The world of business is full of lessons to learn, and the fashion business can be ruthless. Promoting your work is essential if you are going to grow, but it is not a simple thing to do.
In this guide, we’re looking at both personal and business budgeting tips that can help you to keep your business running healthily whether it is a brand new business or you have been trading for years.
We live in the age of the “solopreneur” and the “gig economy”. Starting a business is more accessible than it ever has been and there are plenty of ways you can create a successful fashion business. Two things you absolutely need to do are to keep the business financially viable and to promote the business to ensure you are growing and making sales. Our tips can help with both.
Plan and Budget
Everyone will give you advice like this when you start out in the world of business, but there are multiple reasons why this is one of the best pieces of advice.
Budgeting is not always fun. Keeping all of your expenses in a spreadsheet and working out how much you need to save and what financial sacrifices you might need to make to keep your business going is definitely not most people's’ idea of why they get into business in the first place. However, very few businesses succeed without a solid financial plan.
Working out your monthly expenses, as well as any other expenditure that you might come across, can be a good way to work out what you need to make to break even, and some marketing costs might only be wise if you are making a fair amount of money already.
Of course, when you get started, you will have to do some marketing, so these costs need to be budgeted for. There is a delicate balancing act.
You need to keep growing as a business, but it can be tempting to throw everything you’ve got at one opportunity. While a level of risk can be really helpful, it is not a good idea to overstretch your business or your personal life. This counts for your time, but also your finances.
If you are looking to buy some advertising, for instance, you might find that there is an opportunity in a big fashion publication, but think about whether you can cope with the demand (influx of sales) that may happen. If you can, consider how confident you are that your marketing campaign will work, and whether the business can survive even if you spend this money.
A lot of people pump too much into a fashion business hoping to make it grow, without getting some of the fundamentals right.
Make the Most of Events for Promotion
In the fashion industry, shows and events are some of the best ways to get the word out there about your products. Industry showcase events and fashion shows can be hugely influential, and big industry players are usually in attendance.
You may even find that smaller, local events can help you to build a name for yourself, especially in the early days of your business. Rather than worrying too much about global scale to start with, just try and get a plan right for making money and building contacts at events. Networking is vital, and some of these events don’t cost a huge amount to get involved in, as people might be paying for entry. You might be one of the attractions at these events.
Networking events might cost a little more to attend but if you have a strategy and a good product they can be cost-effective.
Be Active Online
Having an active website, social media, and loads of photographs of your products doesn’t usually cost a lot of money. This is another way that you can promote your business, and it often doesn’t cost anything at all.
A lot of people find that visual platforms like Instagram are amazing promotions for their products. According to Hootsuite, “130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts every month”. You might be just one correctly-used hashtag from getting someone to see and buy your product.
Blogging, tweeting, even sharing images on social media like Instagram or Facebook, are all effective ways to get the word out there, and rather than requiring you to invest a lot of money, the investment they require is time and effort.
By blogging a lot, and syndicating your content on social media and even business platforms like LinkedIn, you can increase your reputation as well as showing what products you have to offer.
Tap Into Funding For Growth
When a business reaches a certain level of popularity, the next stage for growth probably requires a certain level of financing.
For example, if you have made your business successful locally but you now want to go national. How can you possibly find the funds to do this?
A lot of venture capitalists will be happy to take a look at your business. These are the arrangements whereby someone will give you a financial investment in return for a percentage of your business. If you’ve ever watched “Shark Tank” you’ll get the idea.
If you don’t want to go down the route of finding a venture capitalist, you could also look at crowdfunding. Many businesses have made a huge success of raising cash in this way, which can raise the funds to go to the next level in return for the promise of products or other rewards for anyone who invests.
A huge percentage of businesses that start also fail. You’ll want to do everything you can to avoid your business experiencing the same fate. This means that it is a good idea to stick to a strict budget and make solid financial plans when it comes to promoting your business idea. Growth can still be achieved without overstretching your finances.
About Jim Hughes
Jim Hughes is a content marketer who has significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business topics. At the moment he works as content manager in OpenCashAdvance.com.