Starting a fashion business, and any business for that matter, is not at all easy. You will face intense competition in an already saturated market, as well as the stress of being a student entrepreneur.
While it’s not entirely encouraging to instill negativity, ignoring the facts won’t do you any good. Building a successful business can be more difficult than you think.
So, here let’s take a look at some of the ways your reality might contrast with your expectations when starting a fashion business in college.
Expectation 1: You will be able to easily manage studies and business
As you go ahead with your business idea, it can be tempting to think that it will be an easy journey. After all, if you can handle a busy class schedule and a part-time job, how difficult is it going to be when you’re your own boss?
Reality: you will need help
Even if you are a born businessman, juggling school and work will never be easy. In fact, you might find that 24 hours a day isn’t enough, even when you’re compromising on food and sleep. Along with worrying about your grades, you’ll also need to focus on managing your account, growing your business, and marketing.
As a small business owner, you might not be able to afford a sales team. But, instead, you can find expert help for your academic work at a fraction of the cost. With a professional course writing service like EssayPro, you will be able to delegate your important essays and courses to essay writers. That way, you don’t have to worry about fast approaching deadlines and rest assured that you won’t have to compromise on your education to move your business forward.
Expectation 2: Everything will fall into place once I start
The hard part is getting started. Once you have your basic idea, all you need to do is do something or take the first step. You can handle everything else later.
Reality: you need a business plan
While Nike is’Do it’ mantra can be useful for many occasions, starting a fashion business might not be one of them. Yes, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. But that alone will not be enough.
The right kind of business plan can mean the difference between success and failure. You will need to have a clear idea of what to do for each potential scenario.
From creating design samples to researching materials, registering your business, finding investors, and engaging your audience, you should always have a plan in mind. Strategy is an inevitable factor when it comes to growing your own business and preparing for its future.
Plus, almost everyone you approach with your business idea will ask you what your business plan is. It can also be crucial for tracking your progress and staying focused.
Expectation 3: You can be a one-man army
Being a solo entrepreneur means you have to do it all on your own without asking for help. When you’re just running a small website from the comfort of your bedroom, why do you even need to hire someone else?
Reality: you have both strengths and weaknesses
As a fashion designer or enthusiast, there will certainly be several aspects that will interest you. You could thrive in these areas and running your business could come naturally to you. However, you must also be prepared to recognize your weak points.
For example, you might need help with accounting or social media marketing. It is important that you know where you need help and, of course, that you are getting it. It won’t be a bad idea to find other people who can support you on your journey. If you don’t want partners, you can also consider working with like-minded freelancers.
Expectation 4: You can easily sell your products
You have complete confidence in the purpose of your business and are 100% sure that as soon as you get started, people will want to buy your products. It’s only a matter of time, and your target customers will come.
Reality: you need to meet the needs of your audience
In today’s fashion landscape, delivering a unique value proposition for your target customers can be a real challenge. Even if you are innovative, convincing the public to buy your product will not be an easy task.
Despite your best marketing efforts, it will still be difficult to figure out what might click with your audience. To be successful, you will need to first determine your target customer’s “pain point” and then figure out how to fix it.
And that will require you to do some serious research on what your customer wants and take their feedback into account. In fact, it’s the easiest part of your business – listening to what your customers have to say and delivering accordingly.
Expectation 5: My investors are still my friends
Your investors believe in your idea and entrust their capital to you. After all, we hang out together all the time, and it’s going to be an easy ride all the way.
Reality: your relationship with your investor can get tricky
Any relationship involving money is inherently fragile. Even if your parents, relatives or friends have invested in your business, you will need to make sure you provide them with enough information.
It is not enough that you provide a pitch that will impress an investor, but you also need to be clear on how you are going to deliver over the long term. Your relationship with them must be based on trust, and they must have confidence that you will be able to execute a business plan for the success of your business.
For a student, it can get even trickier when you have other things to deal with. To get started, you will need to educate yourself about the ownership and structure of the business. You should also be able to know when to raise equity and debt.
In a few years, you could end up owning a fraction of your business. It can also affect your control over the business. As such, it is essential that you are fully aware of the risks and responsibilities when working with investors.
As much as we would like to say that starting a fashion business is going to be everything you have been waiting for, maybe you better know how harsh reality can be. It will help you prepare in advance, plan for eventualities, and grow as a person and an entrepreneur.
If you are already a student in the fashion industry, there is a lot to learn from the people and resources around you. Make sure you take advantage of every networking opportunity and educate yourself on the business landscape so you can face the real world with your head held high.