Start Your Own Clothing Line: 3 Tips to Help

start your own clothing lineSome of the most exciting business ideas are the ones that allow you to be at your most creative. Fashion is certainly one of those, but it’s also a very tough industry. If you want to be successful, then it’s essential that you maintain the right blend of creativity and business acumen. There are many people who have tried and failed in the world of fashion, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are three of the most important things you need to think about.

Be Unique

If your products aren’t unique and don’t offer something that people can get elsewhere, then you will lose out. As a small business, you’re always going to struggle to keep up with the big distributors when it comes to price. Economies of scale mean that your clothes will almost always be more expensive than huge chain stores. The only way of fighting this is by offering a better product. Spend a long time on the concept and design phases in order to get things right.

Be Efficient

Many business leaders will tell you that profits are made and lost in the supply chain, and it’s just as true for small businesses like yours. It can be tricky maintaining that balance of having enough stock to satisfy customer demand, and not having loads built up and taking up space. Most businesses like yours will need to pay for some sort of space to hold stock, but ideally this should be as small as possible; there’s no point paying for more. In a well-oiled supply chain, stock should be constantly moving. Maximise your available space by using a good system; Warehouse Storage Systems have some good examples of racks that stack your clothes up high.

Be a Brand

The truth is that in fashion, the brand is almost as important as the products themselves. You could have some fantastic clothing designs, but if you don’t have a strong brand that people want to buy into, then you aren’t going to be successful. If you think of all the major fashion houses, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about here. It could well be a good idea to consult some marketing specialists for this bit, but then if you’re of the creative disposition, then you’ll probably be good at this yourself.

Two Smart Ways to Market Your Small Business

smart ways to market your businessIf you’re looking for a way to win the attention of the public and get them coming through the front door to your business, then you’ll have realised how hard it is to get recognised in a competitive marketplace with all kinds of brands jockeying for people’s attention — and their hard-earned cash.

However there are always ways to capture the eye of potential customers by thinking differently from your competitionand recognising what it is that they want. Here are some tips for you to bear in mind to help you when it comes to marketing for your small business.

Offering Something Different

Always remember from the off that you are not a big firm with a large budget and massive name recognition. While other firms may have to do very little as they are the first port of call for customers, you may be starting from the very beginning and trying to establish a brand from scratch.

Big businesses advertise in order to build on their name recognition and generate more sales in the future. Smaller firms don’t have the resources and the budget to do that, so you have to build your advertising strategy in order to produce far more immediate sales. You can do this for example by including an offer in your advertising to drive in sales now. Many customers look for a cheaper price, so offering a smaller version of a product or service at a lower price will entice them.

Similarly other customers are willing to pay a higher price in order to get a better level of service or a premium product. If you offer a more comprehensive packet you can boost your average sale size and your total revenue. Alternatively you can combine several products or services in a special package which you can then sell at a higher price.

Targeting Your Message

Of course you can always try some rather more unconventional methods of marketing to generate business. For example you may want to print a small ad on a postcard and mail it to your targets rather than relying on spending money in traditional media on messages that may go missed. Reducing the size of your ads will also allow you to run more ads at a lower cost.

If you’re operating in a community with other small businesses you could consider setting up joint promotions too. Ultimately you must look to bring the most value from your established customer base, as they already know and trust you. You can use software like Phorest to maintain relationships with your existing customers, and keep them coming back to your business. That way you can rest assured that you’ll keep a steady level of trade coming in rather than constantly having to bring in new custom.

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

professional liability insuranceThings can and do go wrong in business. People make mistakes, and when they do, their company needs to be safeguarded against the issues that arise as a result. Professional liability insurance is there to help compensate businesses when problems occur, saving them from potentially having to pay out millions.

As an example, an accountant firm may have an employee who commits what is often referred to as a ‘wrongful act’ when looking after a client’s finances or paperwork. This in turn means that the client decides to cancel their account, and in a worst case scenario, they also decide to sue for damages. It is at this point that having liability insurance would pay off. The provider would pay out to the company to reimburse the legal costs and fees, up to whatever the agreed amount is. It’s important to remember that it’s not just the damages that cost money – legal fees can be crippling too.

In reality, there are few if any industries that are not involved in some kind of liability insurance – you can see a list of different types here. Businesses by their very nature will be negatively impacted when they cannot fulfil an order, or when they make a significant mistake that causes damages to a client. We’d all like to work in a business in which nobody makes silly mistakes, but this simply never happens, which is why liability insurance is so important. Even the smallest of corner shops might have liability insurance, just in case one of their fixtures or fittings harms a customer – it’s a natural part of most business plans and can affect personal finances.

If you feel as though the product you offer, whether it’s a physical object, or a service, could have a significant negative effect on a customer or even member of the public if it’s used improperly by an employee, then you need liability insurance. It’s generally not that expensive if you’re not in a risky industry, and the outlay certainly is better than taking the risk.

Finding it isn’t too tricky, but you do need to identify your needs before you make the decision. For this, it’s usually best to speak to an independent adviser – this way you know you’ll be getting impartial advice, rather than allowing an insurer to simply sell you their products. Have a chat with them, establish your needs, and you’ll be able to go about your business without having to worry.

National Business Awards: ‘New Entrepreneur of the Year’ Finalists Announced

national business awardsThere are several awards in the UK dedicated to celebrating the work of Britain’s aspiring entrepreneurs, but none more prestigious than the National Business Awards. The awards themselves have been running for 13 years, but this year the inaugural ‘New Entrepreneur of the Year’ award, sponsored by Vonage, has been launched to find the UK’s best aspiring entrepreneur.

This award celebrates the potential in the leaders of the UK’s most promising start-ups established over the last 18 months.  Following an event held at St George’s Hall in Liverpool last month, where entrants had to present their business ideas to a panel of expert judges the five finalists for the award have been announced as:

  1. Emma Cerrone, Free:Formers
  2. Alistair Smit, The Magic Thermodynamic Box
  3. Ben Weaver, Outlook Publishing Ltd
  4. Kathryn Birch, Translive Global
  5. Jay Radia, Yieldify

The overall winner will be announced on 11th November 2014 at the National Business Awards event in London, where over 1,000 of the UK’s business leaders and influencers will gather celebrate the nation’s business achievements.

 

A word about the sponsors

Vonage is a VoIP service provider that has been helping small and home businesses and entrepreneurs get their companies up and running all over the world. By providing low cost calls for businesses both in the UK and internationally, they’ve seen to it that Britain’s brightest entrepreneurs have as much capital in their pockets as possible by keeping the costs associated with popular business communication methods to a minimum.

With 2.4 million customers, Vonage certainly knows a thing or two about business growth, and they’re happy to share their enthusiasm for small businesses, as well as their knowledge and expertise through the National Business Awards.

For more information about Vonage and their low cost international calling plans please visit www.vonage.co.uk.

Make Space for Your Business to be Successful

business successThere can be few places offering commercial premises to small businesses as iconic as the Mansion House. Not only is it home to the Lord Mayor of the City of London, but it also houses his offices and provides spectacular space for conferences and business meetings.

It is a truly magnificent setting, with neighbours such as the Bank of England opposite and other blue chip companies. Other institutions such as Bloomberg have also set up business nearby in what is a unique business area.

Somewhere to Meet

The most successful fundraisers and charity events get their venue spot on. Choosing the right venue could be the difference between a good night and a great one. It is a popular choice with cabinet ministers for receptions, too, and many visiting heads of state are taken to the Mansion House as part of their visit. They are among some 50,000 people to visit every year.

Do Business at the Mansion House

There is space available as commercial property Mansion House London and a chance to put your own business on the map. Location is crucial to the success of your business. Getting it right requires careful planning and execution, but managed well, can put your business on the right track and reduce your own stress levels!

Where you choose to do business affects your staff and your suppliers as well as potential customers, so be sure to consider them all when choosing your premises. Naturally, you must think about profitability and running costs, but for your employees, there is more to the place they work than how to get there or where to park; it’s about the facilities and environment as well.

It’s no secret that happy staff members are more productive, and retention is better in companies where employees enjoy coming to work. Recruitment and training can be a significant cost to a business and one that can be higher than it needs to be if your turnover is being affected by the working environment.

work

Choosing iconic space, such as the Mansion House, can be a great idea, depending on your business and whether or not it is realistic to aim for it. If you only need the occasional wow factor, it might be more appropriate to base your business elsewhere and use the Mansion House for functions or other events. Clients might appreciate the quirky appeal, and it could prove to be the differentiating factor that sets you apart from your competitors.

Set a Budget

Ultimately, business space comes down to money, and if your business cannot afford fancy space, don’t rent it. It might impress your customers, but if the business folds, there will be no customers left to impress. If your brand ‘requires’ impressive premises, it might be that you need to look carefully at your space requirements; with more and more people able to work flexibly, could you consider hot desks and save money that way? Set your budget and stick to it.

Many agents and surveyors will be able to advise on available space that could suit your requirements.