The entrepreneurial spirit is called upon, it seems, for the ‘call-to-action’.
We are creative. We are different. We are innovative.
So what does it mean to be an innovator and how can brand [you] follow real trends, help real people and make real money? There are many sites dedicated to real-time market share knowledge, giving young start-up and entrepreneurs a wealth of information on the nitty-gritty of business. Having said that, there is no point gnawing at the numbers if you haven’t got the content; and furthermore, the vision.
According to The Business of Fashion, ‘Running a small fashion business is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week commitment requiring militant self-discipline. You will need to think of yourself as a CEO first and will likely spend less than 10 percent of your time designing. You will have to oversee all aspects of the business, not just the creative parts. It is an exciting, exhilarating experience, but not a decision that should be taken lightly.’
There are fundamental questions that need to be asked of yourself and your audience before moving onto potential investors. Having your USP (unique selling proposition) locked down will instill personal confidence and allow Michael Jackson Moonwalk ease to the next level.
1. #WhoMadeYourClothes? (Know your makers. Let your tribe know you.)
There are many ways to get in front of your audience and let them see you. By narrating a dialogue for your brand (Everlane is a good example) through honest talking point interactions – what does your brand stand for? What is important to you? What do you want your customers to remember about your product; when backed with timely action (getting an email list – MailChimp is great for that – or staying sharp on your social media) your consumers will trust the image you present them.
Building a business is about creating a space for a need to be fulfilled. What you say to others is just as important as whom you are saying it to. Business requires networking, and networking requires preparation. Getting in front of potential advisers, mentors, investors is paramount to gaining traction and trust. Let others see you but make sure you are presenting yourself as you wish to be seen and then exceeding expectations with how you actually are.
2. What are we responding to? (The laws of attraction)
Consumers are curious folk. They want so they feel. They feel so they see. We are visually driven people attuning to pleasure senses. What we love about products is the thing we love about humans, in a strange sort of way. Our progress in the world consists of building relationships. We do this by gaining trust. The way to gain people’s trust is to be transparent; meaning to be visible and accountable. This can be done in many ways. Social media is a great way to have an ear on the ground.
Hosting mini events relating to your business is a definite way of attracting customers. Pop-up stores, q and a with another contemporary, guest speaking at a university or event, and even Periscoping your workday or a pivotal moment in your career. Keeping your audience’s attention is paramount in this competitive sport of entrepreneurship. Be mindful of the content or product you are offering. Positivity does breed positivity but a saucy product can have both sides attracted to your business. As they say in the dating game; it’s not you, it’s me.
3. Be money minded. (How much/How long?)
The information highway is a click away. Knowing how, when, why and where is a mandatory for navigating through this world of social interaction. BoF shares; ‘Too many designers have been in the situation where they have orders to fill, but insufficient cash to buy the raw materials to produce and deliver those orders. To stretch the time you are able to survive with limited cash, ask manufacturers for longer payment terms, and wholesale customers for deposits in advance.’
Are your services priced properly? Do they justify the production/retail costs? In a world where bigger is better, one can easily assume higher price = better product. The consumers are the ones who should be debating this issue – not the brand owner. As an entrepreneur it is your job to know the value of something – the true value; the real and perceived.
Then all you need is leverage.
4. Introduction test. (Would you recommend publicly?)
Remember introducing your partner to your parents? How daunting. What if they don’t like each other? What if someone says something inappropriate? What if it’s me? Sharing things that you love can be an overwhelming experience. If whatever you are selling is not worth telling someone about, possibly every chance you get – where appropriate – then perhaps it’s time to re-approach the context of the product. The trick is to have two things happen – how and what. It is as much how you promote, as what you promote. Consider this with care and rationality. If you’ve created a sustainable, organic condom line your not going to introduce it on your personal Facebook page; but would your friends? Would your contemporaries publicly announce it as well? The reality is that people love talking about what they love. The goal is to introduce your product in a way that produces the same effect.
Easier said than done? Definitely. It takes research, trial and error, understanding your product and your consumers. But most of all, delivering on your promise. ‘The key to content marketing success is to add value. That’s the secret.’ If you are adding value to society, there will always be a place for growth in your business, which can lead to financial and personal gain.
So taking all of these fundamental points into account your road to entrepreneurial success is just around the corner; or should I say in the spirit.
This article was written by Margretta Sowah; a freelance writer and Fashion Marketer based in Sydney. All opinions expressed are her own. She cannot be held liable for bad taste. She also likes to spin yarn from time to time. Read more at: Fashion Capital.