Starting a Business

Should I Start a Coupon Biz?

How the web is affecting local coupon businesses.
2 min read

This story appears in the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q:I am interested in producing targeted coupon books for my community. Do you have any further research on this topic?

A: The web is affecting the local coupon business in several ways. First, it can help you distribute your coupon books. Someone entering a city name and the word "coupon" into a search engine will immediately find the available sources of coupons in that community. Searching the web can also help you check out existing coupon publishers in your community. But even if no one appears to be offering coupons in your area, double-check with your local chamber of commerce and prospective customers, including accountants, chiropractors, cleaning services, printers and web designers.

The web is also providing new competition to advertising coupons printed in booklets, fliers, newsletters and magazines. Some local websites offer downloadable coupons, which attract the businesses and consumers you want for your printed coupon book.

If you're interested in pursuing the coupon publishing business, franchises are available, but this is a business you can start without a franchise. However, you will need the help of someone with desktop publishing skills to produce a book. If you can sell the space for the first issue of your coupon publication, you're well on your way. To do this, you have to guarantee delivery to an agreed--on number of targeted customers. If an advertiser gets even a minimal return on their ad, chances are the advertiser will buy several more times, since one of the advantages of coupon advertising is that it generally costs less than other forms of advertising.

If you live in a larger city, it's a good idea to organize your coupon booklet around a specific niche, such as wedding services (florist, caterer, bridal boutique, wedding makeup, etc.) or new parents (diaper service, day-care center, parenting class, children's clothing store, etc.).

Still interested? You can learn more about the printed coupon business at

Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards' latest book is a new edition of Making Money With Your Computer at Home. Send them your questions at www.workingfromhome.comor in care of Entrepreneur.

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