How to Start a Gift Wrapping Business

If someone leaves a gift with you for wrapping, give them a receipt of the contents, and both of you sign on it. The last thing you would want is someone to falsely accuse you of stealing some expensive items like jewelry, gadgets, mobile phone, watches, etc.
Most people want gifts to be wrapped for various occasions like birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, weddings, farewells, baby showers, etc. They are ready to pay a good amount if they get quality service at their convenience and within their time limit. Not only this, but it is also a very creatively satisfying business. Hence, if you are planning to start a gift wrapping business, it can prove to be a highly profitable venture.

Business Plan
Have a business plan in place before starting any kind of business. Start with a trendy name for the business which you will have to register as ‘doing business as.’ You will have to determine if you will start the business at home or get a proper business place. Also, you will have to decide about the budget of investment and where you will be sourcing it from. You will also need a marketing strategy in place that will help you get maximum customers. Also, conduct a market research and try to study the rates of competitors before you decide on yours.

Get Training
It is highly advisable that you get training for understanding various kinds of gift wrappings. You can do this by attending classes or watching online videos and DVDs. Remember that no one will shell out a good amount of money for an unprofessional wrapping that resembles something that their 5-year-old child could have done. Also, wrapping asymmetrical shapes requires special practice. To add a sophisticated and professional touch to your business, it is advisable to get trained. You can even work with a person who is into a similar venture to gain knowledge about the different types of gift wrappings.

Source Supplies
You will have to source supplies like different types of wrapping papers with prints for various occasions and target customers. For example, you will have to get cartoon wrapping papers for children or cosmetic-imprinted ones for teenage girls. You can also have Christmas specials. Have sophisticated ones for weddings, baby showers, etc. For corporate gifts, get neutral shades. You can also get plain wrapping papers, organza, and tissue. You will also have to add ribbons and trims of various colors, sizes, prints, and shapes. Getting ribbons and trims in colors which will go with all neutral ones can help save on costs. Don’t buy gaudy paper colors and designs. You will also need scissors, tissues, cellophane, clear tape, etc. If you are planning to attach small figures like Christmas trees, stars, Santa Claus, etc., you can buy those as well. One of the most important things to order is boxes in various shapes and sizes for fitting all the gifts comfortably, especially the asymmetrical ones.

Vendors
In the initial days, try not to spend too much on expensive material. Tap in wholesalers for all the raw materials mentioned above. You can also visit dollar stores, discount outlets, and clearance sales to stock your inventory. Whatever you do, please do not buy more than what is required, as the trend may change within a few months and you may end up wasting money. Also, storage of raw materials can become a concern.

Location
In all probability, leasing or buying a store in a high-end area may be difficult for you. This business gives you an option of working from the confines of your home. However, you will make better business if you work from a store which will have a better customer visibility. For example, you can have a store in a commercial mall. If a long-term store is expensive, you can set a small kiosk, stall, or pop-up store. You can even have temporary stores during peak business seasons. As people will buy gifts, they will come to your store for wrapping. This way, you will earn a lot. Have a striking display to invite customer attention.

Hire and Train Employees
If you have many visitors coming in, you will need to hire at least one more person who can help customers. However, ensure that the employee has received good training and is creative at wrapping gifts. He/she should also be willing to work till late during the holiday season as that is the time when you will get maximum clients.

Know the Trends
It is essential that you keep abreast with the different types of gift wrapping trends. One of the best ways to find this is visiting websites of famous gift wrapping services. You may find that a certain kind of wrapping is trending during a holiday season. Personalize the business, and start something new which will make people flock to your store. See how you can bring about variations, and make your gift wrapping business stand out. If you have the budget and liking, you can even source some material from other countries to give them a unique look and feel. It can be anything like small figurines, bells, sparkle, bows, ribbons, etc., and ensure that the final package will be very impressive.

Pricing Policy
In the beginning, try to keep your prices slightly lower than your competitors as you would like to establish your business. Fix the prices of wrapping gifts based on the size of the gift, material used, and complexity of the wrapping. If the cost of gift wrapping a small package is turning out to be $2, add $2 as your profit and charge them $4. If you are working on holiday evenings or if it is a gift wrapping emergency, you can go ahead and charge a little extra. Also, if you are delivering the gift as well, don’t forget to add your traveling cost to it. If someone needs to put the wrapped gift in a trendy carrier bag, don’t give it for free; rather charge for it. However, if you receive bulk gift wrapping orders, you will have to reduce the cost. You can also implement a pricing strategy where they will have to make a purchase for some minimum dollars. However, you may run the risk of losing out on customers due to this. So, take your call carefully.

Business Expansion Strategy
Meet up and promote your business with corporate gift vendors, wedding planners, event managers, mall managers, etc. These are the people who have a lot of bulk gift wrapping orders. Forge strategic alliances and partnerships with these people so that you will have work throughout the year and not just during the regular gift-giving season.Apart from wrapping gifts, also offer other items like festoons, balloons, candles, small gifts, etc. All this will help in raising your profit. Have a toll-free number in place so that people can call you up for placing orders.

Go the Internet Way
First of all, have a customer-friendly website which will give wonderful photos of your gift wrappings with costs based on the size. Ensure that people will be able to place an order through this website. If you have customer testimonials about your creativity and on-time delivery, mention them on your website. Create social media pages for your business, and have regular interaction with your customers. Add various designs and tutorials to make the pages popular, engaging, and informative.

Advertise
Advertising is crucial for making people aware of your business. If you are a part of a home-based business, it becomes all the more important that you advertise to get the prospective customer’s attention. Put up signages and posters, hand out flyers, have web banners, etc., to let people know about your venture. You can also promote your business by giving free gift wrappings for a certain number. Most of the promotion for this business happens through word-of-mouth. So, ensure you have satisfied customers.

Always keep a big smile on your face, and greet your customers happily. Keep a feedback register; this way, you can know how the customers are finding your service, and you will also get hold of their contact details. You can then set a contact program before holiday season, Valentine’s Day, etc., and inform them about your new services again. Whatever you do, ensure that it is convenient for your customers and they are satisfied.

Business Administration Tips

Management is defined as the skill of coordinating all the organizational resources, be it human, financial or material, in order to achieve organizational goals. A degree in business administration equips a person to perform this management function in the best possible way. So, for all those who are contemplating a career in business management and administration, given below are some useful tips, with regards to management education, as well as the job profile that you can expect in future.

Tips on Management Education

To make a career in this field, you will need a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from a recognized college or university. The degree provides education in all the major business administration and management fields. Here’s a list of subjects that you will study in a business school:

  • Marketing
  • Financial Management
  • Accounting
  • Human Resources Management
  • Statistics
  • Economics

You will learn about basic theories and principles of management as well. If you get into a good business school, there will be guest lectures by some high-profile professionals from the corporate world, which in itself is a great learning experience.

Solving case studies, giving presentations, participating in group assignments, working part-time in a company and doing internships, are some other things you can look forward to doing at a business school. Once you pass out of the school, you will have a complete knowledge of management process in business administration. A management school will also equip you in all the required management skills, the list of which is given below:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Hiring
  • Controlling
  • Customer Relationship Management Skills
  • Leadership
  • Team Building
  • Negotiation Skills

Tips on a Manager’s Job Profile

The role of a manager in business administration, depends on the kind of organization he is in. Initially, his job may be limited to his chosen field of specialization, i.e. he might be a manager in the marketing department or in the finance department. However, as he moves from junior management to mid-career level, he will be heading one of the departments in a company and performing functions of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling, in his department.

Planning
Planning involves setting both short-term as well as long-term goals and arranging them in a logical sequence as to which one needs to be achieved first and so on. A manager needs to plan for what to do, how to do, when to do and by whom it should be done.

Organizing
This function mainly involves setting up a structure in the department or the organization. Setting responsibilities for each and every person or department, how they will correspond and work together, who will supervise whom, all fall under this management function.

Staffing
A manager needs to hire right people for any given job. So, he invites applications, interviews people and then hires them to work in the organization.

Directing
A manager motivates and leads his team so that they give their best to meet the organizational goals. A manager has to find the right balance between being sensitive to his staff needs, as well as getting the job done in time

Controlling
The manager assesses and keeps a check on the performance of his employees, so that the desired results can be achieved. There is a set “rewards and punishments” formula in every organization, which a manager follows to ensure maximum work output from his employees.

To perform the above functions, a manager needs to be creative, fair, sensitive to the needs of others, a good leader, motivator, problem-solver and a sound decision maker. When he reaches senior management, he will be required to overlook all the departments in the company. A person with a degree in business management and the required managerial skills, can become the CEO of a company.

Things You Shouldn’t Forget to Pack for a Business Trip

Who doesn’t love to pack for a vacation? Admittedly, we all do. But to portray the same enthusiasm for a business trip? Nope. Not unless someone pays us (a hefty sum) to do it.

So, we’ve got formal attire. Shoes that are black or tan. Rest assured, there’s no scope for sunscreen or flip flops. Before you get all warped up in misery, here’s what you need to pack, on a printable list, if you please.

Business Trip Packing for Women

Let’s face it―most women, being on the cautious side, don’t make it any easier when it comes to any kind of packing. Even loading a makeup bag takes a lot of thinking and truckloads of restraint from going overboard. Nevertheless, here are a few tips to keep in mind before we go on to the checklist.

  • A business trip calls for conservative dressing, even if there is an after-hours event scheduled for later. Therefore, if you value your professional image, under no circumstances should you pack anything saucy “just in case”. It just amounts to a waste of space.
  • Ensure that you carry your most comfortable and sensible pair of shoes along, especially if you suspect you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet.
  • Mix and match has to be your mantra for business trips―carry trouser suits or skirt suits in neutral shades, which can be paired with several blouses.
  • Refrain from carrying your hair salon along, as most hotels provide you with a standard hair dryer. If you absolutely must, invest in a good portable piece instead.
  • The same rule applies for cosmetics and hygiene products. You have to carry travel sets of cosmetics and perfumes so as to avoid increasing your baggage weight.
  • If traveling abroad, check the cultural norms of the country you’ll be visiting. To be on the safe side, stick to conservative dressing and pack clothes that are sleeved, with hemlines extending below the knees.

    ITEMS Qty.
    □ Formal trousers
    □ Formal skirts
    □ Blazers/Jackets
    □ Blouses
    □ Scarves
    □ Shoes
    □ Formal dresses
    □ Semi-formal dresses
    □ Tights/Stockings
    □ Innerwear
    □ Sleepwear
    □ Trench/Overcoat
    □ Toiletries and perfume

    Business Trip Packing for Men

As much as women take the rap for overpacking, their male counterparts undergo the same for underpacking. Yes, carrying that extra pair of trousers or socks will not make your baggage weight exceed the permissible limit. And yes, you can make use of them. The tips that follow are not about what you should carry, but rather about what you absolutely shouldn’t forget to pack.

  • Follow the thumb rule of carrying shirts and trousers that can be mixed and matched.
  • If traveling abroad, check the kind of acceptable attire in that region. Suits may not be necessary in some countries, owing to climatic and cultural norms. In such cases, formal shirts and trousers are acceptable.
  • Don’t forget to pack a pair of dress shoes and a classic timepiece.
  • Depending upon your schedule, you may need to carry semi-formal clothing as well.
  • Travel-sized toiletries are a must-have item in your baggage.

    ITEMS Qty.
    □ Suits
    □ Formal trousers
    □ Formal shirts
    □ Blazers/Jackets
    □ Socks
    □ Dress shoes
    □ Semi-formal shoes
    □ Innerwear
    □ Gym wear/swimming trunks
    □ Belts
    □ Ties
    □ Winter coat
    □ Sleepwear
    □ Toiletries and perfume

    Business Trip Essentials

    Irrespective of your gender, as well as the duration of your trip, there are certain essential things to bring on a business trip. Here’s a list of those. Plus, we’ve also left you some space at the bottom to add in everything else you need.

    ITEMS Qty.
    □ Business cards
    □ Notepad and pens
    □ Pen drive
    □ Camera
    □ Gadget chargers
    □ Adapter/converter
    □ Breath mints

    So you see, packing for a business trip may not exactly be a charm, but it isn’t rocket science either. Take a print, and get packing!

Things to Know Before Starting a Travel Agency Business

There are a number of travel agencies in the world today. Unlike a few years back, you can now directly book tickets at discounted rates from dedicated booking websites. The Internet has further improved the way people want to travel. Due to all these changes, today, people expect different things from a travel agency. You don’t only have to stand out among other agencies, but also serve people with a difference. Through these tips, we’ll tell you what you can do to survive without many financial blows in the first few months, how you can get noticed among all the other players, and on what idea you can sustain your reputation for a longer period of time.

Before you Begin: The Prerequisites

Decide the services you want to provide.
A travel agency provides a lot of services such as consultation, ticketing, bookings, insurances, visa procurement, etc. However, it’s perfectly alright to provide just a few at the very beginning. If you have experience of working in this industry, and have a good team to back you up, you can consider providing as many services as you want. Also, know that customers prefer getting all their work done from a single stop; it is thus better to cater to as many requirements as possible.

Make a list of things you need for all the legal procedures.
The first thing you need to do is think of a name for your agency and patent it. The next step is to register your company. Every state has its own laws; you will get a list of required documents, along with details of the procedure, through the Internet. Once your company is registered, you can open bank accounts in its name. If you are going to rent a place, get in touch with a broker. If you don’t want to pay the commission, you need to look for places yourself. Then comes the list of services you need to offer. Each of these is going to need some sort of streamlining; do it before you open up for business.

Look for competitors and conduct a study on them.
Competition can benefit you if you research it, while it can scar you if you take it for granted. Look for competitors and try to understand their business module. Make a list of services each competitor is providing and his USP. This will help you in finding your USP. It might also help you in choosing your location; preferably an area that doesn’t have a travel agency. Once you know what is being offered by other agencies, you can offer something that is different.

Spend a good deal of time and money on marketing and advertising.
Don’t hold back on advertising―it is the only way you’re going to reach out to potential customers, who are going to get you the money. Device a good marketing strategy and back it up with creative advertising. Use social media to your advantage. Don’t just share things that come to your mind, but draft campaigns that people will tend to follow. Engaging your customers through advertising should be your main aim.

Tie-up with multiple partners for more discounts.
A lot of your work is going to be done with the help of other people. Contacts in airlines, for visa formalities, and for discounted rates in hotels are very important. Start building these as soon as possible. These tie-ups will help you offer multiple discounts, which in turn will help you provide better rates. Always file everyone’s contact information. In case your usual agent for visas is sick or on a long leave, you can immediately get in touch with someone else.

Do whatever it takes to offer a cheaper, better travel experience to your customers; it’ll keep them coming. Best of Luck!