Use these checklists to get and stay prepared for business in the industry
Get a breakdown of costs for getting your business off the ground
Are you really ready to get started? Do a self analysis to be sure
Do you need to rethink your business branding? Learn more
Use this analysis to find the weak and strong areas of your business practices
Do a quick check to see if your processes are productive
BUSINESS STARTUP | INITIAL STEPS
If you're thinking about starting a business, you probably already have an idea of what your want to sell, but may not know how. Before doing anything else, do an online search and look for companies that sell the type of apparel you want to sell (your competition).
By doing this, you get a good idea of the current trends as well as finding services that are not available in the current market. If you believe you can provide better quality, or you discover a market that hasn't been tapped into, then you've got your idea and your ready to start your business.
WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN
What is the purpose of this business?
Who is my target customer?
What are my overall goals?
LOOK AT YOUR FINANCES
Do you have savings or will you borrow to get started?
If you borrow, are you borrowing from family and friends, or will you need an investor?
Is your personal credit in good standing? (This will impact your ability to get business credit)
If you have savings, what is your end goal?
Do you plan on leaving your job or will you keep your job for consistent income?
Calculate costs to ensure that you have enough capital available to run operations
CHOOSE A STRUCTURE
Before you can start the process of registering your business, you'll need to choose a business structure. The structure you choose impacts your personal and tax liability.
To become an official business, you'll need to register the business name in your state. Before going through the registration process, do a check to ensure that the name is available. Check with your state to ensure you've completed all of the required documentation.
Along with registering your business name, you'll also want to look into applying for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) at IRS.gov. If you're a sole proprietor, you can use your social security number, since you can file the business on your personal taxes.
Different structures offer various forms of liability coverage, but if you're a sole proprietor or even a certain type of partnership, you're not covered if something happens that requires you to pay for damages. Insurance is a good way to stay covered and minimize the impact of possible damages and expenses.
BUILD A STRONG TEAM*
If you're a sole proprietor, you may not work with a "team" but there should still be others of the same mind set within your network. Building a strong team impacts the level of quality, efficiency and proficiency needed to run operations effectively.
Get a better idea of possible costs related to starting a small business
Get an overview of costs for starting a wholesale business
COST TO RESELL
Learn how to start a reselling business for free
WHITE LABEL STARTUP
Learn more about the costs of starting a white label business
COST TO START RETAIL
Learn more about the costs of starting a retail business
PRIVATE LABEL STARTUP
Get the general costs to start a private label company
SELF ANALYSIS | ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
With an honest self-analysis, you can learn your true motivation. Your motivation plays a pivotal role in how you'll treat your future customers as well as how well your audience relates to your product.
Learning what makes you tick, gives your a very good understanding of steps you'll need to take to grow your business. Wanting to run a business simply for making more money or being tired of your job is notable, but it's not enough to sustain you when times are tough.
To stay relevant, the best motivation is the act of service. Are you solving a problem? Are you making a current process better? These are the factors that will draw new customers and keep existing customers.
UP NEXT > Success Analysis
What are your goals?
What is your business' identity?
Does your product create a solution?
Who is your competition?
Do you understand the industry?
What is your marketing plan?
How will you balance life and business?
Will you need to learn or brush up on business skills?
Knowing your end goal will help you in knowing the steps needed to reach that goal. If your goal is to only sell a couple thousand dollars worth of inventory per year, your goals are not going to match someone that wants to have a franchise one day.
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS IDENTITY?
What message do you want to send? What image do you want to portray? Knowing who you are in this industry will help you maintain the continuity of your brand while allowing you to reach your target audience, giving you more opportunities for growth potential.
DOES YOUR PRODUCT CREATE A SOLUTION?
There isn't much buzz for a new product that's already readily and easily available in the current market, so creating a product that adds a needed value is one way to stand out.
Take some time to research the things that customers wish they could buy and cultivate your findings to offer a product that doesn't currently exist or offer a product that's better than what's currently available.
WHO ARE YOUR COMPETITORS?
Knowing your competition is half the battle. Research other sellers in the market you want to enter into and look at what they currently offer as well as what they don't offer. By doing this, you can find weaknesses in their product line or their services. Use this information to help outline practices you can improve upon.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE INDUSTRY?
Do you already have a general understanding of the clothing industry, or is this your first time selling apparel? Knowing the market is key to understanding trends, and marketing strategies.
If you don't already know the industry, it may be a good idea to start on a smaller platform like Poshmark or Depop.
OVERVIEW OF POSSIBLE EXPENSES | PREPARE FOR COSTS
When first laying out the groundwork for your business, here are some expenses you'll need to evaluate at some point in our business career.
HOW WILL YOU RAISE CAPITAL?
Do you have savings? Are you employed?
Do you have family or friends that are willing to invest?
Do you want support through crowdfunding or do you want to work with an investor?
HOW WILL YOU PAY FOR DAILY OPERATIONS?
Does the business provide steady income or do you need employment?
If you are employed, do you plan on keeping your job? If you plan on leaving your job, what's your time frame and how much do you plan to save within that time frame?
HOW'S YOUR BALANCE?
How will you balance household expenses and business expenses?
Are you separating business expenses from home expenses?
Do you have separate accounts and tax folders for your home and business expenses?
HOW IS YOUR CREDIT?
Will you need to improve your credit before qualifying for financing? Are you taking the necessary steps to build your credit as you grow the business?
DO YOU NEED TO RETHINK BRANDING?
Your branding is the face of your company. Therefore you'll want your presentation to be eye catching and appear professional.
Sometimes when first starting, a small business may use graphics and text that doesn't match the company's desired image. As you grow, you'll want your company's image to improve as well.
DOES YOUR IMAGE MATCH YOUR MISSION STATEMENT?
Is your business name about love, but your colors are blue and brown?
Is your logo an image of a car, but you sell shoes?
HAVE YOU RECEIVED NEGATIVE FEEDBACK ABOUT YOUR IMAGE?
If you've done a market study or simply got negative reviews regarding your brand or even store image, take note of who the feedback is from. If issues are coming from your targeted audience, you'll want to take a step back and revamp your delivery
Throughout your business career, there will be times when you have to decide on the the efficiency of a process.
A process, or gains and losses analysis will allow you to discover where you need to invest more and where you may be investing too much.
These types of analyses will guide you in creating better courses of action when it comes to services and resources needed to run a smoother operation.
What are you currently doing to improve on processes, and what can you do to make them better?
Are there processes that can be streamlined for more efficient services?
Is there a better way to do what you're already doing for the same amount of investment?
Is investing in a new process better for growth, and what is the cost comparison?
What are your financial goals?
Are you getting a significant return on your investment (including inventory and services)?
Are you spending enough on advertising, or are you satisfied with your current exposure?
Will you need financing?Will you need to work on your credit to qualify for financing?
Are you working on your credit, or have you reached your credit goals?
What practices can you do to cut expenses?
Do you have a budgeting plan in place for balancing expenses?
Do you have a plan for balancing home and business expenses?
Are you able to handle daily operations, or will you need assistance (an employee)?
If an employee is needed, how will you budget for the expense?