I my book, there are two categories of people when it comes to business ownership. Those who “just do it,” to quote Nike commercials and those who say, “someday I will.” Owning your own business does bring you closer to financial freedom. Whether you are thinking of wanting to start an online business or work for someone else, there are a lot of factors you will need to consider. One of the most important points to always remember though is that you should only venture into something like this if you are doing it for yourself and for the right reasons. Your idea should come from somewhere, whether it is a passion of yours or maybe you were inspired by someone else. Either way, you’ll be able to make it work and grow into the success you have always wanted to become. You also need to consider finances! If you are concerned about your financial options then you might want to inquire about some sort of invoice finance. However, there are other options to explore.
However, you have to make the assessment whether it is for you and whether you have what it takes to make it work. Having said that, the title in this heading is not meant to be one of those “get rich quick” [okay I have to add or “die trying” lol!] schemes. There are no guarantees in life.
I am an entrepreneur, come from a family of entrepreneurs, represent, through my legal practice, entrepreneurs and have close friends who happen to be entrepreneurs. My goal is to share my knowledge with you and hopefully you apply it– “for the application of knowledge is POWER.” This is an ongoing fashion business series that covers the basics of starting a fashion business from the conception/idea to choosing the right legal structures [Partnership, S Corp., LLC, C Corp.] financing, marketing and promotions among many topics I will discuss and share with you. While my attention is focused on fashion businesses, the principles here can be applied to other industries.
Who Benefits from LADYBRILLE.com’s Fashion Business Series?
- YOU, if you are thinking of starting your business.
YOU, if you have initiated steps towards starting your business.
YOU, if you have an existing business.
The Ladybrille African Woman in Africa, a special note to you. I have always been a solution oriented kind of person. I think intellectual talks on problems with Africa are good but can only take Africa so far. At a point, the rubber does meet the road and the question becomes, what is the solution? The talks on Africa’s need for business skills, entrepreneurial training and the ongoing trade versus aid debate, to me, is frankly very long with no end in sight. I am not interested in engaging in such talks without concrete pragmatic solutions, however small. This is my attempt at being a part of the solution. By providing you with a pragmatic guide and/resources, I hope it enables you to begin taking your steps towards financial freedom. Let’s get into it.
IT STARTS WITH YOUR IDEA.
Three Basic but Necessary Steps : As with everything in life, there is a beginning and an end. To start a business, necessarily, you must have an idea of what kind of business you want. Below are some steps that can help guide you as you drum up ideas as to what specific fashion business you would like to create.
Step #1, Ask WHY: Lay the foundation by building from the ground up. Ask yourself WHY do I want to create this fashion business? All is not rosy in the world of entrepreneuralship and many cannot handle the lack of security of a weekly/bi-weekly paycheck. You will need to remind yourself of the WHY when the going gets really tough. So, ask and answer the WHY. Your answer/motivation might be, “I want to be my own boss!,” “My life is of more value than a 80hrs a week schedule,” “I want more flexibility,” I am tired of living in and eating hotel meals en route to yet another executive meeting,” or ” I am ready to be a mommy and feel I want a fashion home business that gives me the flexibility to be there for my children.” Whatever the case, figure out the WHY. By the way, while you are at it, make sure your motivation is not because every celebrity you know has a fashion business. There is a tendency to copy trends, especially in the world we live in today. But, the problem with trends is they are exactly that–trends. They, inevitably, fizzle out. The point? DO YOU.
Step 2, Determine What kind of Business you Want: Do you shoot great pictures? Maybe you could start a photography business. Do you make superb clothes/jewelry? You could start a small fashion design/jewelry business? Do your family and friends say you are so organized and put together great events? Maybe you could start a fashion productions company and so forth.
Step 3, Truly assess your skills, strengths and weaknesses: Get real with yourself here. Do you have what it takes to be successful in the business you chose? If, for example, you choose to start a fashion design business, can you sew? Do you sketch? Do you have basic understanding of fabrics? Assuming you have none of those skills but you are convinced you were born to be the next Yves Saint Laurent [YSL], no wahala [problem]. Are you willing to acquire the skills to be the next YSL? If yes, great! Register in a fashion school and get to work!
Your Assignment: get a blank sheet of paper and do the following: First, ask WHY you want a fashion business; Second, determine what kind of fashion business you want; Third and finally, truly assess your skills/strengths and weakness–here, get your family and friends who want the best for you to honestly tell you about their take on your strengths and weaknesses.
While you complete your assignment, below are some resources that should be helpful till our next fashion business talks! By the way, if you are an entrepreneur [fashion/otherwise] and want to share how you got your ideas for your business, feel free to do so in the comment section. Let us educate so we can elevate our women, especially African women.
Sample Small Business Resources:
- USA: Small Business Administration– http://http://www.sba.gov/ –This organization was really helpful when I started my legal practice. In the USA, they have branches/chapters all over down to your local city. Take advantage of the organization and their many wonderful workshops and seminars.
- Wall Street Journal Center – http://www.startupjournal.com/
South Africa: http://www.swazibusiness.com/
Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.