AOH :: HOWTO239.TXT|
How to start your own highly profitable shopping center papers
HOW TO START YOUR OWN HIGHLY PROFITABLE SHOPPING CENTER PAPERS
One of the easiest of all businesses to establish, publishing
shopping center papers - can make you very rich - almost as fast as
finding gold, or inheriting an oil well.
Revenue and profits come from two main sources: The businesses in
the shopping center your paper serves, and the people reading your
paper. It doesn't matter that there's already a "Shopper's Paper"
in your area, or that you know nothing about the publishing business
and don't own a printing press.
The first thing is to understand the specific needs of your market.
The stores, shops and businesses in the downtown area advertise to
reach all the people, and thus, they're hurting from the competition
of similar stores, shops and businesses in the neighborhood shopping
centers closer to where the people actually live. Yet, these
shopping center stores, shops and businesses ONLY SERVE CUSTOMERS
LIVING WITHIN A 5-MILE RADIUS OF THEIR BUSINESS LOCATION!
So, the thing to do is organize a plan, and then work that plan.
Contact the store owners or managers of the stores in each shopping
center in your area. You can include stores or shops and businesses
not in the shopping center itself, but clustered within the same
immediate area. However, it's important that your emphasis be
placed on the individuality of each shopping center.
Explain to each of these business people that you're starting a
"shoppers paper" that will carry advertising only for businesses in
that particular shopping center. With this kind of "local
advertising media," the stores, shops and other businesses need not
worry about competition, nor have to bear the advertising costs of
The second selling point is your distribution or circulation system.
Take a section of your city street map; draw a 5-mile circle around
each shopping center; then take it to your local quick print shop,
and have him give you several printed copies blown up to twice the
Then as you're selling each business owner, show him the shopping
center location on your map with the 5-mile circle around it.
Explain that your door-to-door distributors leave a copy at each
home or apartment within that circle only. This means you'll have
to estimate how many homes or apartments there are within each
shopping center's customer circle.
Getting your papers out to all of these homes and apartments needn't
be that big a problem. Simply talk with the 7th and 8th grade
counselors at the schools within the service circle. Arrange to pay
the counselors $15 per thousand papers delivered for you. The idea
is to get the counselors to line up the students to do the
delivering for you, and pay them a percentage of the total you give
him. The same plan can be worked with boy scout and/or girl scout
troops. You might even contact the youth organizations at the
churches within the service circle, and propose your delivery
operation as a fund-raising project.
At the bottom line, the businesses gathered in or near each shopping
center will buy advertising space in your paper because your rates
will be cheaper; you'll be carrying advertising for a specific
location only; and your distribution will be direct to their
You can begin, and handle all phases of your business operation
single-handedly, but after the first couple of editions, you'll make
much more money by hiring others to do the selling for you. Simply
run an ad in your weekend newspapers, promising big incomes to
commission type advertising sales people. Word your ad so that
those interested call you on the phone.
When they call - get their name, address and phone number. Then
explain that you're looking for just a few top-notch go-getters who
can handle several thousand dollars a week in advertising
commissions from individual merchants located in neighborhood
shopping centers. Ask them to tell you a little bit about
themselves, and then invite them to a get-acquainted meeting in the
banquet or meeting room you've reserved in a local restaurant or
motel. Give them the time, and date, then tell them you'll see them
at the meeting.
At the meeting, show them a prototype or dummy of one of your
papers. Tell them they'll each be assigned a territory that
includes three shopping centers. You then explain/teach them the
reasons why there's big money in shopping center papers just as I've
explained to you.
Explain your advertising rates - $10 per column inch for a press
run/circulation of 5,000; $15 for 10,000; and/or $20 for 15,000
copies distributed - and that you pay 50% for each sale.
Each paper has room for $1,400 worth of advertising as a single 8 by
11 sheet printed on both sides; double that for an 11 by 17 sheet
folded in half; or 4-times that much as two 11 by 17 sheets.
Multiply the salesman's commission of $700 per paper times three
shopping centers, and you're talking about an opportunity for each
of them to make $2,100 per week - assuming that you publish your
papers on a weekly schedule.
Remember, your basic idea should be to create an individual
"shoppers paper" for as many different shopping centers as possible.
Because of the closeness of prospective advertisers in a shopping
center, a good salesman will be able to sign all the stores in at
least three different shopping centers in a week.
Once you've explained the marketing philosophy behind your papers,
and the money potentials available, you should have all the eager
salesmen you care to sign on. Remember, each sales person is
assigned three different shopping centers - you give him a dummy of
your paper for each of his shopping centers, with the space
availabilities marked - send him out to fill those spaces with paid
advertisers - and you'll both be home free!
Whenever possible, ask for and get your money up-front or at the
time of the sale. In many instances, this won't be possible, so
you'll need some sort of standard contract. A short visit to your
local community college advertising instruction department, or your
local public library for a look at a few instruction books on how to
draw up a space advertising contract, will give you a form to copy
and use as your own. Billing your advertisers at the end of 30 days
will bring in lots of sales, but it will also require a
bookkeeper/secretary and statements as well as letterhead envelopes
Allowing your advertisers to buy now and pay later will also require
that you allow your salesmen to "draw" against the commission they
have coming. This too will present some special problems, namely a
need for operating capital. Most of the time you'll be able to sell
or factor your accounts receivable for about 80% of the total due.
When you do this, you'll be giving up another 20% of your gross
income, but you will have immediate cash available. The thing you
must do is weigh your operating costs against the overall benefits
and make your decision based upon these factors.
The design, layout and production of your paper should be quite
simple. Visit a local stationary and/or office supplies store -
pick up a blue printers pencil, some larger transfer (rub-on)
letters (either 60-point or 72-point size should be sufficient for
your needs), and also - pick up a pad of "fade out" graph paper and
a roll or two of border tape.
Use the rub-on letters to print or write the masthead or title of
each of your shopping center's papers at the top of the graph paper.
With your border tape and a razor blade, make a U-shaped frame
around the page, a half inch in from the outside edge of the paper.
If you're getting started from your "kitchen table," and using a
typewriter, make sure your type is "elite" or the small type. Now,
measure the inside of your frame from the bottom of your masthead to
the top of your border tape at the bottom of your frame; and from
side to side, measuring from the inside edges of your border tape
along the sides. You should end up with a space 9 inches deep by 7
Take these measurements to your local print shop and ask them for
the dimensions of a space 30% larger. This should amount to a space
10 3/4 by 13 1/2 inches - so ask him for some 11 by 14 inch paper.
Scrap paper that has a clean backside will do quite nicely.
With your blue printers pencil, lay out a frame 10 3/4 by 13 1/2
inches - then divide the 10 3/4 width into seven equal columns. Run
the paper into your typewriter and type out the classified type ads
you have to set. If you have a camera ready ad that's too large for
your regular column dimensions, paste it into position on this
sheet. When you have this page all "written" or pasted up, take it
to your printer and have him reduce it to 70% of its current size
and run off a couple of copies for you. Cut out this reduced copy
and paste it inside your master frame, add any proper sized camera
ready ads and you're ready to take your paper to press.
Almost all shopping center papers start out as one page circulars
printed on both sides, and put together on the "kitchen table" as
I've described here. Working alone and trying to start from
scratch, you probably won't have all your available space sold when
you go to press. If this is the way it works out for you, simply
fill in the empty spaces with ads of your own.
Promotional ads inviting people to call you, for example, for ad
rate information, and to place their ads. Also, some of your better
mail order offers. In order to give the impression of lots of ads
from lots of different people, enlist the help of your relatives and
friends - allow them to advertise a For Sale or Trade item free.
It's important that you seemingly have ads from a lot of different
people with lots of different phone numbers and/or addresses listed.
For these classified ads, you should charge $l per line, and hence,
the name "Dollar Papers." Don't forget, your second source of
income will be garnered from people who have seen or read your
paper, and place ads of their own as a result.
Once you've got separate pages - a front and a back - for your first
paper ready, simply take it to your quick-print shop and have him
run off the number of copies you've promised to circulate for your
advertisers. Have him print it on yellow or orange 20 pound bond,
or even recycled construction paper.
Until you really get rolling, you can hire a couple of kids to hand
out your papers to everyone as they drive into the shopping center
parking lot, drop off a stack for check-out stand giveaways at each
store or shop in the shopping center, and/or persuade a couple of
newspaper carriers to include one with each newspaper they deliver.
Another fast hand-out method is to hire a student to give one to
each bus rider as he gets off the bus at busy "park and ride"
As your shopping center papers become known, you take on sales
people to do the selling for you; when you have to have more space
to handle the requests for advertising space, contact a larger
printer who works with web presses and newsprint paper. Look
around, and you'll find one who will handle all your typesetting,
layout, printing and even bulk delivery to your distribution pick-up
points. Expanding to tabloid production will lower your production
costs, give you greater efficiency and result in more profits for
Where there is really tough competition, many publishers of Shopping
Center Papers include stories about the shopping center -what the
land was used for before it was developed as a shopping center -
profiles on the different store owners, where they're from and what
they did before opening their store or shop - and news of community
interest within the customer circle. Many increase their incomes by
running mail order opportunity ads from dealers in all parts of the
Basically, a shopping center paper is the same as a mail order ad
sheet. The big difference is that it serves as an advertising
showcase for a small circle of merchants in a specific area, and is
circulated among the people most likely to do their shopping in that
specific area. Your success depends upon how well you serve that
small circle of merchants; each circle has a need for an advertising
showcase of its own, and it will be to your benefit to turn away
advertising requests fro m merchants outside that circle.
The only advertising you'll have to do is via the quality and image
you project with each issue or edition of your papers. There are a
number of popularity-building promotions you can, and should run:
free ads for baby-sitting and/or child care services; $100 worth of
free groceries if the shopper spots his picture or name in your
paper; and free merchandise or service for solving picture puzzles.
Don't look for much free publicity or help from newspapers, radio
and/or TV stations in your area - at least, not until you're very
well established, because you are in direct competition with them.
As mentioned earlier, this is an easy business to organize, requires
no special education or training, and will pretty much perpetuate
itself once you're beyond the start-up stages. The important thing
of course, is the opportunity for at least one such paper in even
the smallest of communities. The profit potential in even small to
medium-sized cities is almost beyond belief...
You have an idea, and I've provided the organizational details to
make it work for you - it's working very profitably for a lot of
entrepreneurs in a number of locations around the country -the only
thing missing now, is action on your part. Get with it, and start
enjoying the fruits of your own success!
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