I'm not looking to raise money or bring on investors so why do I need one?
This is usually the respond that we get when we ask designers if they wrote a business plan for their new start-up fashion brand.
Quite frankly, I don't blame them for thinking this way, I myself thought the same until I started my fashion brand.
Yes, writing a business plan helps figure out the financial aspects of the business re: how much money is needed to start, how to budget the different stages of the business etc. all of which are super important to have in place whether you are raising money or not.
But more than all of that, a business plan will help (or force) you to also figure out all the other aspects of the business prior to jumping in, re: mission, vision, product, target customer, marketing and sales strategies etc. and how they all relate to each other so you can than have a plan with clear goals and check points to execute it.
Not to mention that it will tell if your business concept is feasible or not. In other words: can you make money?
Here are 4 reasons (aside from the finance) for writing a business plan:
- Having a clear vision is essential, but it's only when you put all the details on paper that you will get to see a full picture. When there are so many parts to work on (as its always the case with starting a business), its essential to have a clear map of they all work together, what are the things that needs to be done, in what order they should be done and milestones to track the progress. A business plan will help hold you and anyone else involved accountable to get what is needed to get done.
- When using the help of other people through the start-up stage (employees, consultants etc.), a business plan is a great tool to have everyone involved get crystal clear on the goals and the steps to achieve them.
- The nature of a fashion business is different than other industries due to the product cycle aspect. If not planned well the product cycle can make or break your business. There are many steps and hands that will be involved in the process so if not planned and coordinated right it can easily open the gap for things to go wrong. Not to mention that the length of the product cycle (from development until you are actually getting paid by the customers) is a very heavy financial burden for a start-up and one that requires careful planning.
- The general assumption is that a business plan is only written when you start a business, and once the business is up and running there is no more value to it. That is absolutely not the case. In fact you should keep checking with your business plan even after the start up stage to keep track of your progress and keep updating it according to the current stage of the business and the updated vision/goals. Doing so will make sure that you keep a close track on how the business is growing and adjust accordingly while setting up new milestones. A business plan is a living plan and it meant to be changed and adjusted as you go according to how things evolve.
Need help writing a business plan for your fashion brand?
We offer a one on one consulting business plan program where we work with designers like you closely to build a strong business plan that will fit your specific business needs!