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Starting Your Own Candy Wrapper Business

Can you generate a fulltime income from a personalized candy wrapper business? Definitely. But your online business will only be as successful as the time you invest into it.

The real question you should ask yourself before starting ANY business is whether you have what it takes to be an entrepeneur. If you don't get easily discouraged, don't expect immediate results, are flexible in your business goals and are self-disciplined, then you already have the qualities that guarantee success.

One of the great things about starting a candy wrapper business is that is it one of the few legitimate businesses that you can start without too much investment. The more computer and internet skills you already have, the more money you can save. But even if you need help with installing a shopping cart program or designing a website, the startup expenses are still very reasonable.

We've provided a checklist for suggested steps you should take in starting a successful candy wrapper business.

Checklist To Starting A Personalized Candy Wrapper Business

  1. Develop Your Product Line
    • Should you create your own designs? Do you have an artistic flair? You can create your own designs using programs such as Paint Shop Pro, Adobe Illustrator and other graphics programs or purchase candy wrapper software.
      • Price Range: from $14.99 for software to $495 for franchises.
      • Pros: Unique designs not available at competitors' sites. Candy wrapper-specific software usually comes with pre-made template layouts.
      • Cons: Will your creations have commercial appeal? Is the time spent creating designs cost-effective? Will you still need to purchase additional clipart?
    • Should you purchase pre-made templates?
      • Price Range: from $.99 for individual templates to $49 for CD's and membership sites.
      • Pros: Pre-made templates are typically professionally designed and consumer-tested for commercial appeal.
      • Cons: Coordinating layouts may not be available.  You must also adhere to copyright restrictions.
    • Will you also be offering the chocolate bars for sale?
      • Pros: Convenience for customers. Cross-selling opportunity for additional profit.
      • Cons: Storage requirements; shipping concerns during high temperatures; expiration date of perishable products; possible liability exposure.
  2. Acquire Necessary Business Supplies
    • What you'll need:
      • A computer
      • A software program capable of adding special text effects and photos to the candy wrapper templates
      • A printer capable of printing photo-quality images
      • Photo-quality printer paper (matte and gloss)
      • Extra ink cartridges or ink refill kits
      • Double-sided tape and glue sticks if you will be assembling a finished chocolate bar.
      • Paper cutter
      • Specialty-edged scissors for full-sized wrappers
      • Shipping supplies and labels (USPS offers free priority mail envelopes and boxes to businesses)
  3. Create Your Online Storefront
    • What you'll need:
      • A website hosting service ($5 to $50 per month). If you're not familiar with what to look for when selecting a hosting company, here are some suggestions:
        • Cheapest is not always best. They may have terrible customer service or frequent downtime. They may over-sell their server space, which means your site will be slow if another site sharing your server is putting in too many server requests. They may not have appropriate protection from DDOS attacks, which means all the domains on the shared server will be down until the attack subsides.
        • WebHostingTalk.com is a great place to find reviews and feedback from other people. hostgator.com has good reviews.
        • Look for a hosting service that offers a comprehensive control panel. Cpanel is a control panel that gives you access to all aspects of your web space. To see a list of all the features available through Cpanel, visit http://www.cpanel.net/features-cpanel.html
        • Look for feature-rich hosting. Fantastico is a feature that will automatically install AND configure free programs on your site. (even if you don't want to use any of the programs available through Fantastico, the fact that the host offers Fantastico is an excellent indicator that your host offers feature-rich web hosting). To see a list of all the programs available through Fantastico, visit http://www.fantastico.com/. If they offer fantastico, you'll have access to some great (and free) shopping cart programs.
        • When looking through all the different hosting packages offered by your host, select the one that gives you the option to add at least one domain name and at least 2 SQL databases to your hosting package. (SQL is the format that will store your database for products and orders.)
      • A domain name ($20 per year)
      • A logo
      • A shopping cart program (there are many free programs, licensed software ($99-$499), or leased carts (avg $25 per month).
      • A payment processor to accept online credit card and check payments (PayPal or private merchant accounts)
  4. Setup Your Online Storefront
    • What you'll need to do:
      • If you're not familiar with website design, don't try to learn now. A website that looks "homemade" will leave customers questioning the reliability and quality of the products. Invest in a pre-made template for your shopping cart program.
      • Your online presence should be as creative as the products you design.
      • Focus on a graphic design that will not complete with your product images.
      • Create quality graphics for your website.
      • Use a graphics optimizer to reduce the loading time of your images. Most visitors still use dial-up and quickly grow impatient when pages take too long to load.
      • Provide easy to follow navigational links throughout your site.
      • Ask customers for testimonials and scatter those throughout your site.
      • Visit your competitors' websites regularly. Looking at the features provided, make notes of why you would select to purchase from one site and not the other. Then make corrections on your own site.
      • Many customers may not be able to envision how the product will look once it is completed. Always use completed invitations or wrappers as your product image.
      • Add your products. Include options and sample photos. Price your products competitively.
      • Add a page detailing your shipping costs, accepted payment methods and refund policy.
      • Add a page for customer enquiries and feedback.
  5. Setup Your Business
    • Obtain a business license
    • Open a separate business checking account (especially if you'll be accepting mail orders, money orders and personal checks).
    • Designate a specific area of your home exclusively to the business.
    • Small business insurance.
  6. How To Let The World Know You Exist
    • Before submitting your site to all search engines:
      • Learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is where you should invest the majority of your time, otherwise potential customers will never be able to find you.
      • Optimize your pages for both keywords and metatags.
      • Search engine positioning is extremely competitive. Your goal is to at least be in the top 4 pages of search results within 6 months.
    • Participate in Google Sitemap. (This is the quickest way to have Google index your site and will also get pages listed in search results that Google may have overlooked)
    • Submit your product line to Froogle.
    • Participate in GoogleAdwords (Well worth the advertising expense. As little as $1 per day).
    • List products with eBay and provide a direct link to your site from each listing.
    • Participate in forums. Only do so if you can genuinely help members with questions. Include a link to your site in your signature tags. To only post responses that pitch your company is considered spam and is strictly forbidden on most forums.
    • Resubmit your site to search engines every 2-3 months.
    • Offer discounts to customers who have already made a purchase from your store.
    • Print a magnetic sign and put it on your car.
    • Add a signature line to your email, advertising your store and include it in EVERY email you send.
    • Get your business profiled in your local paper.
  7. What You Should Expect
    • It can take up to 3 months before search engines index your site and begin including it in search results. You can increase the time frame by participating in Google Sitemap. Whether customers can find you is greatly dependent on how well you optimized your site for search engines.
    • Until your site begins receiving regular visitors from search engines, you should generate sales through alternate routes such as eBay.
    • For the first year, anticipate the need to continually improve and update your business.
    • Use your site's statistics to figure out what search terms visitors use to find your site. You should optimize your pages for those keywords.
Definity Group: Website Consulting Design and Development