Starting your business may present its fair share of challenges, but fashion clients normally find that there is an initial burst of activity - particularly with the excitement of the launch and the support that you will get from your existing contacts.
However the problems can often arise a year or 18 months after setting up - typically this is when the start up pipeline is starting to empty and you need to look for new customers and contacts. At this stage it’s crucial to look at different ways of injecting new life into your business and to ramp up growth. Here are my tips on how your business can achieve this:
This is the hardest way to grow but one which carries lower risk. This means putting all of your efforts into growing your income within the existing business this can be via new retail units, new products or even new markets
- You should look at new ways to promote your business and bring in new clients and customers. Perhaps consider sales promotion, set up partnerships and if you can afford it a focussed PR campaign.
- Check out staff who may join your business and bring their own customers
- Look at selling new products to your existing clients/customers
You might want to think about franchising your business – this is where you can sell the rights to a third party to use your business model. This can be a fast way to grow your brand and expand your operations without having to pay. It’s worth stressing that you will get a smaller share of the profit
- Don’t get into bed with a band franchisee as this could damage your brand
- Check out the British Franchise Association website (www.thebfa.org) for more information
- Buying another business can be a speedy way to grow but is a riskier strategy. Make sure you have good advisers who will be able to look at any potential businesses and identify the issues that you could face
- Getting money for an acquisition is easier than when you start up your business as you already have a track record so banks are more receptive to your requirements
You might think about merging with another business which may complement yours
However do make sure you take your time over any potential merger and don’t rush into things! Merging different cultures and potentially different ways of working could prove to be a recipe for disaster.
Bobby Lane is a partner at Accountants and Business Advisors firm Shelley Stock Hutter LLP. He advises many fashion and creative businesses on all aspects of their business