Small Business Start-Up Idea – Sign-Making Service

Sign manufacture is a fun way for you to earn some extra income. Even if you are not creative enough to design your own signs, if you possess the right skills you will be able to manufacture them to order.  

Skills needed: If you plan on designing signs for others then you will need some skill in graphic design and computer aided design. Do not be put off if you have no formal qualifications in this area as long as you have talent. The other skills you require will depend on the type of signs you plan to make (e.g. for wooden signs you will need to know how to carve).  

Business environment and set-up cost: This is primarily a local business because you will work closely with clients and be responsible for installing the signage. The usual start-up costs apply to this business, including the cost to design and start running the website. In addition to a computer with the relevant software and a printer, you will need the appropriate machinery to make the signage. The costs will vary greatly depending on your needs – machines that make neon signs for a bar will be more expensive than if you are making wooden estate agent signs. The rest of your expenses will be related to promoting your website. The overall set-up cost could be from five to ten thousand pounds.  

Marketing Techniques:  

  • Display your best signs prominently on your website
  • Add your website to the popular pay-per-click search engines
  • Use viral marketing to generate referrals – getting your existing customers to tell their friends
  • Advertise in local business magazines both online and in print
  • Add your website to (or advertise on) link directories and web-rings related to business in your area
  • Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online

Complimentary business ideas: If you have graphic design skills you can easily branch out into logo design. If not, consider a sideline in signage restoration.  

Notes: It is crucial for this business to be seen by the target market. Consider forming a partnership with websites relating to the local area in order to offer discount coupons for your service (e.g. 10% off on orders over £50).  

Online examples & resources:  

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