How to Start a Corporate Merchandising Business
Would you like to start your own corporate merchandising business? Find out the steps you will need to take to make this a successful business.
Do you have a knack for design and want to combine this with your passion for merchandising? Since the emergence of trade and commerce, companies have recognised the value in utilising promotional products for commercial success. Promotional products are used for the purposes of advertising, sustaining client support and reaching potential consumers. It can also build brand awareness and rapport with current customers. We understand it can seem like a difficult task to start your own merchandising business and gain traction in the corporate world. Therefore, here is our guide which shows you step-by-step how to start a corporate merchandising business.
1. Set Up Your Business
Whether you want to operate solely online or would like a shopfront, you will need to set up your business. Your first action should be establishing which business structure you would like to operate under. You may chose a sole trader, partnership, company or trust. For more information, you can read our article ‘A Definitive Breakdown of the Pros and Cons of Each Business Structure’.
If you choose to operate as a company, you will then need to register your company. In doing this, you can enhance your brand and reputation as a reliable business. You will also need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN).
You should also choose a business name. As you are a design based business, don’t be scared to get creative. Before you register your business name, you will need to check it is available here. Once this is done, you may create a visually appealing logo to represent your business.
2. Select Your Merchandise
Now it’s time to get creative. You may choose to design your own merchandise or purchase it from a wholesaler. Either way – make sure your merchandise is diverse and practical. Think bags, personalised t-shirts, mugs, pens, hats, drink bottles, keychains – the list goes on. Try to think outside the box and include unique items that may attract clients to choose you over your competitors.
Moreover, in selecting your merchandise, conduct market research into your competitors offerings. This will provide an insight into the respective consumer interest into a particular product. It can also show you what products are not as popular, or where there are potential gaps in the market.
3. Choose Your Supplier
Choosing your supplier can be a challenging task. Ensure you contact a number of manufacturers to obtain multiple quotes. Where possible, acquire physical samples of the supplier’s products. This will enable you to get an idea of the quality, colour and material of the products. Don’t forget to find out each supplier’s shipping fees, setup costs and any other additional fees which may be incurred. It is also important to be advised of their average turnover time and ability to respond to urgent orders. It can be common for manufacturers to have a minimum order of 100 pieces so make sure you find out if your supplier has this.
4. Establish a Reputation and Customer Base
Congratulations – you have now set up your business and sourced a supplier. Now it is time to establish a reputation and acquire clients. As your business is in corporate merchandising, your main customers will be other businesses and organisations.
Here are a few ways you can market your business to obtain clients:
- Sending free products to companies with their logo already embedded on the item. This is an easy and effective way to show off your products in a personalised manner.
- Attend networking events to meet other business owners or company representatives. This is a great way to meet potential clients to market your products to.
- Utilise social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to showcase your products. If you are struggling to build a presence, you can opt to pay for ads to improve your reach and account traffic.
Marketing and strong brand awareness is key in achieving corporate success and market share. Most reputable companies have their own unique merchandise. Hence, starting a corporate merchandising business can prove to be a great and profitable option. If you are still unsure about how to register a business or which business structure to choose, we would recommend consulting a business lawyer.
Laura is a Legal Intern at Lawpath. She is studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business Administration at Macquarie University. Laura is interested in Intellectual Property Law and how technology can assist in improving access to justice.