The fashion industry is a $20 billion dollar per year marketplace. While competing with such sports fashion moguls as Adidas and Nike may sound like madness, an entrepreneur who finds a niche market to exploit in the sports fashion world can build a profitable business. As is important with any business, knowing your customer is key for success. Sports fashion is as much about functionality as it is about looking good. Starting any business is not a task to be taken lightly. But for a driven and imaginative entrepreneur with confidence in your ideas, there is always market share available.
Research the sports marketplace. This is always the first step that any entrepreneur should take to know how best to proceed. Decide on a niche market that suits your interests and offers you an opportunity to add your special design influence. Evaluate the competition. Start a social networking page on Facebook or My Space to conduct more market research, asking people for design input or new ideas.
Prepare a business plan using your research findings to establish a company business model and define the specifics about your new company. Templates on the Internet can be used to compose a business plan. There are also helpful books and experts you can pay to perform this valuable service for you. Writing a business plan is important because it forces an entrepreneur to actually define the business. A business plan is a valuable tool for getting started and will be required to obtain funding.
Identify funding sources. For new businesses it can be challenging to find institutional funding from banks. Start-up companies are often forced to seek capital from friends and family members. Other possibilities for funding are business partners who have capital and complement the professional business skills you bring to the table.
Define your niche market. Unless you are rich and believe you can compete against sports giants like Nike and Adidas, a niche market represents your best chance for success. Describe your customer. With this information, design the clothing line. With your ideas, either hire a professional designer or design the clothes yourself if you are a skilled designer.
Establish the business entity. Decide on a name. The name is very important. Think carefully about the image you want to project and select a name that will benefit your marketing effort and be easy to remember.
Interview manufacturers once you have your designs in hand. Question them about delivery deadlines, volume discounts and other factors that will impact your business relationship. When you have a manufacturer you are seriously considering, get references. Check the references to be sure the supplier is reliable. Check any third-party sources to verify the business has a good reputation. Run background checks on the key players. Get a Dun and Bradstreet report on the business.
Hire key personnel so that you can open for business. First hire a marketing professional. Then hire a financial professional. Collaborate to establish operational policies and procedures so that you can open for business.
Open the doors for business as soon as systems are in place for business start-up.
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