Are You Strategic Planning for Your Fashion Business?
Does Strategic Planning sound too businessy? Does it sound too hard to do?
So, a little story about how I was introduced to Strategic Planning… A few years ago, I was running my fashion biz in much the same way someone does their hobby, simply doing things when I felt like doing them!
Like waking up and feeling like posting on Facebook, or running a promotion, or sending an email. And, of course, this approach to running my business was reflected in my bank account.
When I started working with my business coach, he introduced me to the concept of Strategic Planning. And even though this wasn’t at the beginning of the year (which is a GREAT time to start) it worked like a charm.
So let me explain to you what Strategic Planning actually is. The term is pretty self-explanatory: it’s basically planning in a strategic way. This means there is no more throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping that something sticks! It means carrying out planned actions that will get specific results.
Let’s break it up a little bit more. One of the first things I did (and it’s the same thing I do with my coaching clients) was to start with the results I desired, and reverse engineer from there. So, if, for example, I wanted to sell 50 bathing suits in one specific month, I needed to think about where these sales would come from and the different ways I could make them happen.
There are different ways sales can come in. A Facebook Ad campaign will be one, through my email list is another way, and through fashion blogger campaigns is another way. However, all these take time not only to conceive but also to achieve. And this is when Strategic Planning comes into play.
Let’s say you launch a collection in March and are expecting to sell 100 pieces. Before, when I treated my business as a hobby, I used to send an email or use social media to tell people about my new collection or product launch. This is much the same tactic used by boutiques: when they receive new stuff, they send out emails and social media updates about the new line. However, there is a smarter way to operate.
Creating buzz and anticipation ahead of a launch creates demand before a new collection is even launched. By the time the collection is available, people are ready and eager to buy!!!
The only way to achieve this is by Strategic Planning. Three months in advance, you develop a Strategy around your new collection so that when you finally launch it, people will instantly buy. It’s that simple!
Very easy! Let’s go back to our timeline. In January, you have to start thinking of different ideas related to what you’re launching. So, for example, if there are white blazers and striped pants in your upcoming collection, you start blogging about how to mix & match blazers with jeans, or blazers with shorts. Striped pants with printed tops. Striped pants with solid tops.
You are going to send “valuable” information and tips to your list, and publish posts about the same thing on social media. Your list doesn’t know that you’ll be launching something similar soon, but in this way you make them eager to buy. You can also take pictures when you are at trade shows buying, or you can send them sketches of what you are designing.
This is a great way to get feedback, but the most important thing is you are preparing them to buy.
Once I did this with my swimwear line, believe me – I got sales! I developed a strategy (with emails and social media posts) and when I launched I got a lot of sales! People were more than ready to buy!
This is how successful entrepreneurs manage their businesses. They plan ahead of time, and they get more sales. Another great thing about planning is that you know when big money will be coming in, because every time you launch a new campaign, you should see sales rocket.
Since we just welcomed a new year, I’d suggest planning ahead when you are launching a new collection, and also when you are discounting a not-so-new collection (and yes, you should also timetable your sales and promotions in advance so you can plan ahead and launch campaigns around them, too).
Does what I’m explaining make sense? Don’t you think it’s a great idea to plan ahead every time you launch a new collection? It’s really not that complicated! You simply need to plan a little bit ahead of time and create a campaign before you launch, making people wanting to buy. In the comments below, please let me know if you have any questions as I’d love to help. At the time, this Strategic Planning felt like an unusual thing for me to do – completely different to the way I had been running my business – but believe me, when I implemented it, it worked!