Do you want to start a monogram company? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a monogram business with NO money and no experience. The monogramming business involves the artistic designing of gift items by cresting 2 or more alphabetic letters on a gift item. The gift item could be cups, Tee Shirt, Towel, Bags, Wedding Invites, Caps, Jackets et al. Simply put, monograms are embroidered emblems on any of the gift items listed above.
Although a small scale monogramming company can be operated from home, especially if it is being managed by an individual, but it pays to operate from an office/production facility. The truth is that you would need an office space to be able to run this type of business if indeed you want to work for corporate organizations and even government agencies.
Just ensure that you secure an office/production facility decent enough to host the caliber of clients you will be dealing with. An office/production facility in the business district of your city or the printing hub of your city might just be ideal for you – but all the same, you don’t need to go beyond your means to get a very expensive office space/production facility. It is advisable to start your business small and then grow it big.
Before launching this type of business, it will pay you to carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your monogramming company, it will not take you long before you break even and start smiling to the bank.
So, if you have the desire to start your own monogramming company, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped.
17 Steps Starting a Monogram Company
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
Monogramming companies basically engrave designs, numbers or text on a broad range of surfaces (e.g. plaques, jerseys, trophies, invitations, firearms, electronics, laptops, industrial ID tags et al) for consumers and businesses. Their services include laser engraving, reverse engraving and other engraving techniques that is applicable to the materials they want to work with.
The Engraving Services industry that the monogramming business is a part of experienced robust growth recently. In the united states, per capita disposable income increased steadily in the last five years, many thanks to increase in employment.
The truth is that, as disposable income increased, consumers have been more willing to increase spending on discretionary services in order to customize the products they have purchased or gifts they want to give out. Going forward, revenue is expected to continue to increase. Manufacturing output will continue to increase, which will inspire demand from consumer product and material processing companies.
The Engraving Services industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much active in all the parts of the world. Statistics has it that In the united states of America alone, there are about 3,716 registered engraving services cum monogramming companies responsible for employing about 10,706 people, and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $2bn annually. No company can boast of having a lion share of the available market in the industry. The industry is open to fair competition.
A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that the Engraving Services industry exhibits low entry barrier. The report shows that the industry is highly fragmented due to being comprised of small engraving companies that cater to a market niche of consumers, such as consumers that want to personalize their items with monograms.
As a result, new industry entrants face low barriers to entry due to being able to cater to demand from a plethora of markets, such as medical device manufacturers that require engravings such as bar codes and product serial numbers.
According to Epilog Laser, the capital outlay required to enter the Engraving Services industry is low, with new companies only requiring about $8,000 in capital expenditures. Basically, engraving service cum monogramming companies only require a laser, computer and graphic software.
The engraving services industry cum monogramming services business will continue to blossom because more and more individuals, businesses and corporate organizations are beginning to realize that somehow, they would need the services of the monogramming industry to help them customize their possessions and gift items (souvenirs). From all available statistics, it is safe to say that the industry is growing steadily despite its competitive nature.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own monogramming company could be that the business is easy to set up and the start-up capital is indeed affordable; you can actually start your own monogramming business from the comfort of your house.
All you need to do is to create an office somewhere in your house. If you get a monogramming contract and you don’t have the capacity to carry out the engraving in your house, you can contract it out to a standard monogramming company and you will still make some profit.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of a monogramming services company is not restricted to individuals and those who are into the sale of jerseys and souvenirs, but also extend to corporate organizations, businesses, religious organizations, government agencies, political parties, NGOs and event organizers.
So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your monogramming company, then you should make it all encompassing. It should include Construction Companies, Property Development Companies, Home Owners, Corporate Organizations, Realtors —for their clients’ homes, Home Improvement Companies, Commercial builders of office and home complexes, Furniture stores, Real Estate Owners, Developers, and Contractors, Government (Public Sector), Hotels, Religious Organizations (Church hall and other places of worship) and Television Stations (studios and offices) amongst others.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Most monogramming cum engraving companies tend to offer all the services that are available in the engraving services industry or every business activity or services that a standard monogramming services company is expected to offer, that is why it seem that there are no niche areas in the industry.
On the other hand, some monogramming service companies may decide to specialize in one of the under listed service areas as it relates to the engraving services industry;
- Electronic metal engraving services, excluding metal name plates
- Etching and engraving metal name plates
- Etching and engraving nonprecious metal hollow/flatware/cutlery and precious metals
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Surviving in the business world as an engraving cum monogramming company requires more than your expertise and knowing how to conduct your business, but also how to network with key people that matter; decision makers that can decide who will get an engraving cum monogramming contract or a business deal.
The level of competition in the engraving cum monogramming industry to some extent depends on the location of the business and of course the area of specialization. If you can successfully create a unique concept for your monogramming business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only monogramming company that specializes in etching and engraving nonprecious metal hollow/flatware/cutlery and precious metals in your location, you are sure of monopolizing that aspect of the business and your competitors can even sub-contract jobs to you to help them deliver.
But over and above, there are several engraving cum monogramming companies scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own monogramming company in the United States, you will definitely meet stiffer competitions amongst engraving and monogramming companies in the United States. Besides, there are larger engravings and monogramming companies that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for clients.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long while and so are known for that, while others are best known for how they treat their customers.
These are some of the leading engraving and monogramming companies/brands in the United States of America and in the globe;
- All American Embroidery
- Little Notions
- Mark and Graham
- Crystal Classics
- Knoxville Monogramming, Embroidery, Engraving & Personalized Services
- Pottery Barn
- SRI Monogramming & Screen Printing | Services
- Newing-Hall Engravers
- Inspirations – Engraving – Waterford®
- Tiffany & Co.
- Laser Engraving LLC
- Advanced Graphic Engraving, LLC
- SRI Monogramming & Screen Printing | Services
- Swiss Knife Shop
The engraving and monogramming business is not a Green business; as a matter of fact, you will come across several engraving and monogramming service companies when you go sourcing for a place to engrave stuffs on your items. So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required equipment needed to successfully run the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting an engraving and monogramming company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a facility and equipping the facility but also on branding and on how to build a robust business network. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust business network, you are sure going to maximize profit in the business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are looking towards starting an engraving and monogramming services company, you would have to start from the very scratch simple because you can hardly get a franchise of an engraving and monogramming business to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.
Besides starting an engraving and monogramming services company from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small scale businesses which usually requires detailed groundwork before launching the business. With the engraving and monogramming services business, you should just try as much as possible to secure an office cum production facility that is close to a major road and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet when it comes to marketing your services.
Please note that most of the big and successful engraving and monogramming service companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own engraving and monogramming services company brand to become a successful brand with corporate and individual customers from all across the length and breadth of the United States of America and other countries of the world.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own engraving and monogramming services business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established engraving and monogramming service companies who are offering same services that you intend offering.
The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market and concentrate on start-ups and individuals in your community who can’t afford the high-end fees charge by well-established engraving and monogramming service companies.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn. If the economy is in a bad shape, businesses such as engraving and monogram service companies and the likes usually struggle to maintain their old clients or even win new clients.
Also, unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your engraving and monogramming Services Company. There is nothing you can do as regard these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When considering starting an engraving and monogramming services business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some engraving and monogramming services business design their business and services for regional market, some for national market, while others for international market.
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability Company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as engraving and monogramming services business company. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale engraving and monogramming services business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital.
But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons. As a matter of fact, if your intentions is to grow the business and have clients across the United States of America and other countries of the world and also sell franchise, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
For example, Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own engraving and monogramming services company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Gabriel & Gabrielle House of Engraving™, Inc
- Lead Way Monogramming Company
- James and Jane Monogramming, Inc.
- Rainbow Engraving and Monogramming Company
- Hilary Jenkins & Associates Interior Design Group
- Copious International Monogramming Company
- Bonnard Erickson and Sons Monogramming Ltd.
- Zoe Lindsay Monogramming Company
- The Edge Monogramming Company
- Yodel Couture Monogramming, Ltd.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your engraving and monogramming Services Company.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own engraving and monogramming services company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own engraving and monogramming services company, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to the engraving, embroidery and monogramming services business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to start engraving, embroidery and monogramming services business. All you need is informal training that will give you the needed skills coupled with your own inbuilt artistic talents.
On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your engraving, embroidery and monogramming services business, then by all mean try and pursue such certification.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long arm of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own engraving and monogramming services company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting an engraving and monogramming services company can be cost effective especially if you choose to run the business from your home, share office space with a friend or make use of a virtual office. Securing a standard office/production facility and engraving and monogramming equipment and supplies are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start-up capital, but if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not have the need to go source for fund to finance the business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things and perhaps the major factor that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start-up capital for your engraving and monogramming services company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your engraving and monogramming Services Company, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for such services. If you are able to secure a central location for your engraving and monogramming Services Company, it will give people easy access to locate your facility.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your engraving and monogramming services company is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consist of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your engraving and monogramming Services Company in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential clients.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your engraving and monogramming services company;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for monogramming and engraving services in the location
- The purchasing power of the residence of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of engraving and monogramming service companies in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When it comes to technicality, basically, engraving and monogramming service companies only require a laser, computer and graphic software and social media management software applications. So also, you will definitely need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst other and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing an office space, the size of the engraving and monogramming Services Company you want to build and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard engraving and monogramming services company, then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office; when you lease, you will be able to work with long term planning, structuring and expansion.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to employ to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. On the average, you would need a Chief Executive Officer or President (you can occupy this role), an Admin and Human Resource Manager, Creative Director, Accountant, Machine Operators, Business Development Executive/marketing Executive, Customer Service Officer or Front Desk Officer.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 7 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard engraving and monogramming services company. Please note that there will be times when you are expected to go out of your way to hire experts to help you handle some high profile jobs.
If you are just starting out you may not have the financial capacity or required business structure to retain all the professionals that are expected to work with you which is why you should make plans to partner with large scale and well equipped engraving and monogramming service companies.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
On the average, the way engraving and monogramming service companies work vary from one company to another, but ideally, an engraving and monogramming Services Company is expected to first and foremost build a robust company profile before biding for engraving and monogramming contracts from top clients/corporate organizations; this will give them edge amongst their competitors.
The service process involved in the engraving cum monogramming services industry depends on the niches or the services the interior design company offers. On the average, the process starts with biding or submitting proposal for an engraving and monogramming contract, once the contract is won, then it is expected for all the contract documents to be signed and advance payment made as required.
Once the payment has been sorted out, the next step is for the engraving and monogramming services company to transport the items that are to be engraved to their production facility and get all the equipment and supplies required to execute the job.
If the project is completed as required, the items are shipped/transported back to the clients and all outstanding payments are paid as agreed once the job is certified ok by the client.
Please note that if it is an individual or small business owner that wants his or her items to be monogrammed or engraved, the above stated business process will not be followed. They are expected to bring their items to the production facility, bargain, make payment as agreed and then take back their jobs once it is completed.
Lastly, it is important to state that an engraving and monogramming services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated engraving and monogramming services business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
As an engraving and monogramming Services Company, you would have to prove your worth over and over again before you can be awarded any engraving and monogramming contract from high profile clients and corporate organizations. So, if you have plans to start your own engraving and monogramming services company, it will pay you to build first build a successful career in the engraving cum monogramming services industry.
People and organizations will hire your services to help them handle all their engraving and monogramming jobs if they know that they are going to get value for their money.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your engraving and monogramming services company, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile and a rich catalogue of your previous job.
Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to engraving and monogramming services and the organizations you have worked for. This will help boost your chances in the market place when sourcing for monogramming and engraving services jobs/contracts et al.
Please note that in most cases, when you bid for engraving and monogramming contracts from organizations, you will be called upon to defend your proposal, and so you must be pretty good with presentations.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your engraving and monogramming services;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure/catalogue to all the Construction Companies, Property Development Companies, Home Owners, Corporate Organizations, Realtors —for their clients’ homes, Home Improvement Companies, Commercial builders of office and home complexes, Furniture stores, Real Estate Owners, Developers, and Contractors, Government (Public Sector), Hotels, Religious Organizations (Church hall and other places of worship) and Television Stations (studios and offices) amongst others in your area of operation.
- Promptness in bidding for engraving and monogramming contracts
- Advertise your business in relevant business magazines, radio stations and TV stations (make yourself available for monogramming and engraving related talk shows and interactive sessions on TV and Radios)
- List your business on local directories/yellow pages
- Attend expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people would consider you an expert in the field)
- Join local chambers of commerce around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes year in and year out to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.
If your intention of starting an engraving and monogramming services company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to the target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a business that is profitable.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your engraving and monogramming services company;
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your business
- Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Contact Construction Companies, Property Development Companies, Home Owners, Corporate Organizations, Realtors —for their clients’ homes, Home Improvement Companies, Commercial builders of office and home complexes, Furniture stores, Real Estate Owners, Developers, and Contractors, Government (Public Sector), Hotels, Religious Organizations (Church hall and other places of worship) and Television Stations (studios and offices) amongst others in your target areas by calling them up and informing them of your engraving and monogramming services company and the services you offer
- List your engraving and monogramming services company in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your engraving and monogramming services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks are well branded with your company logo et al.