Here’s a huge myth about running a fashion business…
“What you need to succeed is a FANTASTIC creative idea”.
It certainly HELPS to have a great creative idea. But it only helps, it’s no guarantee. Great ideas in and of themselves go nowhere. You need a plan and a way to implement the plan strategically.
The mindset of waiting for the “perfect concept”, the “right time”, of not being sure your idea will work – I hear these all the time. Well, guess what? NO ONE knows if their idea will work! No one. That’s what being an entrepreneur is all about – feeling the fear and moving forward anyway. And it’s a real shame to use this mindset and these as an excuse to NOT take and action and move your business forward. These excuses will keep you exactly where you are right now, maybe even wondering why you’re not more successful. I know because I’ve been there too. I’ve made these same excuses!
Most successful entrepreneurs take an idea that’s already been done and do it better.
Truth is, most successful entrepreneurs take an idea that’s already been done and do it better. They don’t care about having the “perfect” idea that no one’s seen before.
Take Facebook, for instance. As the story goes, the original idea came from some other Harvard students that Mark Zuckerberg knew in college. These other guys came up with an idea and they even made a business called ConnectU. Ever heard of it? Probably not, because the way they did it just didn’t work too well.
Zuckerberg took an idea and MADE IT BETTER. He made it his own and he DID IT. He actually did the work to take the product to market in a big, big way. No dorm room chat for him, he did what it took to get his product to market.
The point is, you never need to invent or create completely from scratch. It’s enough to take an good idea and make it your own. Just do it better, faster, cheaper, make it more unique, something different. Groupon may have been first but that doesn’t stop Google from getting in the “daily deal” business.
Now before you get all “I’m an artist” on me, I am NOT saying to rip people off. Not at all. Just reference what’s working and go from there – there’s a huge difference.
So now it’s time to do some research about what people WANT to buy in your market niche – not what you think they should buy, but what THEY think they should buy. Whether you’ve been in business 21 years, 2 years, or not yet, you MUST know what’s going on in your category.
What you should do now:
1) Go out there and find out what’s really selling in your market
Yes, that means getting out from behind your computer and hitting the streets. Like a good beat cop. Except that you’ll hit the stores. Go shopping when it’s slow – ideally a Monday or a Tuesday. Ask the salespeople what’s really selling well. If you’re shy, pretend you’re buying a gift for someone and want to know “what’s the most popular thing for (insert your target customer here).” When you get a feel for what’s selling well, keep your mind open to the idea of adding similar options to your line. Of course, it has to align with your brand and your vision, but don’t discount something just because it’s new to your line.
2) Keep track of your research
What sometimes happens with my start-up clients really drives me nuts. They go out and learn something and then they forget it because they aren’t organized in their research. Ugh. Keep everything in one place and mark the day and time you visited each store, the feedback you received, and what specific ideas you can use from each store visit. And remember, you can also use this info to differentiate yourself from what’s out there.
3) Don’t believe your friends and family
They mean well, they really do, but they’re probably not experts in your field. What they do know is YOU. And they love you so they tend to like every idea you ever had. Just because “everyone” loves your concept does not mean they would actually plunk money down for it. You need to do more than ask your close circle to find out if your business concept has legs.
4) What will make someone buy from YOU and not from THEM? Nail down exactly what your ONE GREAT IDEA is what excites you about it. I’m talkin’ details, details – it’s time to get some real clarity on how your product can and should stand out in the marketplace. While you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, you do need to understand what makes your product different (better, faster, easier) than what’s out there.
If you’re struggling with HOW to start and run your business, and you want to do it the right way, I recommend the New Designer Online Program. It’s the ultimate step-by-step instruction manual to launching a line the right way. You get a complete online resource center to use at your convenience and your own pace. The training includes 6 Sessions of video presentations, mp3 audio trainings, written transcripts of every class, worksheets, cheat sheets, and downloads. Nowhere else will you find it as simple to put all the necessary elements of a fashion business in place, in clear language, and with very specific information.
Read the client feedback, get more details and grab your self-paced course here: http://janehamill.com/blog/new-designer-program/