In planning any calendar printing venture, the obvious truth to pay attention to is that each calendar is a time-sensitive product with a built-in distribution deadline. For a standard 2014 calendar, in case your calendar just isn’t in the long run user’s fingers earlier than January 1, 2014, they may already have found an alternative. For a non-standard calendar that deadline could also be sooner (eg., a school-year calendar needs to be within the person’s arms near the start of school if it’ll be helpful to them). Working backwards from this absolute deadline can give you a good timeline for the complete challenge.
How are you getting your calendars into the top consumer’s fingers? Are you giving them away? In that case, then it should be comparatively straight-forward to figure out the distribution logistics and determine by what date you’ll need to have calendars in hand. Or perhaps you are mailing them out to your prospects or members; in that case you simply have to make sure you enable sufficient time for inserting into envelopes, including a canopy letter, addressing and mailing. Or think about having the printer or an area mailhouse handle mailing the calendars – it is going to probably be cheaper and simpler for you. Just make sure you discover out from the printer or mailhouse how much further time they may want and factor it in.
If, alternatively, you intend to print a calendar and sell it, both as a nonprofit fundraiser or as a profit-making enterprise, then distribution is a little more difficult. How much time you want for sales is determined by your sales strategy. Are you selling at an area festival or different occasion? In that case, then that provides you a deadline, however keep in mind that you will be higher off if you can sell at a number of events, in case attendance or sales at one occasion are not what you expect. Or maybe you’re having volunteers sell calendars to friends and family or door-to-door. If so, it’s best to enable at least two weeks, and ideally up to four weeks, since volunteers all have their own different schedules, and some will want reminders and encouragement.
In case you print a calendar that you plan to promote, you must make sure to develop and implement a solid advertising plan. Advertising and marketing doesn’t have to add to the general length of the calendar project – you can and will start advertising during the planning and manufacturing levels of the challenge. However, when you wait to start advertising and marketing until you have the calendars in hand, then you will want to allow no less than a couple of extra weeks, possibly more, on your advertising message to reach the intended audience and encourage them to buy.
The manufacturing phase of a calendar printing project starts while you hand off all the pictures, text, logos, advertising, etc. to the printer, and the printer turns it into calendar artwork for you to approve and then places it on the press and delivers to you the finished product. Make sure you talk to your printer early on to fins out how long this takes. In our case at Yearbox, it is often about three weeks (sometimes sooner when you have a particular deadline). When you anticipate last-minute changes or additions, or if you will be proofing by committee, then it is best to most likely allow a little bit extra time – possibly a month in total – for production.