Direct-Mail Service

Startup Costs: $2,000 - $10,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No

With a direct-mail coupon service, you'll sell local businesses on placing coupon ads in your publications, then mail them out to local residents. Everybody benefits, including you! With the new plethora of small businesses these days, direct-mail couponing is positioned for success. Entrepreneurs can advertise in a medium where results can be measured quickly and easily--the more coupons customers bring in, the better the campaign. And coupons generate more sales than other types of ads. People respond to ads where they have to take action, even if it's something as simple as clipping along a dotted line. The advantages to this business are legion for the extrovert. You get to talk to all kinds of people in all sorts of fields, and you do it all day long. You can feel good about helping people improve their businesses and their revenues while at the same time aiding the consumer with savings. Since you'll visit customers at their business locations, you can be homebased. To succeed in this business, you should have a sales background--or at least a sales personality. It also helps to have a background working with the printing, graphics and mailing industries. You'll outsource all of this work, but you'll need to know the basics to get the best prices and timeliest turnout.

The Market

Your customers will be community businesses. Those with mass appeal like restaurants, auto service shops and general interest retail stores will benefit best from your services, but you can also target walk-in clinics, general dentists, hair stylists, carpet-cleaning services, child-care services--get creative and make up your own list! How will you sell these people on your company? In the best tradition of the sales representative, by walking into their places of business and introducing yourself and your service.

Needed Equipment

You'll need a computer and inkjet or laser printer and the usual office software so you can invoice customers, and a fax machine so they can send last-minute changes to their ads, and you'll need a vehicle for zipping around town on your rounds. Since you'll be out-of-pocket a lot, you should also consider a cellular phone or pager so customers can reach you easily.

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