Their roots lie in the military, where during World War I, a young American pilot flying for the French had coins made with his unit’s insignia.
Since then, the 2″ coins have taken off. They’ve been used throughout military units and handed out to soldiers who did an extraordinary job.
Challenge coins are becoming more mainstream as businesses, military, and law enforcement leaders use them build camaraderie.
Now is a great time to start a custom coin business. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to start a successful one.
Lay the Foundation
You have an idea for the business. You can go out and start selling coins. The potential problem with that is that you have all of the information in your need. You don’t have a strategy, you don’t have a clear vision of the business, nor do you have any financial information laid out.
If you have a military background or interest, the first thing you should know is a strategy.
It’s critical that you lay the business foundation to make it last. This is a big reason why 20% of businesses fail in the first year.
A good place to start is with your business mission and vision. Write down what you why you’re in business, to begin with, and where you see the business in 3-5 years.
You’ll also need to do a little research about your competition. If you search for “custom coins” on Google, you’ll see that it’s a competitive marketplace.
What can you do to set your business apart from the others? Can you compete on price and still make money? Will you decide to sell a premium product at a higher price point and profit margin?
For example, ChallengeCoins4Less sets itself apart by touting its world-class design team and customer service.
Define Your Target Market
One of the most important steps is to decide who you’re selling to. There are several options for custom coins.
You can sell them to the various branches of the military, law enforcement agencies, and first responders.
Small businesses and corporations are also using coins as promotional items, or you could sell to promotional companies looking to expand their offerings.
You could decide to sell to all of them. If you do, you need to be clear in your marketing messages as to why these different audiences want one. That will require you to have different marketing messages for each audience.
Name & Brand Your Company
A big part of the foundation is the name and brand of the company. That doesn’t just mean designing the logo.
A brand is an emotional connection that people have with your company. The stronger your brand, the better your financial performance. People want a company and a brand that they can relate to.
As you’re creating your brand, it helps to identify it as a person. For example, if your brand was a person, what kind of car would it drive? Where would it shop? What magazines would it read?
These will give you additional insight into your target market too since you want your brand and target market to share these qualities.
Keep the name of your business simple. Make it easy to say, and have a name that makes it clear what you do.
Where Will You Sell Custom Challenge Coins?
How do you plan to sell your custom coins? Are you going to sell them online or will you have a retail location?
If you sell them online, will you sell them on Amazon or eBay or have your own website?
This is important to decide early because your product distribution will have a big impact on your marketing and financial plan.
You laid out most of the foundation that would go into a business plan, so this step shouldn’t be too daunting. The main part to focus on here is the financial information.
You would need to know what your start-up costs are. If you decide to sell online, you’ll have to factor in your website, domain name, and hosting costs.
Be sure to include every expense, from office supplies, the manufacturer’s costs, and the shipping costs.
Of course, don’t forget to pay yourself enough to handle your personal expenses.
With this financial information, you’ll know exactly how many coins you need to sell, and what your profit margin is.
Marketing the Business
How will you let people know about your custom coin business?
Promoting your business is going to be one of the challenging aspects, especially if you’re among the hundreds of companies already selling coins online.
Even if you decide to have a brick and mortar business, you will need to have a website.
Your website will need to be designed in a way that’s easy for customers to use. They’re going to be on your site to compare prices, find a quality product, and place an order.
Then you have to figure out how people will find your website. Search engine optimization can be a primary way to do that, but you will have to work to cut through the noise.
A blog with valuable content about custom coins will be a necessity. A blog is a great way to establish rapport with potential customers. You can show off your expertise and build trust.
You’ll also want to fill out local directory listings on places like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This way, your customers and search engines can find your information.
Start Your Custom Coin Business
Starting a custom coin business can be overwhelming. There’s so much to do and think about; it can seem like a massive mountain to climb.
When you start your business with a solid foundation, you can build your business from there. A good plan will help you start your business right, so you can anticipate challenges. Then, you can respond instead of constantly reacting.
If you want more tips to have a thriving business, check out these articles about marketing.