A home based gift basket business can be a rewarding and profitable experience, or it can suck up all of your finances, time, and energy like an evil black hole. Since you want it to be the former experience, take time to plan in the beginning. Here are four things that every owner of a home based gift basket business should think about.
The supplies that you buy can go a long way towards making or breaking you. Since you are a home based gift basket business, most of your cash flow is probably going into supplies. This is especially true when you are just starting and need to buy a hot glue gun, cellophane, shredded paper, containers, and items to put in the baskets without know how fast the merchandise will move. Start small and don't buy more than you can comfortably store and afford. It's better to grow in the future than to start too big in the beginning.
Another thing you should consider is what you want to focus on. Although you may feel like billing yourself as the gift maker for every occasion, this is not practical. You only have a limited amount of money to spend on advertising, a limited amount of time, and a limited space for all of your supplies. Focusing on one area can give you the most return for the money. In the future when you can afford a warehouse and employees (if you choose to go this route) you can broaden your base.
One thing many home based gift basket businesses do is focus on corporate clients. People such as realtors need gifts regularly, and you may want to specializing in offering customizable and personal corporate gifts. If you want to deal more with the public, you might start by focusing on the holidays such as Valentine's Day and Christmas. Or you could advertise yourself as the best maker of gifts given to the parents of newborns. Specializing on one thing does not mean that you can't make baskets for all occasions, just that you focus your energy on targeting the best customers.
Since you don't have a retail front, you'll need to be especially proactive to secure sales. Networking is very important and you can never be shy about letting people know what you do for a living. You may benefit from joining the Chamber of Commerce or a business referral group.
The internet is another way to make sales. Even if you are focusing on local sales it is good to have a website so that people can look at samples and place orders online. Having a website doesn't have to be too expensive, but you'll either have to learn to do it all yourself or hire someone that you trust.
Finally, think about how much commitment you want to put into your home based gift basket business. Do you want to stay at home, or are you hoping to move to a warehouse or retail shop in the future? Do you plan to supplement your income with your business, or are you hoping to make a full time income? There is no right or wrong answer, but these are questions that need to be answered as you write your business plan.