Ready to expand into digital printing? Consider these decision steps
Digital printing can be profit-able, but it also requires patience and a full commitment to the technology, because the processes, although easily accomplished, demand a somewhat imprecise learning curve that depends on the nature of the learner. For example, visually inclined geeks, especially those familiar with Adobe software, will learn faster than novices who are unfamiliar with such systems. However, if you’re coming in cold, don’t fear your shop adopting digital printing because all the processes are based upon solid logic and easily learned by anyone who is willing to follow specific instructions.
In truth, learning the technology isn’t anything to trepidate. Instead, fear buying the wrong machine, an unrealistic view of costs vs. cash flow and an overzealous view of your market. Fortunately, these three evils are easy to avoid. Start by conducting market research to determine what type of digitally printed products are in local demand that your shop could produce and sell, which will narrow down your machine choices. Also, evaluate your local market’s willingness to pay a price that will allow your new venture to profit. Next, assess your competitive circumstances by learning if a nearby shop is producing similar print products. Consider, also, that a neighboring shop may have similar market-development ideas, so having no competition today isn’t a guarantee of none tomorrow. Remember that recognizing your competitive picture allows you to create “barriers to your competition” (usually as value-added services) as one way to retain and increase your market share.
As you can see, the process is to gather information that determines which types of machines would produce print products you can sell at a profit. More importantly, however, you’re developing a broad picture of your life with the new, high-tech print machine and determining whether you’re economically and personally companionable with such a venture.
Do this. Conduct preliminary web research and pick three print machines that might do the job you have in mind, but don’t lock down yet. Then, learn about ancillary products these print machines can make to determine if your shop could also produce and sell these products. An example would be a printer that will print signs, banners and posters, but will also print and cut product labels you could sell to local manufacturing plants.
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