5 Steps to Starting a Ribbon Printing Business

5 Steps to Starting a Ribbon Printing Business

May 07, 2019

What would it be like to start your own business?

Whether it’s part time for extra cash or full time to replace your 9 to 5, I’m here to tell you it’s achievable.

We’ve seen many of our customers build an entire business around the use of the ribbon printer. Either they print ribbon for others, and/or they customize products they make or sell with personalized messages, logos or photos.

Let me introduce you to a couple of them.

Betsy lives in southern California. She once worked for Wells Fargo. After she had her son, she wanted extra income so she started printing ribbon and selling it on Etsy. Soon it got tough to fit it all in. She was at her job during the day, spent time with her son after work, and printed ribbon and fulfilled orders at night.

But guess what? The business grew and grew! Within two years she was able to quit her job and stay home with her son. Income from her ribbon printing business has replaced her full time job. Now she has quality time with her family. She works on her business while her son is in school or after he goes to bed. She’s able to attend class field trips, baseball games, and be around for play dates. What a great lifestyle she has created. Betsy is making money and is also around to be with her son as he grows up. They may even have another child. Who knows!

Then there’s Lana. She is now retired but loves business and has several things going on at once. One of them is custom ribbon printing. She makes and sells mascot animals at cheerleading competitions. The animals are personalized with the name of their cheer team and each girl’s name.

Lana makes a full year’s salary in about four months. I interviewed her on my podcast, Gift Biz Unwrapped. You can listen to her full story right here. Just click on her photo and it will link you right over.

So how does it work? How do you start up something like this for yourself?


Let’s talk about the FIRST 5 STEPS you should take if you want to start a business. These will apply specifically to starting a business using a ribbon printer yet many of the steps are transferable to any business.


This may sound obvious but it is a step so often missed. Before you do anything, it’s important to know where you’re trying to go. If you could have your dream business, what does it look like?

Let your imagination soar. Do you want a retail shop? A home based side business for extra income? Do you want employees? What about being “location independent” meaning you could work from Starbucks, your porch or the beach?

Clarity of what your company will look like is an important step toward it becoming a reality. Write it down somewhere … or enter it into a notes app on your phone. Keep it somewhere so you can refer back to it later.


After you’ve defined the vision for your company, you should have a feel for the product you will sell. That leads into deciding who your target market is. In other words, this is your ideal customer or avatar.

When you think of your ideal customer first consider basic demographics such as age, income, education level, and geographical area. Then go deeper. Think of their lifestyle trends. What are their hobbies? What movies do they watch? TV shows? Where do they like to go to eat?

Write this down too in the same place as your company vision.

The information you’ve created in these first two steps will be used later when you start spreading the word about your new business. For now, set it aside. There is still foundational work to do.


This is where the concrete work begins. Now you want to decide on a name for your business and the legal structure of your company.

Let’s start with the name. As you brainstorm different options, check that nobody else has claim to the name. You can find out more about choosing a name in the US through these links.

https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/choose-register-your-business/choose-your-business-name and


Make sure that the domain name for your website is available. Also check major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It’s best if you can get the pure name without any hyphens, dashes or underline symbols.

On the legal end, I strongly encourage you to create a formal company. If you are collecting money, many states require that you charge sales tax and all require that you report income. These are areas that the casual hobby business owner might gloss over. If that’s you, then there’s no need to read any further. What I’m covering here is how to build a true professional business - large or small.

There are different structures to consider for a business including being a Sole Proprietor, an LLC or a Corporation. It’s best to work with someone locally who can advise you of what is best for your particular situation.


Companies can be built with various levels of investment. I specifically use the word “investment” because it’s just that. You are spending money with the plan of creating a continual source of additional income.

But you still need those initial dollars. Where are they going to come from?

Perhaps you have set money aside that you can use, or you plan to get a loan. Either way, think through your options.

Please do not, I repeat DO NOT, overstretch and spend more than you are comfortable with. If funds are tight, start setting money aside as you can and complete the first three steps.

Once you are ready to move forward it’s important that you can focus on the business in a strategic way. Not with a major financial burden that pulls your focus away and makes you desperate for those first sales. That’s no way to start a business.


Here comes the fun part! Now that you have a vision for your company and your customers, you’ve legally set up your business, and you’ve identified how you’ll finance startup, it’s time to get to the ribbon printing part. That means purchasing the equipment.

To see the printer in action and get ideas of what you can do in your business, take a look at the video, 101+ Ideas for Using Your Ribbon Printer. It covers a wide range of options to really get you thinking.


So there you have it. The first five steps to starting a ribbon printing business. It gets you to the point of establishing your company.

Next comes actually opening up for business. If you are interested in where to go from here consider this Customization Sells! E-book. 

And good luck with your new venture!

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