Thinking about starting a Christmas business?

Thinking about starting a Christmas business?

A lot of people dream of running their own business. If you’re really into the season, it seems a natural to work in an area you love and know a lot about.

First, let me splash a little cold water on you. It’s easy to make money during the Christmas season, which is usually October through December. It’s those other nine months of the year when selling most anything Christmas related is pretty darn hard.

An easy way to get into the Christmas business is to extend an existing business that normally slows down in the Fall and Winter. Landscaping companies are a prime example of how to get into Christmas decorating. They have a workforce that starts to go into hibernation about the same time people want to have their houses decorated with Christmas lights. Many landscaping companies end up working solid through mid-January. I’ll admit, getting workers motivated to take down Christmas decorations when everyone else is warm and cozy in front of the fireplace is a bit of a challenge, but there’s good money to be made. There are several franchise opportunities available to get you started in these season extending business.

Many people dream of starting a virtual storefront on the Internet. It certainly is easy these days. Think this through carefully, though. Building the store is easy compared to stocking it with products people will buy and then having the back office operation to fulfill and ship the merchandise. When most people are enjoying the magic of the Christmas season, you’ll be working non-stop shipping orders.

Another option is to design and build unique Christmas products that only you sell. Whether it’s an ornament shaped like Swiss cheese or some sort of electronic device to make your Christmas tree explode on command, there is significant opportunity to make some good money during the Christmas season.

But, I’ll stress again, making money selling Christmas stuff during the non-Christmas season is a tough way to make a living. Many companies stockpile most of their Christmas profits so they can make the payroll during the slow months.

Where do you start? You can go to the store and buy the obligatory “How To Start A Business” book in the business section. There are probably a hundred choices. What you’ll find is a lot of broad advice but almost no specifics about what you have in mind. How do I know? I’ve read all those books. Word to the wise: skip buying a book and use some common sense.

I’ve found it best to dream up an idea, start shaping it on paper by filling in some details and then bounce it off someone you trust. They’ll ask questions you’ve never considered. Bad ideas can be shot down quickly. Good ideas can withstand the questions people initially have. They certainly won’t have the passion that you do, but if they can grasp your concept and think it has potential, you’re on to something.

It’s time to start bringing together a business plan. You can get very formal with this and even buy software to make it look like a masterpiece worthy of the Library of Congress. Don’t get carried away. Write yourself a story about how you would run the business. Describe the product(s) you’re going to sell and the type of company or person that will buy it. This will lead you down the path of how the product should be marketed. Once you feel comfortable people will buy what you have to offer, take a step back and figure out how much it will take to manufacture, stock, sell, ship and support the product. Believe it or not, you’re slowly pulling together a business plan without needing to buy a book. Keep beating away at it and then figure out how much money it will take to get things going. Remember to pay yourself a salary so you can keep a roof over your family while the business is getting started. Finally, whatever amount of money you think you’ll need to get going… double it. No matter how detailed your plan might be, there will be unexpected expenses.

Owning your own business and being in total control of your destiny gives you a real sense of satisfaction. It’s not easy, in fact you’ll end up working harder than you ever thought possible.

Now what? Starting a business is such a broad subject, this one page on the PlanetChristmas website doesn’t even scratch the surface of possibilities. But you have at least one option.

Don’t forget PlanetChristmas is here to help. If you need a sounding board to listen to a business idea swirling about in your head, we’re here. If it’s a really good idea, we have contacts throughout the industry and take great pride in arranging “strategic” meetings and creating win-win situations. Send PlanetChristmas an email or give us a call at 615-301-1671. Nothing pleases PlanetChristmas more than watching a new business blossom and become successful, especially in the Christmas market.

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