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Advice for Starting a Gift Basket Business

By: Aimee Johnson

Why Did You Start Your Gift Basket Business?
I originally started my Gift Basket Business because I wanted to make my life simpler. For years, I was spending over two hours a day commuting to a corporate job. I felt the need to channel my creative side, while still using my business experience. I wanted to have more hours at home with my children, and be in charge of my own success.

How Did You Start Your Gift Basket Business?
I researched the Gift Industry and Gift Basket business for several years before I finally took the plunge, and started my own business in a retail storefront. At the time, the internet was not the huge presence it is now, so I felt to reach the greatest number of customers, a retail setting would be best. The first three years were challenging in respect to learning how to manage inventory, marketing, and developing relationships with wholesale suppliers that I could count on for a 'rush shipment'.

How Did Your Gift Basket Business Grow?
My Gift Basket business took off slowly, but by the second year, I had secured several corporate clients that ordered on a regular basis. After building my storefront retail Gift Basket business for six years, I eventually sold it to another woman who had wanted to own her own Gift Basket business all her life. She had the benefit of taking over an established business. For the past ten years, I have worked as a small business Consultant.

Whether your business is run as a home-based, retail or Internet business - I firmly believe the best form of advertising comes from several main sources: 1) Word of Mouth 
2) Ad or Recommendation from a Trusted or Familiar Web Site
3) Direct Marketing to Companies in Your Local Area. Once you have built a chain of regular customers, they will refer you to others that 'become' regular buyers of your Gift Baskets.

Is Starting a Gift Basket Business From Home a Good Idea?
I believe that for most situations, starting a Gift Basket from Home is the best way to go. If I had to do it over again 'from the beginning', I would have started my business from home, and then moved into the retail storefront. During the past few years, with the Internet developing into such a huge shopping arena
- I would definitely start a Gift Basket business at home, and also have a web site e-commerce shopping site.

Having the business in your home, eliminates your cost of overhead (rent, lease). I would recommend setting aside a specific portion of your household for setup of your Gift Basket business. There are many tax advantages a home-based business can claim. Running your Gift Basket business from home, also allows you flexibility in your daily schedule, which is always nice when a family situation requires you to be there 'right now!'.

Why Do You Think Having a Web Site is a Good Investment for the Gift Basket Business Owner?
Online shopping is growing each year, and it really is essential to have a web site to compliment any type of business that sells services or goods. Just as a Business Card is an integral piece of your business marketing, a web site is an absolute necessity - you can reach out and connect with customers in your home town and around the globe. A well designed, and fully functional e-commerce web site is an Investment that will pay you back in the first year. Plan to spend between $2000 and $4000.

What is the Most Common Mistake a Gift Basket Business Owner Makes with Their Web Site Presence?
Many Gift Basket business owners tend to shy away from the initial investment of a web site. There are so many components that go into producing a 'well-greased' site, and most just do not understand the importance of having a web development company create their site for them. Most think they can do it themselves - and unfortunately they end up with an inferior web site that isn't going to perform for them - or - sell their Gift Baskets.

Any Advice to Someone Who Is thinking About Starting Their Own Gift Basket Business?
Advice? Gosh, there are so many things I'd like to focus on, but foremost - research the gift industry, and make a plan. Determine what your budget is for: inventory, marketing, and peripheral expenses. Each individual will have a different reason for starting their own Gift Basket business, so each situation will be different.

Make a Backup Plan, so if things don't go the way you originally thought, you'll have a plan of action to implement. As a Gift Basket business owner - you'll be wearing 'all the hats'. Decide who is going to do what, such as the ordering, designing, delivery, accounting, marketing, etc.

What Do You Think Sets Up the Foundation for a Successful Gift Basket Business?
First: Research and Make a plan. 
Second: Contract with an established web development company for Hosting and an e-commerce Web site. 
Third: Find Your Niche.

In today's world, Gift Basket businesses are a dime a dozen. By finding your 'niche' you will set yourself apart from all the others. If you are selling the same 'gift baskets' as all the other gift basket businesses, what makes you think a customer will pick you to order from?

When Should a New Gift Basket Business Owner Expect to Make a Profit
Running your own business isn't easy, running a successful and profitable business is exceptionally difficult. Expect to put in long hours your first year. You'll make mistakes - but you'll learn from them and move forward more smoothly. Profits can be seen after the 15 months.

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Author Bio
Aimee Johnson
Co-owner and Small Business Consultant

Article Source: - Free Website Content

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