Organizing your fashion business is key for success. As a consultant in the fashion industry I work with many start ups and small businesses to help them launch and build a fashion brand. So many people come to me with little or no experience in the industry. However, they do have a dream and that is to have their own fashion company. They have so many questions when they come to me. As they lay the groundwork frequently they face feelings of overwhelm. That is when I help them to organize themselves. Here are 6 tips to keep overwhelm at bay.
- Set up your workspace for success. – Where you work is as important as how you work. Having a dedicated area for your business is vital to productivity. If everything is in one place you don’t have to find your things before you start work. Everything is right there. It also reduces distractions and aids you in staying focused. Make sure your office is properly set up. A messy and cluttered workspace creates chaos. Good storage makes a big difference. My mother who was an organizing genius used to say “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Eliminate things you don’t use. Still have those thank you cards from 5 years ago or receipts from 20 years ago. Time to go. One of my favorite organizing tools is a label maker. Try it. I think it really helps to create dedicated spaces for things.
- File your emails – I have files in my email app for all categories of things I work on. Whether it is a clients folder or a marketing folder. I file an email after I have finished the task in the appropriate folder. Handling emails a few times a day instead of all day long makes a difference in getting things done efficiently. Even if I just have to answer back. Once it is read and attended to I file it away. I rarely have more than 25 open emails at a time.
- Plan for your business – Making a business plans requires to plot your course and focus your efforts. The business plan provides a roadmap from which to operate.. You wouldn’t go on a long driving trip without a map; think of your business plan as your map. You have two limited resources when you start a business; time and money. A plan will tell you how to spend each.
- Mind map – A mind map is a useful organizational technique that involves creating a visual diagram to capture and structure information, ideas, or concepts. I like to use it as a brain dump for all you need to do. The main box is your business. Then I make sub boxes for each branch of the business. For example: production, marketing, design, sales, finances, etc. Then I create branches for the tasks I need to accomplish in each category. This way it frees your mind and insures you don’t forget anything. It is a living, breathing, and always changing tool for your to do lists.
- Do most important things first – Stephen Covey wrote the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” One of my favorite business books. In the book he discusses “Habit #3: Put First Things First. Prioritize and achieve your most important goals instead of constantly reacting to urgencies.” I always urge my clients to do things that move the needle forward. Sometimes they find themselves working diligently on aspects of their businesses when they have other tasks that will have more impact on their companies. Make sure you are always doing important tasks first.
- Time and action calendar – Planning what you need to do each year, season, month & week is critical. Our business is run by the calendar. We ship spring from January to March and subsequently the next seasons on the appropriate months. Even if we are making season-less clothing we still have to ship when customers buy. In order for that to happen we need to do certain tasks at certain times of the year. Coming up with a T&A and keeping pace with it will lessen a lot of stress in your work life.
Being organized saves time, money, and stress. So set up yourself for success in your fashion business.