As you work to create your fashion brand, you have to be more than just a designer. You must have a CEO mindset: that vital attitude that helps you deal with the “business” side of your fashion brand. How can you embrace a CEO mindset, especially if you’ve previously focused more on the artistic side of your plans? Try some of these strategies.
1. Create a clear vision and plan for success.
What does “success” look like to you, as the founder of a fashion brand? How do you know when you’ve “made it?” Clearly define your brand vision. Where do you want to be? What do you want your sales to look like? Do you eventually want to employ others as part of a big brand, or do you want to keep things small?
CEOs have a clear vision–and they revisit that vision on a regular basis. Your picture of success may look different in a year than it does right now–and it will certainly look different in five years. By regularly revisiting that vision and keeping your eyes on the future, you’ll find that you’re often in a better position to help your brand keep growing.
2. Break down your goals into specific steps you need to take (and then take them).
CEOs don’t just have a big-picture vision for their company. They also have a specific plan for achieving those goals. If you want to embrace that vital CEO mindset, take your big-picture goals and break them down into smaller steps.
What will it take for you to achieve your vision?
What are the major milestones along the way?
For example, one of your big-picture goals might be growing as an influencer in the fashion industry: to have people looking to your brand to see what’s coming next. You might want to generate followers online, connect with other influencers both inside and outside the industry, and create designs that fit specific criteria. When you have clear steps in place, you’re much more likely to achieve those goals.
Of course, simply breaking down the steps and knowing what you need to do next isn’t enough. You also have to be prepared to take those steps–and to do what it takes to help your brand continue to grow. If you aren’t following through on your plans, they’re just further dreams–and they won’t be enough to help you achieve your goals.
3. Get informed.
As you start your fashion brand, you need to have a great deal of knowledge about a number of things. Of course, you may already realize that you need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the fashion industry itself: the latest styles, favorite fabrics, and the designs that are hitting the industry with a vengeance.
It’s not just the fashion industry, however, that you need to get to know. You also need to get informed about best practices for business, choosing suppliers, working with employees, and even selecting the right distributors for your brand. You need to know marketing tactics and which ones are most likely to be successful. You need to know how to define your target audience.
In order to embrace that CEO mindset, you must be constantly learning and growing. You will need to wear many hats–perhaps both literal and metaphorical–as you grow your brand. By embracing that ongoing learning mindset, you’ll be able to put yourself in a position to grow your business more effectively. One way to do this is to RSVP for this LevelUp FASHION class , its a great way to stay informed about ways to grow your business.
4. Know when to delegate.
As you first launch your fashion brand, you may have to handle a lot of tasks on your own. You can’t just take on the “design and create” part of the process and ignore all the rest, or your brand won’t have the reach you might have hoped for. On the other hand, all CEOs have their own strengths and weaknesses.
You might struggle with marketing, or have a hard time managing accounting. You might not have the time needed to manage your own social media accounts. Know your strengths and weaknesses–and when you should delegate other tasks. As you launch your fashion brand, you have a lot of options. You can bring on employees to help you launch and grow your brand. You can use outsourced services for many of the tasks that you need help with the most. You can ask for help from the people within your network, especially as they’re helping you grow your reach.
The better you know your strengths and weaknesses–and the better you can embrace them–the better you can manage your brand overall. Remember, you can’t do it all–and knowing what you can and can’t do can free you up to do what you do best for your brand.
5. Don’t lose track of your budget.
Launching a fashion brand is exciting. There are a lot of decisions to be made and a lot of things that you need to do in order to create the reach you need. However, keeping your eye on your budget is critical.
Effective CEOs know what their budget looks like: what they have to spend, where they’re spending it, and where further income is coming from. They budget strictly and effectively so that they can keep the business running smoothly. They prioritize, and know when it may be necessary to cut corners. You may need to change your budget if your expenses are higher than anticipated or you have fewer sales than you’d planned for, but creating a solid budget can make it easier to keep your brand running smoothly.
Adopting a CEO mindset is a big change for many fashion designers, but it’s well worth it. By adopting these key strategies, you’ll find that you’re in a better position to grow your brand, expand your reach, and start to see the success you’ve dreamed of.