Over the past 10 years I have found myself shoe horned into a niche area of the Fashion Industry that works with small brands, new divisions of existing brands or Startups. Not that i’m complaining as this for me is by far the most exciting area to be in: Starting from scratch, the anticipation of success, a clean slate, what’s not to like?. But sometimes with this wave of optimism comes a blindness to reality, and this can bring a new idea to its knees very quickly.
This ‘blindness’ is not intentional, it’s a result of excitement and fearless ambition and can result in sometimes obvious oversights in your business plan or investor pitch.
So whether you are looking for investment, or just out on your own and looking to build a credible business, here are some nuggets of advise, from personal experience, that you should ask yourself.
Will you cause disruption in the market?
Is your idea already out there? Does your product already exist? If it does, is there enough of a point of difference in what you are offering? Do you have a unique twist on the product? Are you providing a service that doesn’t exist? Or of it does exist, will yours be better?
Is your idea scalable?
If you are manufacturing, are you limited on order size or can you scale up as the business grows? If you are selling, are you able to grow your sales team at a fast enough rate? Do you have the tools in place to manage this sudden growth if your idea becomes an instant hit on social media?
Who’s the competition?
Have you done your due diligence on the competition? Do you know your market? Do you know where you sit in price? Is there any competition? Be honest, there is nearly always someone else doing the same thing and this is a good thing. It means the market is already prepped for it. You don’t have to be the first, but you can be the best.
Are you superhero?
Do you have all the skills needed to bring this product to market? Are you a one man show? Are you the creative, the financial and the tech wizkid that will bring the world to it’s knees or are you just one cog in the machine? If you are the solo entrepreneur, do you have support in all the other areas to launch or do you need to hire? Be honest with capabilities. Know your strengths and do not be afraid to job-out a skill set, it could save your business.
Are you detail obsessed?
Have you looked at every aspect of your product, the manufacturing, the supply chain, the distribution, the sales, the marketing and the design? Have you thought about a realistic timescale for all this to fall into place? Do you know exactly how long each aspect takes and how much it will cost? Have you thought about how you will survive financially for the first year bearing in mind that most of your contractors and manufacturers will have payment terms which are more than 30days. These are hard questions but they are necessary.
So ask yourself these questions, line up the answers you have and find answers to those you don’t and you will have that air of confidence that will carry you through the launch of your product.
My book, Blue is the new Black is a how to guide for the fashion industry. My consultancy co-lab54, finds product development solutions for fashion companies large and small.
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