DeAnna McIntosh, Chief Global Strategist of The Affinity Group International, is back! DeAnna is a merchandising expert with over 13 years in the industry, and is passionate about the same mission Indie Source is – YOU!
Strategy First. A Sustainable Business Will Follow.
What do I mean by this? There are billions of brands in the world. Billions of e-commerce websites, but the difference between good and great brands is strategy. Starting your company with a clear vision, comprehensive business plan, and a strategic launch strategy will set you far above your counterparts from day 0, before you even officially open.
Your Vision Is Clear
Having a clear vision means that you know what products you want to design, you know who you want to design those products for, and you know why you are designing these products.
What product: What is in your soul to design?
Apparel, accessories, shoes, what is that that you are drawn to? And then, what is your signature style of design that will put you at the forefront of your industry?
Products for Who: Who are you designing for?
Who is your target customer? Who is the person that you can visualize wearing your designs? What is their occupation? Do they have children? What do they believe in? It’s critical to spend time in this space and make sure that your end customer is clearly defined, down to the seemingly minute detail of their life. For example, if you design activewear, and your target customer is Moms who are trying to find time to work out in the midst of all that they are managing personally and professionally – you would need to understand them deeply to know how to design for them. You would then want to consider making the majority of your line versatile, and more of “athleisure” vs traditional activewear so that the Moms can wear it comfortably dropping their kids off to school, running a few errands, then stopping by the gym later – without having to go back home and change. To truly serve your customers you must know them intimately.
Why design the product: What drives you to design the products that you do?
Are you passionate about sustainable fashion, making a smaller imprint on our Earth without sacrificing quality or style? Do you believe in sharing the gifts of the people in cultures lesser known to the world through your design? You must create your ethos and discover who you are. That is what will propel you to keep going when things get rough (because there will always be challenges) and even when sales are down. You then have to come back to your why.
Blueprint for Success
Once you have a clear vision of the brand you are creating, it is critical to create a comprehensive business plan. If the thought of doing this gives you hives, I get it! I have an awesome program designed to help you create your entire business plan and take that stress away.
If I could give you one reason why you need a business plan – to save you time and money at all stages of your business. If you know, have it documented, and deeply understand every aspect of your business from the beginning, when things go wrong, you can immediately identify what is “off” and course correct. The amount of time you can waste going down rabbit holes trying to figure out why something is happening, costs you time and money that you should be allocating to driving sales or creating new designs.
You should enroll in Indie Source’s Free Development Bootcamp Email Course to get ready for your launch and understand all that goes into it from a manufacturing perspective! They also have costing and pricing, and fabric sourcing content that is critical for you to review to ensure the numbers you are using for your business plan are as real as possible, down to the penny. This is where a lot of businesses take a hit because they didn’t do enough detailed research from the beginning to truly know how much funding they would need.
Also, if you plan to get investors for your brand, you must have a business plan, at the very least.
Clear and Actionable Timeline
Once you have completed your business plan, what’s next? Creating the timeline of how you will bring your plan to life. You need to layout all the steps that it will take for you to launch your brand. I love to use Smartsheet for my project management needs. It’s what I use inside of my Launch Support community for entrepreneurs in this stage. We give you a ready-made launch plan to put into Smartsheet, you input your target dates, and when things shift, Smartsheet auto-populates your adjusted timeline!
Launch Your Brand
You’ve launched! You have a business plan to always refer back to and track your progress – and be able to quickly course correct when needed, and I have a support community for entrepreneurs in this stage as well. This stage of business is where your plan will be invaluable! There will be so much coming at you as a new brand, but because you have a clear vision and plan, you will be able to take it in stride, grow from it and keep moving. You will not be stifled or stopped!
Being strategic takes work, but saves you money, time, and energy in the end, and also empowers you to create a sustainable business.
DeAnna McIntosh, Chief Global Strategist at The Affinity Group International and Retailing Evolved, is a driven, entrepreneurial, and creative brand strategist with a strong eye for design, and over 13 years of progressive experience in merchandising, marketing, and event management. Her proven results as a strategist for numerous Fortune ranking retailers will drive tangible growth for your business from day one.
Contact Links: firstname.lastname@example.org
Consulting + Creative Agency: www.theaffinitygroupinternational.com
Retail / Wholesale Training: www.retailingevolved.com
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/theaffinitygroup/
Personal LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/deannamcintosh/