Starting a Successful Gift Basket Business
Your mouth is dry. Your heart tightens. Butterflies race through your stomach. A new love affair? Perhaps for a few. . . but, for most of us, this describes the fear and excitement that overtakes us when we talk about starting a new business.
You may have looked–or even tried–many different business opportunities and have now decided that perhaps a gift basket business is for you.
Each person who arrives at this step of the process does so for different reasons, each one unique to the individual. Perhaps you are tired of working for someone else. Maybe you want to stay at home with the children while still providing an income for the family. Or you may have read the many books extolling the virtues of making lots of money with little investment while doing the things you enjoy most.
Owning your own business is the very thread from which the fabric of the American dream is woven. But such dreams also come with many challenges. In the highly-competitive gift basket business, expert knowledge of the industry is essential for success. Hundreds of new gift basket companies are started each year but only a few survive past the start-up stage and fewer still are operating and flourishing after the first five years.
My company, Creative Gifts t Go LLC, is one that has made it to the 30-year stage. Along the way, I’ve learned from mistakes as well as trial-and-error. When I started this business, there was little information available and each of us had to learn the hard way how to avoid the landmines lurking around us just waiting to sabotage each step we made.
That is no longer the case. Gift Baskets have become popular not only personal gifts but also as the “safe” gift for business people to give to their customers and clients. You see them at Walmart, Costco, and all the other discount stores. Even the upscale department stores and specialty boutiques advertise “We do gift baskets.”
But as in many businesses, there are gift baskets and then there are gift baskets. The ones you find in the discount and even upscale department stores are usually generic products packaged in an assembly line and shrinkwrapped in a basket. What we, in the business, call Gift Baskets are much different. Carefully selected enhancements, hand-tied-bows, and artful arrangement that shout “Wow, What a Gift!” are what set us apart from the mass-produced store baskets.
You can spend an hour in the department store learning how to create an-assembly-line type gift basket. . . but it takes more than that to learn the techniques to build a “Wow, What A Basket!” And building a business based on the creation of Wow Gift Baskets requires even more skills.
In the 30 years since I began my business, the new gift basket company owner no longer needs to be alone. There have been brooks written. . . Facebook groups established . . YouTube videos created — all with the intention of helping you avoid the jungle that we had to tread through on our way to success. But as any industry expands and providing information becomes profitable, there is always good mixed with poor information and advice. And frequently, it is hard to know the difference.
As in most things, there is no absolute right way to do anything. Times change. Techniques change. And even customer’s tastes and desires change. What I am creating here is information that you can piggyback on from my own experiences as I offer you insights to some of the secrets of researching, planning, implementing and building a thriving gift basket business.
Select what will fit into your individual market and creative style and discard the rest. As a result, you will end up with a gift basket company that can only fit you.
The Birth of an Idea
Creating a new business is an exciting time. A seed of an idea is planted, watered by research and planning, and suddenly sprouts into your new business.
As a matter of fact, it's so exciting that we frequently want to skip the preliminaries and just jump right in with both feet. But, unfortunately, that's one of the surest ways to flounder and drown.
Unrealistic expectations as well as a lack of knowledge have led many new gift basket owners from the realm of potential entrepreneurship to the brink of failure. We don't want that to happen to you so take the time to read and learn, do the homework, and make sure that this is really the right business for you.
When the idea first takes hold, your mind scurries in a thousand directions as you ask yourself questions, wonder if you can really do it, and try to decide where to even begin the process.
Before you ever spend a dime on your business, you need to begin with the two words that most entrepreneurs hate to hear and even more hate to do -- business plan. Don't shutter in fear or even skip ahead because I'm going to make this dreaded document easy for you to put together
As you continue reading, I will guide you through the homework that you need to do. When you finish, you will not only have a much more concrete idea of whether you want to get into the gift basket business but you will also have completed that dreaded business plan.
A business plan is nothing more than putting your thoughts, ideas, and your research down on paper in a logical format. The process is even more important than the completed document simply because it makes you think about what you want and the steps you need to take to get there.
It doesn't have to be fancy. It can be handwritten on notebook paper or typed into your computer. It's up to you since the business plan is for you. It is not for your banker, your accountant, or even your spouse. It's nothing more than a road map to guide you as you build your business.
I can hear you now: "I've got a good memory. I can just keep it in my head."
That's not good enough. For some magical reason, putting it down on paper makes your vision a concrete reality and makes sure that the building blocks aren't set on a watery foundation.
So humor me. Do the homework. Create the business plan. I think you'll be glad you did.
Before you begin one of the easiest ways to create a plan for your new business, you might want to read and consider the "pros and cons" of having a gift business.
Ready to begin planning for that new adventure? Read the article Planning for Business Success
There is much more in our blog to help you with the basics of a gift basket business.
As you go through the process, you will most definitely have lots of questions. Join us in our Gift Basket Facebook group where you will find people just like you as well as many of us who have had years of experience. We are here to answer your questions ans to help you through the proccess. Don't reinvent the wheel. Take advantage of what we have learned along the way.
But before you go, grab the ebook that I wrote just for you -- called "What I Wish I Had Known."
Starting and Growing a Gift Basket Business?
This FREE Ebook is our gift to you.
It will give you some simple but effective things to consider in the process.
- Download it for free and we will send you periodic updates
- Don't worry, it's not the least bit annoying.