In our last blog post, we addressed the design and manufacturing aspects of starting your own clothing line. Now it’s time to talk about the business logistics:
Develop a Business Plan
Developing and writing up a business plan is the very first and most fundamental part of starting any business. A well-written plan will analyze your start-up costs and estimated expenses for the first three years of the business and address how you plan to expand. You should also provide a competitive analysis a clear description of your business.
You don’t have to be an expert writer — there are plenty of resources available to help you develop your business plan (including this step-by-step guide from Entrepreneur.com) and you can always seek assistance from to your local Small Business Administration (SBA) office.
Determine the Business Structure
Before registering your company you need to decide what type of legal structure will work best. This will determine a great number of things from your how you file your taxes to your legal liability. The most common structure for small businesses is a Limited Liability Corporation, which provides the protections of a corporation while allowing you to report your business income on your personal tax return.
Branding is a critical element for any type of business. Make sure the brand name you want is available and then register it at the United States Trademark Office (it’ll cost you about $325).
You’ll need to secure a minimum amount of capital to produce your first products. This could vary from as little as $500 to $10,000 to — well really, the sky is the limit. There are various ways to go about securing funds; small business loans are one way, crowd-funding is another. You could also implement a system of pre-orders where your customers pay you for a product that has yet to be manufactured.
Keep in mind that flexibility is key to the success of any business. Your business plan is ultimately just a blueprint – it should be an outline of how you think things will go and how you’d like them to go. Like most other things in life, launching a business is never straightforward but if you plan well and persevere your chances of success will be that much greater.