Lets face it, when you are creative it’s not uncommon to turn a blind eye to the business strategy your fashion label needs. We love to sketch, fill scrap books with ideas that inspire, get lost in vintage stores and daydream of our label on the Paris catwalk. It seems like it’s all about the look, feel and emotions that our designs create and not necessarily the nuts and bolts of how we are going to get there.
Fashion Business Strategy 101
Business and Marketing Plan
What is a Business and Marketing plan? – It is a formal statement and set of business goals, including tasks that are believed to be attainable and the plan for reaching these goals.
Scour through books and the internet search engines to find Business Plan templates. We suggest looking at the Australian government small business website, it has troves of information that is useful for small business owners.
Writing a business plan is an essential step in the process of building a successful business. The task is all the more important if you are going into business for the first time in addition to entering an industry you are not familiar with.
Tips to Assist:
• Be as concise and as close to the point as possible. Remove any filler language, investors do not want to read long business and marketing plans.
• Be realistic and honest when considering your opportunities and challenges
• Use visuals like graphs, charts, images because this will help your audience visualise your plans, branding and aesthetics.
• Include an in-depth SWOT analysis and understand each of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
• Submit your plan to experts and mentors in your chosen area. Their advice could well prove invaluable.
Budgeting and Finance
You will need to determine the projection of start-up costs as well as the initial and ongoing expenses you may encounter in your business.
After writing up your business plan you should have estimated the costs involved in starting up your business. Unless you already have the capital to fund your business start-up yourself you will need to find a finance source to help fund the required capital.
This could involve applying for a loan – either from a bank or another person or perhaps finding an investor to invest in your business in exchange for a percentage. The Business Angel’s website connect investors with exciting new businesses:
Use the Power of Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is the collection of funds through small contributions. People from all over the internet can finance a project, venture or initiative for you.
Crowdfunding web sites have helped people all over the world raise money, growing exponentially from $89 million in 2010 to $5 billion in 2013. Most noteworthy is that growth is expected to double every year!
Where to find a Crowd
Grants and Funding
The Australian government also offers grants and funding for start-up businesses and new development opportunities. Find out what grants are available, and which you may be eligible for at their website.
Tips for Fashion Business Success
With your business plan underway and while considering the financing options, keep these tips close.
• Learn as much as you can about your proposed business. Ask questions. Join industry associations. Firstly, is there a need for the product or service you are going to offer?
• Accept the fact that starting a business always takes more money than you anticipate.
• Study successful competitors carefully (because they are successful for a reason).
• Don’t go into business with the sole objective of making a lot of money, it’s likely that you won’t immediately. Put service, quality and customer service first, eventually the money will follow.
• Be willing to work harder and longer than you have ever worked before. Forget the 8 hour day and the forty hour week.
• Find a lawyer, accountant, banker and insurance agent and confer with them as needed. Now is the time to develop these relationships.
• Keep complete and accurate records for tax purposes, this is especially relevant for your banking needs and your own guidance.
• Run your business yourself! Because No one will look after your property, money, business like you will.
Find a Mentor
The importance of having a mentor for your fashion business or any business in general is becoming an important industry standard. These mentors are designed to guide you through the often-challenging process of starting your fashion label and building you in addition to your business towards fashion success.
As a member of the Fashion Business Mentoring Program you will be guided through the stages of business planning, collection, design and development, sales and marketing. Helping you from the early steps all the way through to production and delivery therefore you will receive feedback and advice from industry professionals on your designs, business strategy, marketing, manufacturing/production and how to overcome various business challenges.
Each month you, with your mentor, will create an action plan for the month in addition to a checklist of tasks to keep you on track. In your progress meeting’s you will check your development with your mentor and work through any challenges you are having. With a personalised business mentor you can achieve success much faster than you can on your own!