I’m always reading about chasing your dreams. And I think that’s great. We should all have dreams and we should all chase them. But the problem is that too many people stop there. They confuse dreams for goals. Goals have plans attached to them. Goals are things you work hard to achieve. Goals are not wishy-washing thoughts in your head or things you “hope” to do. Nope.
I think where a lot of fashion designers (and other creative entrepreneurs) get hung up is on the idea that in order to create a business plan, you need to have a lengthy, involved, research-heavy, numbers-focused roadmap that list every last detail of what you want to do and how you want to do it.
Well, since I don’t believe in roadmaps, I like to emphasize with my designers that you don’t have to take this approach to a business plan. You can create a one page outline of what you are going to build, with some details on how you think you’ll build it, and then get moving on making things happen.
I’m not saying it requires no research or thought at all, I’m simply saying that it doesn’t need to be the giant bible of detail that some people think.
Remember, your business will evolve as it grows. You will learn new things about yourself, your customer, our partners, and business in general. If you spend too much time meticulously planning something before doing anything else, you’ll find that a lot of that time wasted, since nothing really works out exactly as you planned anyway.
Why are you starting this business and what do you value as a brand?
Who you think your work will appeal to the most and why?
Your StartUp Money
How will you finance the start of your business? Do you have a savings? Will you be working a day job? Will you be borrowing from your friends or family? And how much will you need? Are you making your samples yourself? What will short run production run you?
Will you be creating traditional seasonal collections? Will you be doing a few new pieces each month? Will you be doing one annual collection with a few capsule or specialty pieces throughout the year? Will you have a few signature styles that you introduce in new colors or fabrics over the year? Decide how you see your production working.
Your Revenue Streams
Will you be selling wholesale? Will you be selling on your website? Will you be selling via drop ship? Will you hosting trunk shows and pop up shops? Will you be participating in markets? And how much can you retail and wholesale your work for? What will the market pay?
Your Early-Stage Marketing
How will you reach your customers in the beginning. Independent and emerging fashion brands rarely have a big bank roll to get things started. So you have to have a few ideas on how you plan to reach people. Try to be a little detailed here. Don’t just write “social media”, think a bit about how social media will be leveraged.
If you start with getting the above information down on paper, you will feel a little less lost. You’ll use this outline as you start the business to remind you of what you’re building and why, and to make decisions for your business as you grow.