Bobby Lane, a partner at Shelley Stock Hutter, offers his top top tips for anyone looking to set up their own fashion business.
On your Business Plan
- Do prepare a three year business plan that will explain what you are trying to achieve and forecast the profits, assets and liabilities and importantly the cash that you will need.
- Don’t be unrealistic about what you can achieve and how quickly, as this could cause you problems
On Finding Finance
- Do investigate all of the options for finance from family and friends to banks and investors. Also be aware of the schemes that are available to help you such as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme (EFG) and the Start-up Loans Scheme.
- Don’t be unsure. There is nothing worse than going in front of a bank manager or anyone offering finance without a clear indication of what you need and showing when and how it will be paid back.
On Controlling Costs
- Don’t spend a fortune on your offices or other overheads that do not generate sales. Remember in the early days you will ‘eat what you kill’, so spending huge amounts on unnecessary costs means less in your pocket.
- Do negotiate. There are deals to be done on everything from office space to stationery. There are lots of available spaces for let at the moment, particularly on the high street, so make sure you get a good price.
- Do make your costs as flexible as possible. Staff on ‘commission only’ deals are better than paying big fixed salaries. Also consider taking on a short term lease – Pop up shops are increasingly popular and mean you don’t have to be tied down to long contracts.
- Don’t give up! There may be times when you don’t get the business or you lose a customer but tomorrow is a new day. The most successful business owners are those who carry on even when everything around them is going wrong.