enjoy offering advice to startup entrepreneurs. It can take a while to find an entrepreneur who is willing to talk, but it's well worth the effort.
The key question new becomes: how to find a balloon business entrepreneur in another city who you can speak with?
Simply, try our helpful link below, type in a random city/state or zipcode, and start calling.
Purchasing a Balloon Business
Many experts advise against starting a balloon business if you can buy an established operation. Yet the process of buying a balloon business introduces a new set of challenges.
As you would expect, there are a number of steps in buying a business. For most prospective business buyers, the first step is to contact a business broker.
A good business broker serves a number of useful purposes. From locating available companies to helping seal the deal, your broker will have the experience and skills to help you successfully navigate the purchase process.
Consider Buying a Franchise
Purchasing a franchise doesn't mean your success is guaranteed but you do increase your odds of success when you buy a franchise.
Before starting a balloon business, you may want to investigate whether franchising might make it easy to get started.
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 getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing balloon business, try these useful resources:
If you came here to learn about selling to balloon businesses, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.