I've just bought a whole company, for the first time...

13 replies
Hello all,

I was just wondering if anyone would care to give me their opinions on what they'd do in this situation.

I've had a bit of a touch.

I was able to purchase, at a very low price a company that sells envelopes of every possible description. The owner has gotten into financial troubles, he had 2k a month going out on 2 staff, 2k a month going out on business premises, 2k on adwords and another 3k on other crap that's just not needed. I have a friend who has a large web design firm outside London on the coast and we both agreed to take it on. Now we haven't taken on the old company, all we've done is bought all the stock and the website and.....an 8000 people mailing list of customers who have purchased in the last 24 months. My business partner already has a warehouse with a guy in it who runs an ex rental DVD company and the envelope firm will go in here and this guy will take orders over the phone and from the website (it's all online from the site, no offline marketing), pack the items and send them. For the term "envelopes", not in phrased but in broad, for the UK (as this is only where we ship to as of now) we are in 3rd place (Samurai has that at 1249 searches a day for #1 position) and even though the adwords campaign has been stopped we have got over £3000 of orders in the last 3 days. Our outgoings are currently estimated, and this is with 50% added on for good measure, at £500 per month.

It's all rather good. We're designing a whole new website and generally want to take this to another level, which brings me to the question...What would you do if you were in this situation? The list has got to be a great asset but what would you do? What would you add to the new site? I'm not asking for favours I'm just interested in what some of you fellow (More advanced than me) warriors would do. I'll show you the old site we have now, I'm not keen on it and don't want it critiqued as it's being remade totally as it is.

This is also not blatant self promotion as we don't ship to the US or outside Britain and for anyone in the UK I can happily point you to some of the suppliers passed onto us who can get you a better deal anyway. I've not done this before and would be grateful for any extra advice I can get.

Any advice is very much appreciated and thankyou.

The site is www.rainbowenvelopes.co.uk
#bought #company #i’ve #i’ve #time
  • Profile picture of the author ncmedia
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    • Profile picture of the author SantiSantana
      You need to know what your customers use your product for. That way you will know how to add value to them. A business buying your envelopes for internal mailing will have different needs to an ebayer selling physical reports on whatever. If you know what they use it for you will know which upsells/cross-sells will help them the most.

      Notice I´m not mentioning your profit margins but your customer satisfaction. If you get them more than they are looking for the profits will follow.

      If among the envelope types you sell you have randed ones you can branch out to pretty much all the branded supplies that business has. You want to turn your products into solutions.

      Writer for hire

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  • Profile picture of the author mmcqueen

    Good luck with your venture. Why not offer customized promotional stuff like pens, letterheads and such that you could offer your customers. You could find a drop shipping company that would fill the orders for you. Just a thought.

    Again, good luck,

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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Thanks ncmedia,

      Re."It sounds like it's going to be a bit messy with your partner doing all the fulfillment" Actually it should be pretty straight forward, he has a guy thats already in warehouse. We only get 3-5 orders a day but they're always in bulk. At least we have warehouse and staff already set up. All the same I very much appreciate your comments and some of your ideas are very good indeed.

      mmcqueen, thankyou too sire. Yes we have thought of this we got a domain that brands Rainbow so we can branch out. We've also thought about franchiseing it too. Dropshippings a great idea, we need that for the really big orders and it cuts out the postal prices too.

      Again both of you thank you very much for your ideas, it's invaluable to me.

      Wibble, bark, my old man's a mushroom etc...

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  • Profile picture of the author Gary King
    Congrats Richard.

    What's the USP for the line of business?

    Why buy from you?

    I'm not being a jerk, it's a legit question about how your potential customers will respond. I see you have different colors, sizes and wrappings. Do you have a corner on the market or are these really a commodity?

    You can make money off of commodities, it just takes a different approach.

    I look forward to your thoughts.


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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Originally Posted by Gary King View Post

      Congrats Richard.

      What's the USP for the line of business?

      Why buy from you?

      I'm not being a jerk, it's a legit question about how your potential customers will respond. I see you have different colors, sizes and wrappings. Do you have a corner on the market or are these really a commodity?

      You can make money off of commodities, it just takes a different approach.

      I look forward to your thoughts.

      Thanks Gary,

      You're right these are all the angles we need to look at. From talking to the previous owners certain envelopes sold very well at certain times such as Christmas, weddings, Halloween (We've been selling lots of orange and black cards this week) We don't really have a USP with this current version other than we can get the envelopes there the next day and we do sell a lot of envelopes not available widely in shops here, especially as some of the envelopes we sell have had to be sourced from abroad. We want to create lots of niche specific micro sites to target the rarer and seasonal envelopes where the competiton is far lower than say "envelopes". The main thing is between two people it's a total investment of £500. We recouped that 6 fold so far this week and we haven't done anything except setting up the new company, bank account and relocating stock. I'm pretty sure the mailing list will reap some rewards when it's actually marketed too as well.

      Seriously though, I'd forgotten about the old USP. Time for a brain storm, feel free to pick your own brain on that one too Gary! And you dogscout, though that has a ring to it.


      Wibble, bark, my old man's a mushroom etc...

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  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    "Rainbow Envelopes... Because the Postal Department just seems to like them better!"
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Hatfield

    Here is a simple suggestion.

    Once you determine which envelope is your best selling that a majority of your customers purchase, then highlight it on your home page and dedicate more space to it, and display it higher up on the page.

    Should see an immediate boost in sales by showcasing your best sellers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary King
    OK, so AWESOME, you've already made your money back! Very cool.

    So one unique thing is that you have product that's not typically available in stores - that's great.

    I would take a look at what Vista Print (for example) is doing.

    Here's their envelope page (direct link, no affiliation)

    Also look at paper direct (again, no affiliation although I have in the past purchased from them)
    Invitation, Brochure, Certificate & Postcard Paper

    Perhaps it's different styles like that vs just solid colors (if printing is an option).

    One thing my wife loves to do is use cellophane tape to decorate the envelope - she has rolls of tape that are printed with birthday party stuff for example - hats, balloons, presents... she peels off strips of that and sticks it to the envelope and birthday card - perhaps a complimentary product - perhaps you could print them.

    If you start to get into customizing things online like vista print, PM me. I have some insight for you.

    Hope it helps!


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  • Profile picture of the author patadeperro
    Ok, this is that I would do:

    1.- You have a list of clients for the envelope company and you have a friend with a website company, so I would do cross promotions.

    2.- To the clients on the website company I would send an email telling them that one of the most powerful (but often overlook) ways to get clients is with a direct marketing campaigns (on your email you go and explain the benefits of it) and explain them that you are going to make a special discount on them if they buy it know (the envelops of course).

    3.- On the other side you explain to the clients database the envelope company has the benefit of having a lead generation website, telling them that if they combine their offline campaigns with their websites they can get tons of leads and create a follow up system and give them a special price if they act know.

    Pum PROFIT!!!!! with no investment involved!!!!!!

    Hope it helps
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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    ONE: invest in a good book on Remote Direct Response (See Copywriter's Forum for a list of good books)

    TWO: Don't let another day go by without contacting this list. Start from the most recent buyers, see which ones buy frequently and there is YOUR gold.

    THREE: Find someone to create a sales letter for you and start sending to your list of buyers.

    With a list of 8,000 BUYERS in the last year, you need to milk it, serve it, reward it, and build from it. It is (in my opinion) the most valuable asset you acquired, IF, you treat it with respect and one way to show respect is to stay in CONTACT with your buyers, then it will serve your investment and time for many years to come.

    All the other stuff appears like a lot of busy work. HOW hard is it to contact satisfied customers and get reorders and REFERRALS?


    PS. Selling envelopes via email when you can put a sample in their hands by direct mail???? Aren't you in the envelope business? SHOW em what you got.

    Originally Posted by Richard Van View Post

    .....an 8000 people mailing list of customers who have purchased in the last 24 months.

    The site is www.rainbowenvelopes.co.uk
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Terry, Thanks, thats the idea really, we've picked up tonnes of stock but naturally some will sell a alot better than others so we'll be focusing on the top sellers, greta suggestion.

      Gary as always EXCELLENT suggestions, hadn't thought of the tape bit at all. Brilliant. That deserves 2 thanks I reckon!

      Patadeperro, thanks for the suggestions the web designer is my business partner and I've been making money in IM for 5 years now. Thats a good angle to look at though.

      gjabiz. Thanks very much. We do want to do an offline campaign and the thing that excited me more than anything was the list. I have several lists but only one over 8,000. None of those lists are all people that have bought though. This could be the best list.

      Too you all, Thankyou, great suggestions.

      Wibble, bark, my old man's a mushroom etc...

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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Hi Richard,

      Looks like a sweet deal, congrats.

      I take it from your post that your company is the middleman (i.e. not a manufacturer), so my advice would be to try to lock up your supply chain as best you can.

      As the office supplies business switches more towards online sales, many manufacturers are going to try their hand at direct marketing and would be able to beat most existing retail prices. I'd try to negotiate some longer-term contracts with exclusive deals where appropriate.

      By the same token, I'd also consider a range of custom-made or personalised stationery for your larger customers - that would give them a compelling reason to stay loyal and not start looking elsewhere.

      Good luck!

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      • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
        I'd just like to say a very big thanks to everyone who's given me their suggestions. It really has been greatly appreciated. I'd also like to thank all the very kind people that have PM'd me offering their help and guidance.

        I have some great suggestions to work on and lots of things I hadn't thought of. I'll keep you all posted on how things go. Now all I have to do is shift about 5 van loads of envelopes to the seaside but then it doesn't hurt to step away from the computer for one day.

        Thanks again.

        Wibble, bark, my old man's a mushroom etc...

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