Fashion Business Owner Musings: Hope is Not a Strategy

spacerI’m hoping to launch my fashion business in a few months.

I’m hoping to get into a few new stores.

I’m hoping to increase my sales online.

I’m hoping to find an intern.

That’s a lot of hoping.

I’m a big fan of hope. Hope is a great thing. It’s a tool that helps keeps people motivated, gives people something to look forward to, and strengthens beliefs and commitment.

But you know what hope isn’t? A strategy for growing a fashion business.

Now, let’s back up a second. I know what you’re thinking, President Obama used hope as a strategy to win the US presidency, twice. I know that. (It was great). But I want to be clear, the strategy he used was instilling hope in others.  That works. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about using hope as your strategy for getting things done.

When you “hope” something will work in your fashion business, it often means that you haven’t actually done much to make it happen.

Hope doesn’t come into play in a business until you’ve exhausted all the actionable tasks you have at your disposal for getting things done.

You get to hope something happens. You have to make something happen.

Geez, this isn’t actually meant to be a lecture. 🙂

I was thinking of it more as a reminder that hope is not enough.

You can’t hope your way into new stores.

You need to research buyers, follow them on social media and engage, sign up for the store’s email list to learn more about them, go visit the store, talk to the salesperson, see what brands they are currently stocking, observe their customers, perfect your pitch, follow up, follow up more, try again with a fresh pitch in the future if necessary.

See how hope is not the strategy there?

You can hope each step of that strategy works. You can hope you are successful. But you can’t hope your way into a new store.

I’m talking about this because I have conversations with designers every day. And sometimes (ok, often) I hear things like “I hope to launch this summer but I haven’t found my fabrics yet and I’m not sure how to fund the business.”

So, why do you hope to launch in the summer?

You should hope to get your act together. Start taking action and seeing progress. You don’t hope to launch with no funds and no fabric.

I’m saying all this because if it sounds like you at all, I want you to understand the difference between hoping for something and doing something. I want you to have success in your goals and see your vision come to life. And for that to happen, you need to do a lot more than hope.

OK, maybe this is a lecture. 😉

So, what will you do TODAY to stop hoping and start doing?

Lots of love and encouragement,

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Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!