Sunday, May 24, 2009

Online site for professionally bound reports

There seem to be a sudden increase in online photobook printing for the many new found photography hobbyist.  Prices ranges depending on the quality of the print, from very affordable (and crappy quality) to very professionally done albums.  This convenience have attracted many people to use these services (including yours truly) as they are convenient and different.  I have even ordered a calendar of the kids portraits as gifts for family members.


Some examples of these sites are canonfoto, photobook and pixart.

Why only limit market (and limit) this service for photos?  Although we are in the so called “paperless” era, there seem to be an increase in printing on paper.  This is evident in that the increase in the number of laser printers (and inkjet printers) being sold for households and businesses.  Furthermore, just walk into any hypermarkets and witness the number of printing paper being stacked up for sale!  So, why not provide this service for the masses?  Target market would be;

Businesses:  Many businesses participate in tenders and these usually require large printed documents that have to be submitted.  Businesses tend to get a comb binder themselves and submit their tenders in that format.  Wouldn’t they want to differentiate themselves from others with better binding and better quality printing?


Funding Applications:  Very much similar to the one above, but these are normally submitted to various parties for review.  If these are professionally bound, it would probably increase the chances for success.  However, it can be in-directly marketed via the funding agencies (as a requirement).

Academic Reports:  Assuming that there are probably some bright students reading this and are probably thinking of being an entreprenuer, just think about how shabby most student reports are.  Whether for assignments or for their thesis.  We don’t need to spend a tremendous amount of money for binding them, but maybe something cheaper but still looks professional.


You can actually buy printers that does these saddle stitch for you.  Would be a service that you can provide using the photobook models (where you provide templates) and with the convenience of doing it online.  Good luck!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Advertisements on T-Shirt and Memorabilia

In the online world where the expectations of free products and/or services are common, most business models are centered around advertisement.  Google’s main revenue comes from advertisement and there are many other online advertisement companies around.  The FREE world is here and probably here to stay for sometime, even with all the naysayers that this is not a long term solution.

We have the “free” OS in Linux, the “free” greeting cards by Hallmarks, the “free” Office Productivity in, the “free” this and that.  Seldom do we see “free” physical products but that seems to be sprouting up occasionally.

In Japan, they have free photocopying services where they will sponsor the paper and the copying.  The catch is that the opposite side of the paper will be full of advertisements, much like the advertisements on the back of your supermarket receipts.

Currently, we will encounter pirated merchandises such as T-Shirts or even Hard Rock Cafe badges from various parts of the world.  These seems to be very popular among tourist.


The business idea is simple.  Why not start an advertisement business that prints the advertisement onto items such as T-Shirts.  This can be setup quite cheaply initially to gauge the market acceptance and also to minimize investment initially.  All you need is an online presence where they can submit their logo and requirement.  You can then start by printing them on those iron-on labels for T-Shirts and start producing them.

The issue here is that they probably won’t see the marketing returns by sponsoring the whole T-Shirt, but you just need to gauge fees that you can charge, don’t worry about the margins.  After that, work with the T-Shirt retailers and sell them at cost.  Your profit will be from the advertisers and not from the T-Shirt customers, who will basically just cover your T-Shirt cost.


In short, instead of selling pirated T-Shirts, these T-Shirt retailers can sell genuine product without paying royalties whilst the brands can advertise cheaply.  Of course, the known brands would be particular with the type of materials and would probably look at their merchandise as a revenue channel.  However, for others, it maybe a good brand visibility channel, think of consumer brands like Persil.