home business

Gift Baskets As a Home Business: Exhibit Your Creative Abilities With a New Career

This type of business is not for everyone, but if you are the type of person that has arranged a bouquet of flowers from your garden for a sick friend, or saw a cute basket at a sale and then filled it with lotions or a special tea mix and gave it as a gift, this business could be for you. If you are concerned about beginning your own business, inquire at your local gift shop or florist to see if they could use your services.

Who is Suited to Creating Gift Baskets

It takes an eclectic yet organized personality to be successful at assembling and selling gift baskets. To be successful, you must have a knack for choosing gifts based on certain personality types, and a second factor is making good gift choices with the occasion in mind. This ability does not come naturally to many people, so if you have been rewarded often with comments like “You always know what I like” and “This is exactly what I was looking for”, then you are a good candidate for this business. You probably already have the innate ability to ask the customer the right questions to assemble the perfect basket for them.

Gift Baskets for a Small Budget Business

A gift basket business can be operated on a small budget since the baskets do not have to be brand new. In fact, one angle to use could be that your baskets have been rescued from the landfill because they have been repurposed. Thrift stores and garage sales are overflowing with baskets, many of which were lovingly handmade by a weaving artist, which means that they are high quality.

Think Outside the Basket

While many folks think of lotions and bath salts when a gift basket is mentioned, those items don’t have to be a part of your business at all. A tea lover might like a basket of unusual teas and a vintage teacup and saucer while a button lover might enjoy a bouquet of button flowers with a jar of collectable antique buttons, and perhaps a price guide. If you like to frequent yard sales and thrift shops, this is one type of business that can take full advantage of that hobby. Be on the lookout for birthday gifts as well as sympathy and thinking of you gifts.

Good for Limited Spaces

Gift basket assembly is a business that can be started at home even if that home is a small one. Clear out a closet, install a few shelves and store your supplies there. Your personalized gifts will sell so quickly that you won’t be able to keep your shelves stocked anyway.

fruit basket

Gift Basket Home Business Start-Up: How to Start Your Own Gift Basket Business with Fruit Basket Example

A home-based business selling gift baskets is one that appeals to many people. It allows them to explore their creative side in building gift baskets that appeal to specific kinds of people, occasions, or markets, whilst also bringing joy to the recipient.

There are many things to think about, however. From the kind of products that will be put in the baskets, to the pure business side of research and accounting. It can be a daunting, but also very rewarding way to turn a hobby or interest into a home-based business.

The Gift Basket Business Checklist

The following is a checklist of things that need to be addressed when building the gift basket business plan. There might be additional items that come to mind as the checklist is addressed, but it should give a useful starting point.

  • Product – arguably the most important part, and one of the biggest decisions: make original products, or resell existing gift baskets?
  • Market – there are many ways that the gift baskets can be sold (direct, Internet, corporate, catalog, stores, etc.), and choosing the right one is vital.
  • Supplier – a list of suppliers and their prices needs to be drawn up; the kind of suppliers will change depending on whether the end product is created or brought in and resold.
  • Marketing plan – how does the business intend to get its message out to the customers?
  • Financial plan – the key question here is: how many gift baskets must be sold to cover all the costs — heat and light, mortgage, supplies, staff, and so on.

If answers to all of the above can be found, then the business start-up plan can be created and analyzed with the help of an accountant, or good business banker.

Case Study: Organic Fruit Baskets

One of the thriving sectors is supplying business gift baskets to corporate clients, and one of the most popular kinds of baskets are organic fruit baskets. Putting together an organic fruit gift basket for sale to corporate clients illustrates some key points that need to be addressed when creating baskets:

  • What kind of basket sends the right message?
  • What kind of basket will protect the fruit in transit?
  • Are there any local organic fruit suppliers?
  • Are there any local corporate clients?
  • What kind of organic fruit will satisfy the above?
  • What do corporate clients expect from the whole package (i.e. inserts, cards, wrapping, etc.)

The above process can be applied to any gift basket idea – but above all, it must be proved to be viable following the checklist!

Alternatives

Simple Google AdSense research throws up many untapped markets for gift baskets. For example, one of the highest rated buying keyword phrases is the phrase ‘gourmet coffee gift baskets’, swiftly followed by ‘gourmet chocolate gift baskets’.

Using AdSense and keyword research in this way to find new markets is a vital part of the gift basket business owner’s product planning. Even if the decision is taken to specialize in a certain market or product line, researching variations of different gift basket business ideas is what will keep the business fresh and

gift baskets

Start a Gift Basket Business: Earn Money Making and Selling Gift Baskets

When you present someone with a gift basket you’ve made, do you get a lot of oohs and ahhs? Do you have a knack for finding unique items for your basket that other people would never think of? Consider turning your talent into a business.

Getting Started

  • Find inventory. You could search for wholesalers on the internet, but you would have to buy in quantity. Until you get established, don’t go there yet. Who wants to be stuck with a whole bunch of candied yams for a Thanksgiving basket in June? Instead, look for clearance items at stores that have a long shelf life. For instance, a popular gourmet food store may have a fifty-percent-off sale on jars of gourmet pickles. You realize that would make a perfect picnic gift basket during the spring and summer. Scour over-stock sales on the internet as well as department stores and specialty shops.
  • Shop off-season. Buy Christmas items on sale in January that you can use the following November. Again, be sure those items have a long shelf life.
  • Present your products clearly. Wrap your baskets in clear cellophane instead of colored. You want to focus on what’s inside the basket.

Brain-Storm Gift Basket Themes

Sure, the traditional holiday, birthday and new-baby occasions are popular. But try to come up with original ideas that may draw customers.

  • Corporate appreciation. Say you know someone who owns a classic car business. As part of a promotion, suggest giving customers a basket filled with inexpensive car memorabilia. A pet store owner or veterinarian could give away baskets filled with pet toys and treats.
  • Non-traditional holidays. Tell bosses to remember their secretaries with personalized gift baskets. Instead of giving the identical basket to each secretary, give each person a unique basket based on his or her interests. Grandparents often don’t get the attention they deserve. A gift basket on grandparents day filled with money saving coupons would delight them!

Market Your Gift Basket Business

  • Find craft fairs in your area.
  • Create a web site and exchange links with suppliers.
  • Start a newsletter filled with recipes and tips.
  • Give baskets to as many people as possible and mention your business when those compliments start flooding in!

Finally, the Small Business Association offers free tips on writing a business plan, starting, managing and marketing your business.

honesty in business

Candor In Business Can Be A Refreshing Change: Businesses Often Lack People Willing To Speak Candidly

Too many business often lack open and honest dialogue within their own organization. The ability to speak candidly can often bring out the best in a business.

It is really amazing how hard a time people have being honest and forthright with each other. But people have a hard time saying what they really mean to other people. You could call it beating around the bush but what is really going on is that people often lack the ability to speak with candor. That is people don’t say what they really want to. In business this can be especially true and counterproductive.

An Example Of Someone Lacking Candor

Let’s give an example of someone who lacks the ability to speak with candor. You’ve just been called into a meeting with your company’s department heads. You are going to review the latest quarter’s sales figures. You know for a fact they could have been much better had a few new initiatives been implemented. Ideas that had been brought up in the previous quarter’s meeting but never pursued.

Stagnation

The meeting gets under way and as each department head goes over their results a theme emerges. Sales growth across the company has been stagnant. And one by one each manager blames the current business climate for their woes. Once they are done the boss congratulates them on being able to tough it out. Everyone leaves the meeting patting each other on the back.

Ignoring Reality

In this little example company executives are ignoring reality. If people had been willing to be more candid with each other then they would have acknowledged that the achieved results were not satisfactory. Someone would have spoken up and said “What can we do differently or better to get the results we need?” Your boss would have looked each manager in the eye and said “This isn’t cutting it.”

Conflict Is Hard To Deal With

Your meeting shouldn’t be about ripping each other apart either. What’s needed in business is open and honest dialogue. Most people hate conflict of any kind. No matter how much people seem to actually fight with one another conflict doesn’t come naturally. In business people want to avoid it but sometimes a little constructive conflict is necessary to put the wheels of progress into motion.

Asking hard Questions

You have to be able to ask yourselves hard questions. What can we do differently to stimulate growth? What employees do we have that are unproductive? Are there products that just aren’t selling? How can we get more out of our production? There are so many questions that can be asked in business. Often though people have a problem accepting the facts of a given situation.

Encourage Candor

If you want your employees to start acting in a more candid manner you need to encourage them. First off you need to practice it yourself. Then you need to reward employees that are willing to be candid too. You have to show them that it is ok to be forthright and straightforward about business. Otherwise the employees within your business or organization will only be fooling themselves about the truth. Allowing candor to prosper in your organization will be like breathing in a breath of fresh air.

It in business

IT In Business: The Quality of IT: Quality, Security and Resilience Must Not Be Compromised

Well qualified people can always be found who will work at a lower rate, but there is no substitute for experience and proven track record.

Having established the business need and researched the IT marketplace to determine the cost, the business will have an IT strategy.

The business need/benefit equation forms the basis for the plan and from this IT policies should be established and published to cover the use of all IT equipment and services from servers and software to personal computers and mobile devices.

Establish the Deliverables

It will now be necessary to exercise quality control over the package being delivered or being planned. To many this will equate to squeezing down costs to create a lean, mean service to the organisation. It is always relatively simple to find a cheaper method once a standard has been established, but great care must be exercised to ensure that economies are not taken so far as to compromise quality, security and resilience.

Best Versus Cheapest

Lower cost software and free applications often appear to be a tempting option, but consider why market leaders have bigger price tickets. Usually, the reasons come down to levels of ongoing development and quality of support.

Similarly, well qualified people can always be found who will work at a lower rate, but there is no substitute for experience and proven track record. Experience and knowledge of IT application to a particular business is often worthy of retention and loyalty also has a value.

All change must be measured against the business need/benefit equation and safety margins must be allowed for.

Quality Stems from Control

Many budding businesses allow IT to grow in an un-ordered fashion. New key people bring their own technology solutions into the organisation and these are often adopted without due consideration for the general work flow.

New software offerings come to the marketplace with low introductory prices or free trial periods to entice experimentation, but the question will always remain – How does it fit the IT strategy and the overall business plan?

Changes to the strategy must also take into account the mid and long-term support and maintenance requirement. Will a free download or low price package be adequately supported and developed over time? Will new employees, service providers and outsource solutions provide sound methodology and clear documentation to guarantee process redundancy in the event of forced un-planned change?

IT Must Serve the Business and Not the Individual

Poorly considered change in technology results in an IT function that serves individuals rather than the business as a whole. There may be a very convincing case for software that improves the efficiency of a function for a person or department, but the output must also mesh with the business as a whole.

Know What You Want

IT management for an organisation may be full time, part time or outsourced, but there must always be a clear strategy and enough policy strength to resist deviation from the plan.