See if you are cut out for this or not!
Running your own business isn’t a 9 to 5 job. It is not the hours you spend in the office that matters. What matters is what you produce. You are your own boss and you need to make it all happen. You will live and breathe your brand, working 24/7. All people have great ideas. The differentiator is that the entrepreneur makes them
happen. It will require you to put in the work and follow through on your dream. Are you cut out for this or not? Is it really what you want?
You will be your own boss, no one will be there to make sure you put in the work and stick to your deadlines. Focus on your dream, your vision and mission of the brand and don’t let anyone or anything get in your way.
Here are some questions that can help you see if you are cut out for this or not.
1. Why do you want to start an apparel brand?
Starting an apparel brand takes commitment, time and money. You will be eating, breathing, and living your brand. Research, ask around, talk to people who have started a brand to see what they have gone through. Is that something you want? Try to envision how it is to have an apparel business. The more you know the better you can prepare. Be realistic, you need to be really ready when you start.
2. Do you have what it takes? Do you have passion, ambition, and determination?
Without passion, to truly love what you do, you will not have the mental power to grind. You need to really, really WANT this, not just talk about it with your friends because it’s cool to be an entrepreneur. Ask yourself the above questions multiple times, before you start.
3. Do you take action when you have an idea or are you just a dreamer?
It takes some serious action to start a brand. To DO, execute on every little step involved. If you know that you are usually a dreamer, find an accountability friend or group. They will help you stick to your schedule. Everybody has ideas. The differentiator is: the ones succeeding execute on their ideas.
4. Does making a decision come easy and quick to you?
When you start out, unless you do it with a partner, you are usually the one making decisions. There will be tons of things to make decisions about and if you can’t make up your mind pretty quickly on what you want, things will be delayed and you will fall behind. And usually, it doesn’t really matter if you choose one way or another, the important thing is that you pick something and go with it.
5. Are you good at planning and organizing?
We are not saying you need to be extreme about it but as mentioned above, there will be so much going on that you will need to keep track of things. A good idea would be to start from the beginning with implementing systems and processes.
6. How will starting a brand affect your family and friends?
Starting out will consume your time, energy, focus, and money. It could be a good idea to talk to the closest people to you, about how this will affect them. If they know what you will go through, it will be easier for them to support you and to understand your situation. Who knows, some of them might even want to help out. But in the end, it is about you and it is your decision.
7 . How well do you cope with stress and long working hours?
Undoubtedly there will be more to do than you will have time for. Planning is key. If you don’t take care of yourself by eating properly and sleeping enough hours you will not have the energy to work. Stressing out because you have to much to do won’t help. The only thing that helps is to actually do what you have on your To-Do list. Focus on the important things, that will actually move your brand forward, and drop the dumb stuff.
8. Are you OK with working by yourself or do you need a partner?
Most of the successful designers/entrepreneurs out there have a partner or mentor. Someone that will complement you and your competence. When you have a partner you can always discuss issues with each other. How do you want it? Before getting a partner you need to ask yourself what your strengths and weaknesses are and what areas you need to develop. That way it will be clearer on what you need in the other person involved.
9. Do you have the self-discipline needed?
When it’s time to grind and hustle, it’s time to grind and hustle. You will have to put in the work to later reap the success. There are tons of tools out there to keep you away from all the distractions. Make sure you know what sucks out your time and seek tools to prevent it.
10. Do you have an interest in the field you want to position your brand in?
Depending on what category you want to place your brand in, you will need to have a personal interest in what you do. Without the interest, you will have a hard time motivating yourself to do the work. If the interest is there you will be your own customer and you will know what you need and want.
11.Who is your ideal customer?
When you know exactly who your customer is, you will know, in all areas of your business what decisions you need to make.
12. Do you have something unique to offer?
There are tons and tons of brands out there, what makes yours stand out in the crowd? The fewer competitors you will have the better.
13. What problem does your product/brand solve?
Saying: People will always need clothes, is not a good answer. Go deep! What is the customer need for your products and brand? What will get easier for the customers once your products are available?
14. What does your product do for your customer?
Is it helping them in any way? Is it helping them perform better? Is it making them feel a certain way?
15. Have you done thorough market research in order to find your niche?
When you know the market you also know where there is a gap. If you can fill that gap, you’re in business.
16. Have you spoken to potential customers to see if there is a need for your intended brand/product?
If no one wants your products, you will never have a business.
17.What price segment will your brand fall into?
This is directly related to the values and positioning of your brand. If you’re aiming for mass-market then the price and product should reflect exactly that, otherwise those customers will not buy your products because it will be too expensive. Keep in mind also that the cheaper the products, the less margin you get. And if you end up with a small margin you will need to sell many more times the amount to reach the funds needed to keep your business going.
18. Who will be your 3 main competitors?
Knowing their offer will be important for you. When you know their offer and price points you know what you put out there in order to differentiate yourself. You don’t risk to be number 2 or 3. You’ll know what NOT to do, because they already offer that. It can also be good to see how easy it’s been for them to attract customers. Is there a big need for the type of product?
19. Why should the customers buy your products instead of your competitor’s?
With the answer from the above question, you can easily make a product offer that stands out. What else in your business plan is different? If too many things are similar, go over it again until you stand out.
20. What type of legal structure will your business have?
Study the different forms and see which one suits you best. Corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship?
21. How much money do you need and where will you get it, to get started?
This depends on how big you want to start out. Will you start with a small collection with a couple of styles or will you go for the big bang? Whichever you pick, you will need much more than you have calculated with. Talk to the bank or your family. Are investors, angels or Kickstarter an option?
22. How will you handle financial insecurity?
Do you have a family that is dependent on you? Do you have enough saved money to keep you going for a while without any income? Remember, the product development cycles are typically a year long.
23. Do you have the experience needed? If not, what external help do yo need? Who do you want in your team?
Make an evaluation of your competence and see what you have and what areas you need help with. Check your network for people who can help you out. What exactly do you need to get you where you want to be?
Some tough questions here so great job! With the answers from the above questions, you are well prepared to move on.
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