How To Grow Your Screen Printing Business From $0 to $250k

How To Grow Your Screen Printing Business From $0 to $250k

– This is Bruce
from Printavo here to help the small guys today. Now we’re gonna be getting
shops from zero up to $250,000 with one to two people, okay. There’s a lot of
people in this bucket that they’re able to grow
to that point and beyond. Now, I’m gonna make the
assumption that you guys already have the
equipment set up and you understand the
screen printing process. There’s tons of great
classes out there that you can look and
learn about how to do this and handle the screen
printing process. Today we’re gonna be focusing
on the business aspect, how to get your sales up to
that point and what to do. I’m gonna make another
assumption here
that the majority of your sales are gonna
come in through local paths, local channels, the stores
around you, the schools, the little shops and
stores, all of those are gonna be the focus
on getting your company up to $250,000 in revenue. Now a little bit of
background, I did this. We started a print shop, we
were in Champaign, Illinois at University of Illinois
and we started a print shop in the back of a
retail location. We didn’t have the retail
location, we had the back space where we had a
four by four press and grew it really,
really quickly. So this is definitely doable,
I’ve been there, I understand. I didn’t know anything
about printing even before, just like you guys too but
I learned and I evolved and iterated and
that’s exactly the tips that I’m gonna give
you guys right now to help you get to that stage. Alright, here we go. First step, focus. If you have multiple businesses, you need to focus on
one to help grow it. This stuff takes time so set your expectations realistically. It’s not gonna be an
overnight success, alright? You’re gonna need to
put in the long hours and work to get this business
where you need to go. So focus, you need to
be working on sales and marketing and printing. If there are two of you,
then one needs to focus mainly on one or the other. The next aspect of focus
is in the business. Now first let’s
talk about artwork. For separating artwork,
for digitizing artwork, for vectorizing artwork, ’cause
I’m sure you’re gonna get all kinds of artwork
files, or already do, take it over to a site
like, you drag the files
in and soon after you’ll get something back. For 30 bucks you
can have it done. Now you need to look
at your time, okay. If you’re spending X amount of
time because you’re learning how to do it and
that isn’t worth it, based on $30 paying
someone else to do it, then just get it done and
move on to the next sale. You gotta have
that quick turnover to be able to grow to this size. Now the next piece is the inks. Don’t focus on
all kinds of inks, just focus on simple
plastisol printing. Again I’m assuming that you guys have already gone
through printing classes and understand that aspect
but just focus on that piece. The last aspect here is
getting set up with Printavo. Printavo helps you manage
the different pieces of your business, like invoicing and scheduling and payments. I was right in your spot
managing a print shop and growing it to
that next stage and that’s why we built
Printavo to be able to help you guys to get there. Okay the next piece, number
two, is your online presence. This is so important
when getting ready to scale the marketing
and the sales side. Get set up. If you don’t have a website and it doesn’t look
good, you’re losing. You need to go to
or set up and download a professional WordPress
website and get it put on and live and make it look like that you are bigger
than you are. You have to seem
bigger than you are so that people view that
when they go to your website. You don’t know how many leads
you’re gonna lose out on for people researching you
because they don’t think that you can handle their job. So get your website
set up immediately with a lot of great content. Spend time doing that. Next, your Facebook account. Again, professionalism
is important. Get the banner and the cover
photo, everything set up. If you need help from
a graphic designer, this initial investment
is gonna be important. Now this is gonna play a
huge role later in the steps. Now next step is Yelp,
get that going too. Get a few good
positive reviews going from past customers,
that is really important, that’s part of the piece
called social proof. When someone goes
to your website and they look at you, have you
ever been to a restaurant’s review page on Yelp or
others and you said wow, only two or three
stars and not go? That’s gonna happen a lot
to you if you either have poor reviews or you don’t
have any reviews at all. So get that done. Google business is another one. Get set up in there. This starts to get a
little bit more into native what’s called SEO, search
engine optimization, so that when people
search for a print shop in your area you begin to
come up in the results. Now make sure again
those key words about you and your local
business are in your website too so Google will crawl those and you’ll show up
in those engines. Now lastly, social, Twitter,
Instagram, any others that you can find, get on
it and set up the profile and add as many people to get
going as you possibly can. This is gonna again
gonna be very important when we get to the
marketing and sales stage and start really pushing
hard into the business. Now lastly, email. Gmail is nice but again we’re
talking about professionalism. So if you are shop
example or, set up [email protected]
and get it done. You could pay for
this as Google apps, but again it’s the
professionalism aspect that you wanna set
up and make yourself look bigger than
you actually are. Okay the next step here is
writing down your target market. Who are you guys gonna go after? Is it a local
geographic base area? Is it schools because you
do uniforms really well? Is it uniforms for
larger companies because you can embroider and
put those together very well? Who is it gonna be? Write it down and make
sure you know that. That’s gonna be crucial
for this next step. Alright everybody,
this is the main piece that we’re gonna
be talking about. We’ve got a couple others
after but this is the big one so drum roll,
alright here we go. Marketing and sales. Alright, now everybody tells
you you need to be selling, you need to be out there
doing, well how do you do that to get to the $250,000 mark? View it in two buckets. The first is online,
the second is offline. Customers need to be
seeing you everywhere to make a decision to go and
use you as a service provider. Okay, so you can’t
just do one or two, you need to be doing it all. Now we got our online presence
set up so that looks great so if someone gets a
piece of paper from you or has your name on it
and they look you up, you’re gonna be
covered on that end. Very, very important. Next thing you’re
gonna need to do to start generating these sales
is take your Google contacts and all of the email
addresses that you have in your contact list
and you’re gonna need to let everybody know what you do. Include a little
coupon in there too to help entice people
to bring someone in. I’m talking five, 10% max. Now you’re gonna take those
and you can put them all into Mailchimp or you can
email them from Google, and
you’re gonna send them, letting them know Hi, I’m Bruce, I’m running this brand
new print shop in town. We handle a lot of customers
that want custom apparel, here are a few examples
of some customers that we’ve worked with. We’ve worked with a
bunch of different people over the last X amount
of months or years, we’re here to help you. Now this is one email
and one touch point, but you’re gonna
start to do this and set it on your calendar
to do this every month. You can automate
this in Mailchimp, but you’re gonna wanna
start doing this regularly. A little bonus tip is that
you can collect more emails from your website
using different plugins that people could submit
for say a discount. Have you ever been to
an e-commerce store and they have a
pop-up that comes up that says five or 10% if
you give us your email? Boom you collect it
and it goes right into your email newsletter list. Now this is gonna
create the reactivation. It’s not gonna draw immediate,
tons of sales immediately but it’s gonna be
the reactivation to
start to bring in a good amount of sales
that start to come in. Okay, the second aspect
that you need to make sure that you do is post everywhere. There shouldn’t be a
person in your town that doesn’t know
that you are a printer and that you can help
them make custom apparel. Now what that means is
you need to be posting on your website, you need
to be posting on Facebook, you need to be posting in
your blog and on Twitter and every single channel
where you have friends or family that might know what
you’re doing, texting people. I’m literally saying if you
have a list of G Chat contacts or Skype contacts, you
need to be going through each one and say
hey, this is Bruce, I’m working on this
business, we’re growing it. We’ve got a lot of
different custom apparel that we can help you make,
here’s some great examples and send it off to them. Keep doing this over and over,
spend a day on the weekend or something and just keep
putting that out there. It might not be them but
it could be someone else that they know that’s gonna
bring in that next sale. Now you might be saying to
yourself well I’ve already done that, I’ve posted on
Facebook once or twice. No I guarantee you are
not doing it enough. You need to be continually
posting and making people aware and telling people. Again very important push that
that is how we initially grew and got to that first
goal of $250,000, by making it aware that
this is what we did, wearing shirts and hats
and loud different colors that stood out, that said
our name and what we did and how to get in touch with us. Okay, this brings me
to my next aspect. I’m gonna jump
offline for a second. Offline marketing,
print up some postcards and business cards and make
sure you have them everywhere, in your car, in your
backpack, in your pockets. Do not every be without a card and make sure you’re
handing them out constantly. Anybody again that
you know at a party that you haven’t seen in awhile,
hey this is what I’m doing, I just wanted to let
you know about it. Make sure they know. Now anywhere you go, take those
postcards and drop them off. If you’re at the grocery store,
put a couple on the board, if you’re at your kids school, try to leave them
at a front desk. Anywhere that’s
just sitting there. What we did and we
were on a campus is we would go to every business and just leave cards everywhere,
on tables and this and that and every single place
you could think of, you would see our card. Make ’em stand out, neon,
anything you have to do but really important. Again you cannot be
bashful about this. You need to push. Now I’m gonna hop back
online for a second, okay? Let’s assume that you’re
pushing hard in person, oh by the way, you must
always be walking in and be comfortable with
the cold aspects of it. So going into the business,
walk down the main strip and ask for every single owner and let them know
what you’re doing. Give them the card,
be personable, start creating that network. This takes time. It’s not gonna be a
boulder immediately. It’s gonna start as a pebble
and build up and build up and build up from there. Now hopping back
online, Facebook. Facebook is huge for growing
that initial sales cycle. So Facebook ads,
something to think about, something to try, but
start on a small budget. Make sure you target
who you’re looking for in your area or whoever
your target customer is and then you have to run it over a 90 day
period at a minimum. So some people say hey I
didn’t get any sort of results right away, well you
didn’t run it long enough. Also look at your ads. It will work, but you
have to keep tweaking it and trying to see
what does work. If you’re unsure of
how to get started, I’m sure there are
people that know about how to use Facebook
ads in your local area that you can try and work with. A free way to generate
Facebook traffic and awareness is contests. Take any local event
or holiday going on, Halloween just past,
ask people to post their favorite costume
or their costume and ask them to vote by likes and the winner will get
free shirts say up to $100. Now the cost is $100
and a bit of your time, but that will again
drive awareness and will bring in a couple
different clientele. Now keep doing this, do this
maybe every couple months and that audience grows. This again takes time. You’re not gonna get
5,000 likes over night. It’s gonna take a years period. Instagram, the way Instagram
works is it’s photos and it’s hashtags, okay? So you can post your
photos and you want to post your past customers
and what they look like with their swag and
everything on there for really good social proof. To find customers on there,
you’re gonna wanna search for local businesses,
you’ll follow them, like them, comment
on their photos and you can either automate
this by looking for what’s called a virtual
assistant on or you can automate
this with tools like Gramista for example and they can help
you start to do this. Now you don’t wanna
look like you’re, you know you’re a
robot, so maybe hiring a virtual assistant,
they are anywhere between three and $5 per hour
to be able to do this. Okay, the last piece
here is the follow up. The frequency, the
consistency, and following up is gonna be the key aspect
in to growing to this stage. So if a big sale comes in for
1,000 shirts and you’re like holy cow, you need
to follow up on them. Once a week, every couple days, whatever you feel is
important but make sure you keep following up
until you receive a no. Now the next aspect
is consistency that I talked to you about. You have to do all of this
stuff and all the marketing and the posts regularly. We understand that you’re
busy, you’re working, you’ve got prints, you’ve
got this and that to do, but you cannot go
stale with this. You’re building a boulder. Boulders are not
built over night, they’re built over consistent
long periods of time. So if you need help and you
wanna automate little pieces, again I mentioned the
virtual assistant aspect which is great, you pay
someone three to $5 an hour and they can help you do pieces of repetitive work,
like social media. The second to last piece that
I wanna talk to you about is the aspect of cash. Now cash is very, very
important when you get started. You cannot, no matter if
it’s a friend or a family, you cannot just do jobs without collecting
anything up front. Collect a minimum of 50% up
front to get the job done. That’s gonna cover
your costs to get going and then reduce
your risk as you get and finalize and wrap up. Now if they’re not
willing to do that, that’s something you
need to really consider if you wanna take that risk. There’s a lot of horror
stories of you floating and other shops floating
the cash like that and then they’re left
out to hang to dry for three, six months
before they get paid. Cash is extremely
important early on. Take the 50% payment right away. This is the last thing
and that is iterating. You have to look back and say
what did we do last month, what worked well,
what didn’t work well and be able to improve upon that on the next month and execute. The reason that
people don’t grow and keep getting larger
is because they’re not continually executing
and thinking about what worked well and what
we’re gonna do next time and improve it and
grow that base. Now I’m already
assuming that you know that you have to deliver
amazing customer value and help your
customers and wow them. So I’m gonna focus on this
whole iterative approach here and just again keep
thinking about that. So I hope that helps everybody. Feel free to post comments of
hey I’ve got this marketing question or what do I
do or I’m stuck here. But this is gonna get you
with one to two people, up to about $250,000
in annual sales and then from there we’re
gonna cover the next aspect in our next video part. Again if you do have questions, this is Bruce, from Printavo. We’d love to hear your
feedback, you can post it below.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Thanks tons, Bruce! I love your education videos and interviews, more please! 🙂

    I started out just me, not knowing much about screenrprinting other than using the Speedball kit for my husband's band's shirts. Now I have a Ranar press w/ a flash dryer and am getting a lot more work through word of mouth, and am SO happy when someone says "You were recommended by lots of people I know" … and I don't even know this person. Yay! The business is still just me, but I know about 1000x more than I used to. I had no idea the size of the learning curve in this business, but it's tons of fun, and I look forward to every day.

    I quit the small part time jobs I had doing other stuff so I could focus 100% on my print shop, and it's doubled the amount of work I'm getting. I usually start my day by listening to Printavo interviews to keep my focus and THINK BIG!

    Thanks again!

  2. Thanks Bruce. I can't wait till Print Room can finally bring Printavo into our business! Love watching your videos and learning more!

  3. Great info man! I've been coasting on word of mouth for years. Its finally waning a little and getting me nervous. Time to join the 21centery i guess ha..
    What is the first thing you would do if you were already established but had zero online presence?

  4. What do you mean by "follow up until you get a no"? Is that after you've completed their initial order? Check in to see if they need to re-order? Every two days seems a little excessive. No?

  5. What was the name of the virtual assistant you mentioned? Was it 'romista' or something along those lines? Thanks for the quality tips.

  6. Very informative video ! What if we have some ink and mesh count option ? Especialy if we take order from website. Some people want a very soft, soft, or standard handfeel

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