Tough times require tough leaders.
From being in close communication with our members inside the Membership Program and our coaching clients, we’ve asked what works and what doesn’t at the moment.
We’ve interviewed them on what they do well, and here is a list of actions you can do right now that can have a positive effect on your business.
The common denominator for the brands that survive and even grow has been agility, pivoting, testing, and serving.
The future is uncertain for all, but you can still control how you deal with and what you do about the situation.
The intention of this list
The intention is pretty simple: To help you create more with less. To implement the “low-hanging fruit” that can grow your customer base and increase your revenue.
As an apparel entrepreneur, you want to work smart, effectively, and efficiently. You want to be one step ahead instead of constantly putting out fires and feeling overwhelmed.
We have seen the 14 actions WORK! When implemented right, they can work for you too.
You want to have a thriving business, with loyal recurring customers. That’s why we have put together this easy-to-understand e-guide. To give you tactics that WORK! To give you clarity on what actions to take right away, and get RESULTS.
01. Plan, plan, plan
Without a solid plan to action, you will have a hard time scaling your brand.
When you started your brand, you had a vision, a goal. That goal might change or might stay rock solid. What should be flexible is the way you reach your goal. Once a year (preferably every quarter), sit down and plan ahead. Reverse engineer your goal and set milestones in each quarter that you need to reach, with actual due dates.
And always have a plan B, you never know what might happen. The apparel industry moves pretty fast, and you need to stay flexible and adapt to the changing market. Plus, unpredictable things can happen, and you want to have a contingency plan if it does.
2. Offer an exceptional customer user experience
Online is where it’s at! Now more than ever. Fashion is a $3 trillion industry. The worldwide revenue for e-commerce is expected to grow to $713 billion in 2022. That means huge opportunities for brands that have a great omnichannel experience.
Your website should be up to date, mobile/device-friendly, user-friendly, fast, safe, entertaining, and optimized for shopping.
Where do people go to search for things? Online!!! This means that you want to make sure your website is structured and maxed out with content to feed the SEO machine. Every single text that is on your website should be strategically written to work in junction with and support your SEO.
The more text, the better, that is how the algorithm works. That’s why it’s important to have a detailed About You page, a blog section with weekly blog posts, and very detailed product description texts.
When someone searches for a specific product, you want Google to show your website first.
04. Add video everywhere!
Video is the highest-ranking content on all platforms. Make video a priority! You can use video in every single touchpoint with your customers on all platforms. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just get it done and put it online. You can create product description videos, you can introduce your team, you can do behind the scenes. All this will create a deeper connection with your customers.
05. Secure and Diverse payment plans
If you are selling online, it means you can ship everywhere in the world. Depending on what country your customer shops from, they are used to their own payment system or at least a very common and secure payment system. Make sure you are having several big and well-known payment partners for your online shop so that customers feel safe to shop with you.
Also, give your customers alternatives to shop on credit. This can, by the way, be a completely different business model on its own, that brings in more revenue for you.
06. Implement technology – invest in programs, tools, and tech for automation
Think about it like this – your brand grows, you can only do so much and your team is already working on all cylinders. There is a point where you need to work smarter, not harder, or bring even more people on board. Look at different tools that can be implemented for automation. This will save you time and decrease or eliminate human errors.
Here are a couple of examples of where you can implement systems:
- Product development and supply chain
- Customer Support
- Warehouse and logistics
07. Implement systems – keep organized
The more your brand grows, the more important it is to keep organized. Running an organized brand means saving time, saving money, and every person in your team working in a relaxed manner. You can use free tools like Asana, Trello, or Google Docs. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Implement systems in areas like product development, add timelines, leads, marketing, inventory tracking, and whatever projects you have going on in your apparel business.
You want everybody to be on board with what needs to be done, and in case someone gets sick or is on vacation, the rest of the team can cover up for that person without a glitch.
Increase your customer base & grow your sales!
Eliminate a lot of the time, stress, and mistakes in your business.
Take your products to a level that you couldn’t achieve on your own at this point in time.
Create a leading product in your niche.
Elevate your income and yourself as a brand owner.
Grow your brand to increase your revenue, and reach more people.
08. Collaborations – customer leverage
This is the nr one thing that can have a massive and fairly quick impact on your brand’s growth and an increase in customer numbers.
The fastest way to increase your customer base is by teaming up with other brands. By collaborating with other non-competing but complementary brands, you will leverage their customer base. You will invite them into your world and eventually make them into happy recurring customers.
09. Product test and test again
So many products on the market are released way too early. Way before they are market-ready, finished, and are actually great products. A finished product should have the right material for the intended purpose of the product, the correct fit, and the proper making.
You can only achieve this through rigorous product development and testing. Test, iterate, test again, and iterate until the products are finished. You can not have a long-lasting, successful business with crappy products – period.
10. Optimize your margins
So many brands don’t do this enough. We get it, it’s a constant hustle, it’s a constant battle because seasons change, currencies fluctuate, material prices change. But every season you need to be engineering your product prices, on every single product in your collection, to ensure that you are making money in your business. Of course, some of your products will not have top margins, but they could always be improved, even a couple of %. And those couple of % can have a massive impact on your bottom line.
11. Introduce bundles and up-sells
This is a no-brainer, yet so many brands miss out on this.
You, for sure, have several products that fit great together – create a bundle with those products at a stilly reduced price. It’s a deal for the shopper and a cash win for you.
The same goes for upsells – always offer and present higher priced products so that the customer can buy more from you.
12. Testimonials and reviews – leverage those as much as you can in every marketing outlet
People want what other people want. It’s basic human psychology. Make it into a habit of asking for testimonials. Posting them in all your channels, to assure the people browsing your webshop that a buy is a perfect idea.
Also, make it easy for customers to leave reviews and testimonials.
13. Consolidate your supply chain
Many young brands have way too many manufacturers for the number of products. We are NOT saying that you should put all eggs in one basket. But by consolidating your manufacturers, you can eventually have better product prices and better deliveries. You have a completely different negotiation status, and you can have higher quality on your garments. It’s worth reviewing, you can save quite a lot of money by doing this.
14. Constant learning and evolving!
This industry that we are in is NEVER standing still. Meaning you need to be evolving, learning, and growing with it. What worked 2 years ago might be old news today. Hence, as a brand leader, you need to keep a sharp head, educate yourself on the latest in business strategy, and get inputs from people that have done what you are trying to do. Get mentors, coaching, join membership groups, join global industry networks, whatever works for you. Just get different inputs and angles because thinking outside of the box is the most crucial thing in today’s economy.
BONUS: Mindset mastery – Get rid of limiting beliefs
Different level, different devil – is what they say, and it’s totally true. When you run and grow an apparel business, you will encounter new situations where you have limiting beliefs and fears. These are the exact things that might hold you back from making bold, brave, phenomenal moves that can grow your business. You can either play it safe, or you can play to win – those are 2 very different things and require different mindsets.
That’s why working on your mindset and your habits are more important than you think. It might sound woo-woo, but if you want to get to the next level, you have to up-level your mind too.
We KNOW these 15 strategies work because these are the tactics many brands in our community have implemented and have gotten great results with.
Test them out and see where you can take your business next!