Starting a small business is exciting, but it can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. If you want to begin a balloon business, the right preparations can set you up for success. 

With plenty of people needing decorative balloon arrangements for parties, you can turn your talents into profit. But if you wonder how to start a balloon business and are unsure where to begin, you came to the right place. 

This guide will cover how to start a balloon business, including:   

  • Planning for your business
  • Setting up your business
  • Organising your business 
  • Marketing your business to draw in clients

Planning for your balloon business

Knowing how to start a balloon business means you’ll need to know about the industry and create a plan to pursue your business with purpose. A strong plan should cover a few key things. 

Market research 

The first step to starting any small business is conducting market research to know the industry setting you plan to enter.  While you research, outline a customer profile, market trends, and analyse data to understand the demand. 

For a balloon business, you’ll likely target people holding large events or parties. So, look to similar businesses to see who they sell to and how they price their products. Understanding competitors will help you set your business up to stand out. 

Business focus 

Next, consider what kind of business you want to build. Specialising in your balloon business will help you draw in customers and show why they should choose you over other options. 

Your business focus will go hand in hand with your target audience. For example, you could pursue a private or corporate market. Then, maybe you want to create balloon designs for adult events or children’s parties. 

Whichever audience you choose to focus on may alter which services you offer. For example, if you pursue an adult audience, you may create beautiful balloon archways using mature colours. Meanwhile, a balloon business that focuses on kids birthday parties might create animal art or themed instalments using brighter colours. 

Balloon design skills 

Starting a balloon business also requires specific skills. To start, you’ll need to know inflation techniques and use a helium tank. But, balloon design skills are also essential, including an eye for colour and appealing arrangements. Beyond that, can you turn a pile of balloons into art? Or do you know how to use structural supplies to shape and structure balloons in a professional manner? 

To grow these skills, research balloon arrangements to get an idea of what’s popular. Then, you may want to find training for this type of design. There are some useful courses you could invest in, such as the National Balloon and Party Professional Association (NABAS) or the New Skills Academy courses.  

Equipment and suppliers 

Getting the necessary equipment is the next step to preparing for your balloon business. To start, you’ll likely need an air pump, helium pump, ribbon, and any necessary arrangement tools. Of course, you’ll also need the balloons. 

Finding the right balloon supplier is essential in creating your finished products. You may want to order your balloons as needed for the first few jobs rather than stocking up. You can find plenty of balloon supplies on Amazon, but if you want to save on supply costs, you may want to seek a more affordable or wholesale supplier. 

Some wholesale suppliers to look into include BOC, Balloon Market, or  B-Loony. Learn more about finding suppliers and equipment at the NABAS website. 

A business plan 

Once you decide what you want your business to look like, compile a business plan to set you on the right course. This plan will outline your business’s purpose, name, suppliers, services, and startup costs. In addition, it can help you develop objectives and goals. Detailed goals can help you track your business’s progress and make informed decisions. 

The main part of your business startup costs will be equipment and supplies, with helium likely being the most expensive part. But you can also include registration, insurance, and marketing costs. A budget will help outline your startup costs and operating expenses to manage your spending. With a firm budget, you can grow earnings and manage expenses. 

Setting up your balloon business

After collecting everything you need, the next step of knowing how to start a balloon business is setting it up. 

Registering your business 

First, you’ll need to register your balloon business as either a sole trader or a limited company. There are fewer taxes and regulations associated with sole traders, but they are legally liable for their business. On the other hand, limited companies are separate legal entities from the owners. 

Preparing for taxes

As a small business owner, you’ll also need to manage and report your own taxes, including income tax, dividend tax, and national insurance. If you register as a limited company, you’ll also be responsible for corporation tax. 

Beyond that, businesses that expect to earn over £85,000 annually must register for VAT. VAT-registered businesses are also required to follow Making Tax Digital (MTD) processes, a government initiative to simplify and digitise the tax system. Eventually, the MTD system will expand to cover many businesses, so it’s good to be aware of. 

Finding insurance 

Next, you’ll need to find insurance to protect your balloon business from financial risk. For example, public liability insurance will protect you against client injury or property damage that your business is responsible for. You may also want to look into product insurance to cover you if your finished balloon designs are damaged or lost. 

Organising your balloon business 

If you wonder how to start a balloon business, you may also wonder how to organise that business to run it smoothly. It’s crucial to organise your business well for success, so we’ll outline how to do so.  

Establishing prices and contracts

To decide how to price your services, reference your market research and competitors in the area. Then, consider the cost to produce your balloon arrangements. Costs may differ from job to job, so think about creating a starter fee and offering individual quotes. 

When creating quotes add up the costs of the job and the manual labour you’ll have to put into it. Adding a profit margin and charging for your time and labour will help you make your business profitable

Then, put together a client contract for each job. Contracts can outline your expectations, conditions, and payment terms. Having your customers sign beforehand will help you have transparent and reliable client relationships. 

Managing daily operations 

To organise your daily operations, you can use a business management tool like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. These tools can help you stay on top of your emails, calendar, and documents. 

Aside from organising your daily tasks and communications, think about your customer service. Creating positive interactions will help you build stable client relationships. For example, you could aim to get back to people within a specific time frame and develop friendly conversation topics to appear approachable. 

Managing payments 

Once you decide on pricing, determine how to manage client payments. You’ll need to create an invoice for each of these services, but consider how you’ll accept money from clients. For example, you could accept checks, bank transfers, or credit payments. Accepting credit card payments can be the most convenient option, though the services may charge a fee for each sale. 

You can learn more about accepting credit card payments here

Separating your business finances

Apart from organising your day-to-day, you’ll need to manage your small business finances. The best way to stay on top of this is by separating your business finances from your personal ones, which you can do by opening a business current account. This bank account will help you clarify which finances to include in your business bookkeeping instead of mixing them up with your personal transactions. 

 Organising your financial accounting and bookkeeping 

Small businesses are also legally required to maintain financial records for about six years. So, you’ll need accounting software that allows you to organise and better understand your finances. 

The best software will save you time and simplify your bookkeeping like Countingup does. Trusted by 40,000 business owners, Countingup is the business account with built-in accounting software. This combination lets you maintain your business finances all in one place. 

Countingup can help you manage your business expenses with automatic expense categorisation and the receipt capture tool. These features allow you to find tax-deductible business expenses and maintain updated digital records. The receipt capture tool will even remind you to take a picture of your receipt as soon as you make a purchase. 

On top of this, Countingup lets you easily create, send, and duplicate invoices on the go. It will also notify you when you receive invoices and match them to payments automatically. The app is also MTD-compliant, making it easier to digitise your tax process and instantly share your data with your accountant. Plus, the app generates tax estimates and cash flow insights so you can simplify the process, track your performance, and make better business decisions. 

Marketing your balloon business to draw in clients 

Knowing how to start a balloon business also means drawing in the right clients. So, you’ll need to develop a marketing strategy that helps you grow your audience. 

Branding

To draw an audience to your business, you’ll need to establish a brand identity. Your brand is the design and tone that represents your business, which can help you build a reputation. First, consider what colour scheme you want to use, and design a memorable logo that shows people what you offer. For example, you may include balloons in your logo. Also think about how your brand will appeal to your target audience. 

Website 

After developing a brand, create a business website so your business can be accessible online. Design this website using your brand identity and logo. Try to make it easy to navigate and clean, so users will want to stay on the site and can easily learn about who you are. Your website should include your business name, logo, service list, and contact information. 

You should also develop a portfolio of your balloon work and include pictures of that on your website. Plus, consider including a quote page or accepting payment through the site to make the process easier for customers. 

Aside from your website, you may want to claim your Google business profile so people can find you when they search for balloon services. 

Building a business awareness 

You may also want to network your balloon business to grow your connections and raise awareness for your services. Networking online and attending exhibitions or trade shows can help you meet people within the industry and find new clients. 

Social media 

Marketing your balloon business on social media is another great way to grow your audience and find customers. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to post tips about balloon making, industry news, pictures of your work, and updates about your business. 

If you target a corporate audience, you may also want to market yourself on LinkedIn. Plus, Pinterest, TikTok and Youtube can help you grow an audience by sharing your work or videos about your process. Whichever platforms you choose, try to update them regularly and interact with relevant people to grow your outreach. With a dedicated approach to your marketing, you can earn your first clients and begin to grow your business reputation. 

Easily track your business finances with Countingup

To start a balloon business, you’ll need to stay on top of your finances. But, financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.