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Many emerging designers contact me after a couple of years into their businesses.  They start their businesses and then realize there is a lot they don’t know and they aren’t getting anywhere.  Most times it is because they are inexperienced and don’t know what they should be doing.  So here are 5 tips on what you need to know before you get started.

  1. What makes your product special? – There is a lot of product out there so you really need a reason to exist.  Figure out what that is and than be able to articulate that to whoever you speak to.
  2. Who is your competition?  – If you know who your product would hang with than you will have an easier time figuring out your competitive advantage.  You will also be able to figure out who you customer is and what stores you should sell to based on who your competition sells to.
  3. How are you going to produce your product? – Knowing this in advance is important so you will be able to price your line, make samples, meet minimums, allow enough lead time for production, etc.  You don’t want to take orders and then first have to figure out how to get them made.
  4. How are you going to sell your product?  – I have had people contact me with thousands of units on the shelf without a clue of how to sell it.  This is something you should know in order to put in place the strategies and activities needed to be done as your are starting your business.
  5. Remember cash is king. – There is no magic number of how much money you will need to start your business.  This is something you will need to figure out when you do your business plan.  But watching every penny is important.  You need cash in the bank for the unexpected challenges and opportunities that come up.

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Maria Pesin

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