How can a business plan help you succeed as a fashion entrepreneur?

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

I find when speaking to possible new fashion entrepreneurs that they don’t always have a business plan.  Or they do but it’s very basic.  Starting a business before doing a plan is like putting the cart before the horse. The worse thing I see is when start-ups make samples before they make a plan.

Business plans are a map that you put together to figure out what steps you need to take in order to be successful in your journey. You wouldn’t start a trip without directions on how to get there? So why would you undertake a new business without a plan on how to achieve your goals? As a new business wouldn’t it make sense to do everything you could to raise the odds for success? 

There is so much that goes into starting a business.  Most new entrepreneurs don’t know what it entails.  They don’t even know what their first steps should be.  By having a plan you ensure that you are doing first things first. That is why I advocate for a business plan.  It is a critical step in increasing your chances of success.

One of the great things about putting together a business plan is that it forces you to answer questions that flesh out your business concept. If you look at a template for a good plan it will ask you questions about your vision, your customer, expenses, mission statement, product, and more.

I work with many startups that find that the process of making a plan clarifies their concept.  It also gives them a clear-cut guide on how to proceed. They find that they save time and money and reduce mistakes. This is why making a business plan so valuable. A lot of your messaging comes from your plan.  Especially from your vision and mission statements. 

Some people think business plans are a waste of time.  Their reasoning is nothing goes as planned, so why take the time to plan?  While that is true there is still an extremely strong case for it.

A good business asks questions about what your business stands for, your market differentiation, marketing plans, etc.  It also helps you figure out the financials of the business. By making a plan you come up with the structure of your business and the strategies of how you execute.

If you don’t make a plan your business is at the mercy of the way the wind is blowing.  Reactive as opposed to proactive.While things will come up that you didn’t plan on or expect, you can always course adjust.  Which is exactly the best way to run your business?  Truthfully you don’t have a crystal ball so how can you possibly plan for every contingency.  But, plan you must.  Then as you learn what works and what doesn’t you can refine your plan

A business plan can help a company assess future opportunities, choose few, and then commit to a particular course of action. By committing to a small few opportunities, all other options are effectively marginalized and the company is aligned to focus on key deliverables.

Yesterday I spoke with a potential client.  I was impressed with how he operated his business.  He had a vision for his company and stayed focused on that vision.  If an opportunity came in that was not part of his plan he did not allow himself to be seduced by it.  Instead he concentrated on the business that he planned on pursuing.  His business has been growing dramatically in a very short time.

Business planning is an essential activity, regardless of the stage of business you’re at. The very process of producing a business plan enables a fashion entrepreneur to give due consideration to the various factors that mesh together to create the opportunity they are seeking to explore, as well as the resources required and the key drivers needed for success.

 Since many of my clients have asked me for a business plan, I decided to develop one myself.  I have designed a business plan template for fashion brands that covers mostly everything you need to plan for (unless your business has more unique parts I might not have thought of.  At which point it is easy to add to)

All you do is fill in the template and out comes you business plan.  Nothing could be easier.

If you are interested click here.

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About the Author

Maria Pesin knows fashion, especially the business side of the fashion industry. Do you know how Manolo Blahnik got his start in the industry? How he leveraged a paltry 3 grand into one of the world’s most famous luxury brands? While she doesn’t take credit for Manolo’s success, Maria has walked a similar path on numerous occasions. The world of fashion is not silicon valley, and it has nothing to do with Madison Avenue marketing. In this industry there is ALWAYS room for something new and exciting, but you have to have your ducks in a row. If that’s what you need, believe me, Maria is the General Patton of fashion ducks!

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