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Balloon Charts & Formulas

Need help figuring out the length of your balloon arch or the average balloon float time when using a 60/40 Inflator? You’ll find it here!

Balloon Arch Length FormulaGarland Chart Helium Balloon Flying TimeHelium Balloon Flying Time   with 60/40 Mix ChartBalloon Helium Chart

Balloon Arch Length Formula

Example 1: If the balloon arch is wider than it is tall: Height + Width = Approximate Total Length Example 2: If the balloon arch height and width are about the same: 1.5(Height) + Width = Approximate Total Length Example 3: If the balloon arch is taller than it is wide: 2(Height) + Width = Approximate Total Length

Garland Chart

Note: Balloon quality may vary as much as 20% depending on how tightly the balloon clusters are packed.

 Number of Balloons Per Foot of Garland  Balloon Size 4 Balloon Cluster 5 Balloon Cluster  3″ 20.2  25.2  4″  15.1  18.9  5″  12.1  15.1  6″  10.1 12.6  7″  8.6  10.8 8″  7.6  9.5  9″  6.7  8.4  10″  6.0  7.6  11″  5.5  6.9  12″  5.0 6.3  13″  4.7  5.8  14″  4.3  5.4  15″  4.0  5.0 16″  3.8  4.7

Helium Balloon Flying Time

Note: The listed average inflation sizes and flying times are conservative averages. Actual flying times vary depending on temperature and atmospheric conditions.

Latex Balloon Size  Average Flying Time Helium Only Average Flying Time Helium & ULTRA Hi-Float® 9″ with Valve  6 hours 3-10 days  9″ 10-15 hours 4-14 days  11″ with Valve 12-18 hours 3-10 days  11″ with 60/40 Inflator 12-18 hours 3-10 days  11″ 12-24 hours 1-4 weeks  11″  12-24 hours  1-3 weeks  14″ 26-30 hours 2-5 weeks  16″  30+ hours  3-7 weeks  18″  36+ hours  3-8 weeks  17″  14 hours 3-8 days  16″  22-26 hours  4-12 days  16″  18-24 hours  3-10 days  24″  2-4 days  4-10 weeks  3′  3-5 days  6-20 weeks

Helium Balloon Flying Time with 60/40 Mix Chart

Note: Float times may vary due to altitude, environmental conditions, and proper balloon sizing.

* For maximum float time on 11″ balloons with a 60/40 mix, it is recommended to use Ultra Hi-Float with the purple restriction clip on the Hi-Float pump.

Latex Balloon Size Approximate Float Time 11″ Latex w/ No Hi-Float 8-12 Hours 11″ Latex w/ Ultra Hi-Float * 3-10 Days 16″ Latex 30+ Hours 24″ Latex 2-4 Days 30″ & 3ft Latex 3-5 Days Start Saving Today with one of Conwin’s 60/40 Options Below:

   

Balloon Helium Chart  Balloon Size/Type Lift Ability  Gas Capacity  Average # Balloons per 291 cu. ft. tank  5″ Not for Helium .06 cu. ft.  4500 (Nitrogen)  7″  Not for Helium  .12 cu. ft. 2300 (Nitrogen)  9″ .2 oz. .25 cu. ft. 1100  11″ .35 oz. .50 cu. ft. 570  14″ .8 oz. 1.0 cu. ft. 285  16″ 1.2 oz. 1.3 cu. ft. 220 16″ Geo Donut  .5 oz. .70 cu. ft. 400 16″ Geo Blossom .4 oz. .60 cu. ft. 475  3′ 12 oz. 15 cu. ft. 19 4′ 27 oz. 35 cu. ft. 8 5′ 51 oz. 66 cu. ft. 4  18″ Foil N/A .60 cu. ft. 570  36″ N/A 4.0 cu. ft. 70

Choosing the Right Balloon Air Inflator

Looking for an air inflator? What is the difference? Which is the right one for me? 

 Doesn’t an air inflator just inflate balloons?  Well, yes it does. However, just as there are  many types and sizes of balloons, used for  many different purposes, it stands to reason there would also be a range of inflators as well.

Air inflators have a variety of specific purposes such as those for the Street Entertainer who will use it to inflate ‘entertainer’ balloons, through to the Balloon Decorator who might need a precision sizing inflator to create accurate, stunning balloon decor.  Let’s take a look at what inflators are available and what their suggested use is.

I suppose we should really begin with the basic hand pump; even here there are options.  There is the two-way 160 hand pump, designed to inflate the smallest of entertainer balloons, the two-way hand pump for inflating 260s, through to  the ‘single stroke’ floor standing pump, designed to inflate a 260 with a single downward stroke. These are all manually operated and great for street entertainers and those inflating small numbers of entertainer balloons.

Air-Pro

Now, we take the first step up to the electric inflators. Again, we start with the basic models of which there are many, but like so many things, there is a vast difference in the quality and reliability. So we would naturally recommend that you select a brand that you know and can trust.  Conwin’s Air Pro is a basic model electric air inflator with a single nozzle outlet and can inflate one balloon at a time. With the most powerful motor on the market, it can inflate all sizes of foils, round and non-round balloons by use of the narrow extension tip.  Whilst all motors will heat up during use, the Air Pro motor only operates during the inflation process, reducing the build up of heat.

Air Force 4

The next step takes us to electric air inflators capable of inflating multiple balloons at the same time.  This type of machine is excellent for inflation of large numbers of balloons where accurate sizing is non-essential, whilst allowing more than one user to inflate. Conwin’s Air Force 4 is one such inflator. With 4 separate outlets it is capable of inflating up to 4 balloons at the same time, by using either the foot pedal or continual ‘ON’ mode.  The Large Balloon Inflation Hose allows for rapid inflation of 16” and larger balloons in a third of the time and the optional Insider Balloon Stuffing Tool Kit for the Air Force 4 enables you to make stunning gumball décor and inflate foils at a slower speed.

Precision Air

Finally we reach the top of the range and step up to precision sizing inflators such as Conwin’s Precision Air Inflator.  When precise and accurate inflation of balloons is required this really is the ultimate machine.  With the ability to count and accurately size two balloons simultaneously and deliver consistent sizing, time after time, this really is a dream machine for professional decorators.  Doing away with the need for time-consuming and cumbersome sizing templates, any professional balloon decorator will have one of these on their wish list.

Now that you have the basic knowledge on what air inflators are available and the differences between them, it’s up to you to decide which air inflator works best for you and your business!

For more information on Electric Air Inflators contact experts@conwinonline.com. We will assist you in choosing the right inflator for your business!

Conwin Products Recommended in this Article:

          

Inflating for Retail Balloon Shops

Article by: Jan Iiams

Things have changed! At one time everyone had a simple tank and filler valve to inflate balloons with. Today, there are a myriad of choices for equipment to make your balloon work a breeze and substantially more profitable.

Conwin’s proven inflators do more than just inflate balloons, they precisely size latex balloons and automatically stop when foil balloons are full. The latest equipment trend for busy stores that inflate bouquets, using both latex and foil balloons, is the Duplicator 2 automatic sizer. This small piece of equipment sits on a counter and can actually be located several feet from the helium tank.

For shops that have inflated balloon displays throughout their store, having to transport the balloons back and forth to re-inflate and then set-up again can be a time-consuming and labor intensive process. To make this task easy, Conwin suggests using their Cylinder Hand Truck and a 10ft Extension Hose Inflator with Snap-On Auto-Fill Foil Outlet or Bubble & Auto-Foil Outlet. This allows employees to safely transport the cylinder around the store and re-inflate foils where they are already located.

Tip: For inflated displays, tie the ribbon below the self seal valve on the foil. This will make for re-inflating foils much easier.

Ensuring your balloons always look fresh and ready to sell, just might be the difference between a sell or a walk-out.

Conwin Products Recommended in this Article:

       

Display! Display! Display!

Article by: Jan Iiams

Any store owner will tell you that inflated balloons sell faster than those un-inflated. Customers like to see exactly how big and colorful a balloon is before they buy it. Make it easy for customers to make their selection my inflating some of your top selling balloons and even some of your slower moving products.

For those who do not have enough space to inflate every balloon they have in the store, here are some great tips to displaying those beautiful balloons:

Spinner racks are a great way to display your balloons. Retail customers shop for them in the same way they shop for a greeting card. Because the spinner rack inventory is packaged, product stays clean and fingerprint free, and it doesn’t require a sales person to “baby-sit” the customer through the entire sale. The small extra cost for packaged balloons more than makes up for the labor costs involved with older display methods, and the rack takes up a minimum of expensive retail floor space. Check with your nearest distributors as to what type of new balloon spinner racks are available from manufacturers.

Looking for a great point-of-puchase display for inflated balloons? Try Conwin’s Grip Strips. They have an adhesive backing that can be attached to any clean surface. Attach a weight to your pre-inflated balloons and slide the ribbon into the slits of the plastic. Customers can easily see and pull the balloon of their choice. Place these around your store and definitely up by the register for those quick last minute buys.

Conwin Products Recommended in this Article:

Smart Buying & Inventorying Practices

Article by: Jan Iiams

Today’s smart buyer wants to save time and money. Many wholesale distributors have a presence on the web as well as full line catalogs. For special sales and the new products they offer, check distributor web sites for fast information and easy ordering at virtually any time, day or night. For distributor referrals and to see the newest products being unveiled, check manufacturers web sites. Conwinonline.com also offer educational information on their equipment and design instruction.

Today the best technique for ordering efficiently and getting the most value for your money, is to order more but less often. You’ll save on shipping costs and manydistributors offer freight incentives and discounts for orders placed in quantity. Check with your distributor about their volume discount criteria. You’ll find that many now allow you to add smaller quantities of items together to achieve a volume discount.

The ideal inventory would be having just one of every item left on the shelf just as your order arrives to assure you that you hadn’t missed a single sale. Since that is just a wish and not a reality, you’ll find the following tips will help you inventory smarter.

Spinner racks are one of the most efficient ways to store your inventory. Although they were initially introduced and work well for display purposes, some busy stores are now using the spinner rack as storage for their balloon inventory. At a quick glance, you can see what items are low without digging through drawers, files or shelves that often damage balloons to see what’s due for reorder.

Don’t get into an inventory rut. Your repeat customers love to see new things, and there’s nothing like a beautiful new balloon pattern to inspire your staffs creativity. Note which patterns are your bestsellers and which ones you can afford to change out periodically or seasonally to keep a fresh look to what you sell.

Grow Your Business with Air

Article by: Steven Mayhew, CBA

Since the inception of the balloon industry, many international decorators have felt the crunch of high helium prices or limited access to helium. Faced with this obstacle they have proven that air-filled balloon décor is the answer to making their businesses thrive. They have not only demonstrated that air-filled décor can be easily substituted for many classic helium-filled balloon décor designs, but also that air-filled décor is more efficient and profitable.

To help you on your journey to sustaining and growing your business with air-filled decor, here are a few answers to the questions many of you have been asking…

Q: What Are The Benefits of Air-Filled Décor?

A: One of the great benefits to air-filled decor is that it lasts between 1 to 4 weeks depending on environmental conditions. You have no heavy cylinders to transport and air- filled décor can be inflated days prior to an event. Not to mention you save money with no helium.

Q: How Can I Incorporate More Air-Filled Décor In My Business?

A: Start by reviewing your most popular helium arrangements offered and determine how to convert them to air. Also, change your focus on suggesting helium-filled décor to air-filled décor when recommending designs for your customers. Tip: To replace the lift of helium, incorporate base plates, conduit poles, aluminum rod as a core structure or bases for air-filled designs.

Q: How do I inflate my balloons with air?

A: Conwin’s full line of air inflators give you the ability to inflate balloons either manually or with automatic sizing. Click here to check out Conwin’s Air Inflators.

Q: What is Nitrogen gas and how can I use it?

A: Nitrogen (like air) is what balloon decorators use to inflate balloon décor that is not intended to float. Nitrogen is an inert gas (non-flammable, non-explosive and non-toxic) and is available in cylinders from balloon distributors and gas companies. It’s much less expensive than helium and is a great alternative to air to use with your basic and automatic balloon inflators.

Q: What is a 60/40 Inflator & How Does it Work?

A: Conwin’s 60/40 inflators mix 60% helium with 40% air, saving you 40% on your helium costs. These inflators work by the helium passing upward through the filling outlet and drawing in air through the air intake ports on either side of the outlet. When you use Conwin’s 60/40 Inflators you’re able to inflate 40% more balloons from any cylinder!

Top 10 Wedding Add-Ons

Article by: Sue Bowler, CBA, Jodie White, CBA, Jan Iiams, CBA

Combining their experience and creative talents Sue, Jodie, Jan and Crystal compiled the following list of top 10 wedding add-ons. These proven, best-selling ideas can easily take your business to the next level! Offering these services to your brides will grow your wedding business and boost your profits!

Ceremony Décor

Decorating the wedding ceremony, in addition to the reception, doubles the size of your decorating job! If the ceremony is being held in a church, temple or house of worship, be sure you clearly understand any restrictions on decorations, then use your creativity to tastefully enhance the setting. A beautiful background design where the bride, groom and minister stand during the ceremony is especially important. This is the spot where most of the ceremony pictures will take place. Brides love having a special photo area for their friends and family.

Floral Accents

Combining floral and Balloon services is the way of the future. Brides don’t want to go to a variety of companies to coordinate their wedding decorations. One-stop shopping benefits everyone. Offer both balloons and flowers to your customers. All of the small add-ons, like corsages and boutonnieres, are the perfect place to start. They’re easy to create and your brides will love their originality.

Designer Chair Backs

Chair back arrangements are a beautiful accent to reception decor. By using touches of the same elements throughout each design, you’ll create a harmonious and romantic mood that brides will find irresistible. See Sue’s article on page 20 for more details on techniques for decorating chair backs. Think of the add-on sales potential! For every guest you get extra profits!

Add Special Effects!

Confetti Cannons, Balloon Bulbs, and Exploding Balloons all are easy add-on sales. They are ideal for creating excitement on the dance floor and the reception area. These exciting and profitable effects leave lasting memories for the bride and her guests.

Head Table Décor

The focus of every reception is on the new bride and groom. They’ll be seated at the head table, offering a great opportunity for a beautiful backdrop and centerpiece. This will make a perfect photo setting.

Cake Table Décor 

As balloon artists we have the perfect opportunity to enhance the presentation of the wedding cake! Offer the bride your expertise to decorate the table. From simply swaging the edge of the table with ivy, ribbon and delicate balloon bubbles, to an elegant arch that frames the cake table creating a wonderful photo backdrop, you have lots of opportunities!

Sign-In Guest Table

What better way to bring a smile to your guests face than to be greeted by an a whimsical tabletop bride & groom sculpture. They’re hard for the bride to resist, and a profitable addition for very wedding! This design is featured in Conwin’s Portfolio Builders Series 3.

Place Setting Favors 

For the ultimate finishing touch, create beautiful wedding favors, traditionally called ‘bomboniere’. Once made from gold, precious stones, crystal or porcelain. These “thank you” art forms symbolize the bride’s special acknowledgement of each friend and relative who shares her special joy.

Create an Inviting Entrance

A walk-thru heart is a great entrance to the ceremony or reception area. A series of string of pearl arches also is a great way to create a simple, yet effective, entrance. If you’re working with a bride on a budget, suggest balloon decor for the ceremony that can be moved to the reception area. The add-on possibilities and the added profits are endless!

Wedding Car Décor 

Offering designer car decor is one of the easiest add-on sales. All brides want to go to the church in style. To capture that opportunity introduce a fantastic range of car decor to your brides. Your unique designs will leave a lasting impression on your clients and on the wedding guests. This promotes your services and generates new business opportunities.

Glues and Other Sticky Situations

Article by: Jan Iiams

Have you ever gotten yourself into a sticky situation trying to keep balloons together? It can be tricky choosing the right adhesive for the job at hand.

I’ve spoken with some other balloon professionals in our industry and discovered that we all have favorite adhesives for specific jobs, but tend to favor one over all the others. Consequently, we have developed techniques that we use in many different circumstances.

I would like to share a performance chart with you that can be copied and used in your shop for referral when you need it. I’ve listed the many types of adhesives and their advantages, disadvantages and sources.

Adhesive Type Pros Cons Comments Hot Glue Gun Easy to direct application. Contact doesn’t need to be made immediately. Good for small areas. May weaken seams on foil balloons. Can cause latex balloons to pop. Affected by Atmospheric changes. Sources: Balloon & floral wholesalers, hardware and craft stores. Low Temperature Glue Gun Easy to direct application. Good for small areas. Doesn’t burn skin. Dries hard but may break. When exposed to cold. Requires immediate contact. Same sources as hot glue guns. Note: Some glue guns have an adjustable temperature from low to high. Pan Glue Economical. Can be used on latex and foil balloons. Is a strong glue, dries fast. Safe to work with. Not affected by atmospheric changes. Difficult to direct to specific areas. May weaken seams on foil balloons. Doesn’t dry clear. Sources: Floral wholesalers Note: Special small pans, bargain electric skillets, bricks and pellets. Glue Dots ™ Economical. Bonds latex to latex well. Available in a variety of strengths. Not affected by atmospheric changes. Easy to transport. Clean and easy to use. Important to define the proper strength for the proper job. The standard dispenser is not convenient. Sources: IBAC office and some balloon wholesalers now carry this new product. See Balloon HQ archives for additional information and subscribers suggestions and experiences. Note: Be careful to buy Glue Dots for Balloons for best results on latex to latex bonds. Other Glue Dots products may be better for non-latex materials. Rubber Cement Dries quickly. Makes a strong bond. Economical & widely available. Can pop latex balloons. Doesn’t work well with foil balloons. Once balloons are placed they’re stuck for good. Note: Standard rubber cement is not usually a good adhesive for balloons. However, One Coat rubber cement is available at some artist supply stores and it’s performance is much better than standard rubber cement. It can be painted onto the balloon surface and dries quickly, leaving a sticky surface similar to post-a-notes but stronger. Balloons can usually be carefully repositioned. Tapes Sticks well, has some give. Quick application. Self contained. Doesn’t hold well for pieces that will be handled. Types: Cellophane, packing and duct, double stick and sticky back foam tape, “booger” tape…a gun style dispenser for backless tape similar to tacky rubber cement. Colored electrical tapes and floral tape also are available in a wide array of colors. Spray Glues Dries fast. Economical Excellent for covering Foils with fabric. You must work very quickly because it does dry very fast. Can be messy. Can pop latex balloons. Sources: Craft & hardware stores, floral and some balloon wholesalers. Super Hi-Float Excellent inside and outside balloons for Special effects. Keeps Balloons from oxidizing as Well. Takes longer to dry on the outside than some products but with a clearer finish. Can be messy if not used properly. Sources: Balloon wholesalers. Conwin’s Adhesive Grip Tabs Clear tabs with strong adhesive on one end. Perfect for attaching balloons to any smooth surface. Especially great for centerpiece designs. Not recommended for use on painted surfaces. Source: Available from Conwin’s distributors or order online. Misc. • Velcro is great for some displays that need to change frequently. (Avail at craft and fabric stores.) • 3M Hangers can be secured firmly to a wall, yet removed completely and cleanly with a built in pull tag. (Avail at hardware craft and chain stores.)

Following are suggestions of appropriate adhesives for specific tasks.

Pan Glue: Floral effects, picks, gluing Lomey and other containers, foil sculptures. Hot Glue Gun: Strong performance in small placement (bows and other accessories that need to be held tight.) Low Temp Glue Gun, Glue Dots, Rubber Cement, Tapes: Attaching latex and foil balloons together or to other products, latex sculptures. Clear Packing Tape, Backless Tape Gun, 3M Hangers: Attaching balloons to a wall surface without damage. Super Hi Float, Spray Glues: Confetti type products in or on balloons, fabric coverings.

Finally, don’t be afraid to be adventurous, but always remember to try new adhesives in the privacy of your workroom rather than on the job, or you may find yourself stuck in the middle of a very sticky situation.

Incredible Insiders

Article by: Sue Bowler, CBA

The art of putting balloons inside balloons is something at has evolved over the years. Many decorators have found their own preferred way to do this; there is no right or wrong way…

One of the earliest methods I can recall was to use a small section of drain pipe, which required you to stretch the neck of the large balloon over (usually a 3’), which I have to say was no mean feat in it’s own right, but then the fun really began, trying to inflate the  3’ balloon with a section of drain pipe at the neck of the balloon and then force pre-sized 5” inside, the problem I always had was that they kept popping out again at machine gun speed…which I have to say is the funniest thing I have ever seen!

Balloon Stuffing machines are a great tool for creating insider balloons or ‘Gumballs’, which is their actual technical term, great, if you already own one to create gifts inside balloons, but pretty expensive just for stuffing balloons inside balloons. Although a great tool, it can be a little restrictive as to the actual number of balloons that you put inside, this all depends on the size of the stuffing machine and how much it opens up the big balloon and also limits you to stuffing 18” round balloons and bigger.

And then there is the Conwin Insider Balloon Stuffing Tool . The Insider Stuffing Tool is an accessory that can be used with a ConwinDual Split Second Sizer or Duplicator 2 or if you don’t have either of these, the 10ft Extension Hose Inflator Insider Tool Set enables you to manually inflate and size balloons inside a balloon. Probably one of the greatest advantages of the Insider Balloon Stuffing Tool is that you are not limited to loading only one size or shape of balloon into a larger balloon. It enables you to mix and match balloon sizes and shape giving greater impact and profitability…your customer will notice the difference between a balloon company that only ever put 5” balloons inside 3’, with one that creates truly exciting insiders with many sizes and shapes!

So Why Put Balloons Inside a Balloon..? To add excitement to your designs, fantastic for balloon displays, accents for bouquets of balloons, centrepieces, columns, arches and even delivery designs. For the ultimate exploding balloon, filled with heart shaped latex makes the perfect exploder for weddings, anniversaries and engagement parties.

Pink Teddy Bear Design created by Sue Bowler using the Insider Tool to create the bear’s body and floating balloon, the body is air-filled and the floating balloon is helium filled see below for gas theory.

This ‘Noodle’ balloon design was created by Sue Bowler using the Insider Tool with Neon 260’s with 160’s inside.

Method

Insert a 160Q inside and 260Q and knot together at the tip of the balloon and not at the opening/ inflating end.

Hold the 160Q and carefully inflate only the 260Q, the tension created by the 160Q will make the 260Q balloon curl on inflation!

The 5 Minute Gumball

Balloons inside a balloon are amazing, regardless of whether you have 20 or 200. OK that’s not strictly true, because a balloon that has 20 balloons in which only takes 5 minutes to fill wont look as full as a balloon that has 200 balloons inside that takes 1 hour to fill…wrong! This statement would only be true if we were inflating our balloon to the same size in both instances. However, if we use 20 balloons (9”) inflated to 7” or 8” rather than a 5” balloon inflated to 4” or 4.5” then the balloon with the 20 8” balloons inside will look very full!

The Gas Theory

This is quite easy really; if you are using helium to float the outer balloon then you must use helium inside all the balloons within the balloon regardless of what shape or size these are. If put air inside the inner balloons and then fill the outer balloon with helium, the helium will absorb into the inner balloons and eventually they will start to pop! So, the rule really is always stick to the same gases…air with air and helium with helium.

Arch Design Patterns

Article by: Steven Mayhew, CBA

Expand your knowledge of Arch Patterns and offer more to your customers! Arches help bring movement, direction and can establish a theme for any event. Draw attention to an entry way or focal point by the arch pattern you use along with the direction you arrange your quads. Follow the patterns below by attaching the quads to your line or pole in the same formation as shown in each step. The lines under the illustrated arches indicate which quads you are working with when following the steps. Incorporate these arch patterns into your designs and you will be on your way to making your company stand out against the competition!

Download the PDF chart here.

Slow Spiral Arch

Stripe Arch

Small Diamond Arch

Large Diamond Arch

Criss-Cross Arch

Arrow Arch

Zig-Zag Arch

Flower Arch

Marketing Your Balloon Business

Article by: Steven Mayhew, CBA

Once you’ve got your business up and running, it’s time to focus on an effective marketing strategy. Marketing any business is crucial to nurturing its growth and sustaining long term profits. Following the helpful tips in this article you’ll be ready to take your business to the next level.

Creating Your Own Portfolio or Idea Book

Showing pictures of what you can create is important for your client to visual the many balloon décor options for their event. Building a professional portfolio can be a time-consuming challenge.

Start by building designs in your home or office. A photo taken with a high quality camera of an arch at your doorway or a set of balloon columns in your backyard will help you build your portfolio and give you hands-on experience.

Important Note: Remember that images on other balloon décor sites are copy written and require written permission to use in your portfolio. 

Word of Mouth Marketing

Family and friends are a great way to get the word out about your blossoming business. Invest in quality business cards and flyers featuring fun-filled images of your balloon décor.  Spread the word through your community connections at churches, schools, country clubs, and local businesses. Let them know about all the creative décor you can create for their next special event. Never leave your home without a handful of business cards in your pocket –  you never know who you’ll run into.

Websites…Do I Really Need One?

I would say a decorator could get by without a website and be able to invest in other marketing avenues; however nowadays, a website can prove to be a huge driving force in your business. To get started, you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars. Talk to friends and clients and let them know you are looking for help in building a website for your business. They may have contacts or even family members who would be able to design an attention grabbing site at a reasonable budget. Craigslist.com is another great way to find local web designers.

Advertising in the Phonebook 

This form of advertising can be a hit or miss. Look into the phone books available in your area and speak with one of their representatives. List out the pros and cons with either sticking to their free listing of your business name or upgrading to an ad on the page.

Marketing Your Car

Use your vehicle as a constant form of advertising. Have a design screen printed on the side or have magnetic signs made that can be used as needed. Most important thing to focus on is that your phone number is large and easy to read.

Cold Calling 101

The first step to making a successful cold call is targeting your call to a specific market. Making a call to a random home number is not as effective as direct a call to the event coordinator at your local country club. When calling, inform them of whom you are, what your business is and set up a convenient time to meet them and drop off a few of your brochures for when their clients are interested in balloon décor.

When you stop by, bring a bouquet of balloons to leave behind with your contact information and a handful of your flyers. Make a good first impression and always thank them for their time!

Capturing Repeated Business

List your events in your next year’s calendar to make a courtesy call to see if they need of balloons again for their next party. Targeted mailings and email campaigns to your past customers with special offers and incentives can also help increase business. Another effective tool is a friendly “Thank You” letter with a self-addressed return postcard for them to fill out. Thank them for their business and ask how they enjoyed the event and your décor. Include a business card magnet in the letter as it’s guaranteed they’ll place it on their refrigerator or cabinet for the next time they need balloons.

Words of Advice in Small Business Marketing

Start small and grow your advertising budget as your business grows. Also, it’s critical to track your advertising success. Always ask your customers where they found out about you every time they call. Investing in a marketing campaign and not knowing where your customers are coming in from is pointless. It’s that extra 10% of effort that will insure you maximize your marketing success and grow your business profitably.

Starting a Balloon Business

Article by: Steven Mayhew, CBA

Setting Up Your Balloon Business

Starting a business in balloons can be profitable and extremely rewarding. For decades, balloon decorators around the world have been successful in growing an maintaining a business; giving beginners hope and assurance that a career in balloons CAN succeed!

Creating a Road Map

Begin with creating a checklist to help you prioritize what you need to accomplish to officially open your company. Many of these steps can be found in the next section “Following the Rules”.

You’ll also need to decide on your mission and goals by developing a business plan. This is not only so you know what your objectives are but it is also an important tool if you are planning to approach investors or financial institutions to receive a loan. Click here to learn more about how to write an effective business plan, provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Know Your Market

Who are you trying to sell balloons to? It’s important to know because you can’t be all things to all people and do a good job. So, when your business is getting started, narrow your focus initially and concentrate on a smaller market. Be the best you can be to one specific type of client (e.g. brides, hotels, or sales agents). Once you have mastered that market, expand into another.

What balloon equipment do I need?

Conwin’s line of balloon inflators vary from basic regulators to automatic sizers. We also offer safety equipment, balloon accessories, special effects and educational materials to help increase your efficiency and productivity.

For a beginner, the two facets you’ll need to consider first are helium inflators and air inflators. Both are crucial aspects to a balloon decorator to be able to offer a variety of decor.

As most decorators begin with a low budget to start their business, the most economical, yet most efficient options were selected to the right. To view all of Conwin’s Inflators, click here.

 

Skills are Required

Before you begin to market yourself like a pro, you’ll need to learn how to create professional and profitable balloon décor. Fortunately, the balloon industry offers a wide variety of educational opportunities. A great place to start is to sign-up for a balloon seminar. Visit Conwin’s Educational Calendar to find a seminar near you.

In addition to attending a seminar, a convenient and efficient way to learn the latest balloon techniques is to the Balloon Décor Master Series DVD set. This comprehensive (3 disc) program features step-by-step instructions for 15 designs. Each design is complete with material lists and balloon size settings. As an added bonus, the series includes 23 high quality 8.5” x 11” images of the designs to include in your portfolio.

Another great resource is Qualatex’s QBN Bundle (3-part DVD series) which covers all the basics and business concepts.

Where Do I Buy My Materials

Luckily you are starting a business in an industry with a very strong balloon distributor base. Whether you are located on the east coast, mid west, west coast or even internationally, there are distributors near by you can purchase your balloons, equipment, and accessories from. Find a distributor near you through Conwin’s Distributor Network.

Install a Dedicated Phone Line

You may need to use your home phone initially, but invest in a separate business line as soon as possible. When clients call they are looking for a professional response. Be sure anyone who answers the phone is trained to answer questions or take a message. Also, by having a dedicated phone line, it allows you to install an answering machine to intercept any calls you are unable to answer. Keep your outgoing message short, upbeat and professional.

When you install a business line you may be provided a 2-line yellow page listing at little or no cost. The first line is intended for your business name and the second for an address. If you are a home-based business you may want to avoid listing your home address and use this second line as a great form of advertising. It could read, “Specializing in corporate events” or “Balloons for all occasions.”

Keep Good Records and Receipts

There are many advantages to owning your own business. Consult with an accountant regarding any specific regulations for your region.

Set Specific Business Hours

Your business hours don’t have to be from 9 to 5, but set aside a specific time of the day you devote to your business on a consistent basis. It may be used for design time, paperwork and bookkeeping, or prospecting new clients. And on the flip side, take a break from business after hours. Burnout comes quickly if all you ever do is work, work, work! Taking time to relax and enjoy life feeds your creativity.