Welcome to Chase your Dreams

A podcast for Fashion Entrepreneurs who are ready to pursue their passion and make a living doing what they love.

How to Validate your Business Idea

Feb 13, 2020

Hello everyone and welcome to Chase Your Dreams podcast. I'm so happy that you can join me here today. This episode is about knowing who your ideal client is.

This is SO important and I cannot emphasize this enough, to anyone who is starting a business. Not just a clothing business, but any business. I would say it all starts with knowing who your customer is and who it is that you want to serve. Because it gives you the clarity of the product that you want to produce once you know who it is that you are creating the product for. Then you'll have a lot more clarity around it, around the product that you design for them and also around the messaging when it comes to marketing that product. Who is it that you are addressing it to? Who is it that you are selling to?

Top 5 Questions When Starting a Business

Just as a general overview here, I would say the top five questions when starting a business. Here are five questions that every entrepreneur should be asking.

First, what's the reason for your business? Why does it exist?

Number two, who is your customer? And this is what I'm gonna go over with you today.

Number three, what do you offer them? What is the problem that you are solving?

Number four, investigate your market, do market research and validate. Is there a need for your product, and what currently exists in the marketplace?

Number five, what's your business model? How are you gonna market your product, what are your channels of distribution?

These are probably five important questions that you should be asking when you are starting a business.

Today, I'm gonna talk about your ideal customer.

How I'd like to structure this podcast is going over the clothing brand owners checklist. This is a checklist of things to look for when you're starting a business.

It's a checklist that I put together for emerging designers, new business owners when they are starting a fashion company, clothing business or clothing brand.

You can actually download this, I will put a link for the download in the details of this podcast. It's 18 Essential Must-Dos to Run your Business Like a Boss.

These are the types of things that I wish someone had told me when I first started my clothing business. So just a little bit about myself and who I am. I am an apparel business consultant, and SEO specialist with 20 years apparel industry experience- a decade working for big brands like Reebok and Club Monaco and 10 years of running my own clothing design company called Punch Brand.

I have both experiences, I was able to apply my work experience into my business although when I starting out, I didn't have the business knowledge. I just had to figure a lot of it out on my own, but luckily I had the industry, and work experience behind me, that was able to pretty much help me to sustain my business and be able to run it for 10 years. So now, really what my purpose here is to help designers build a purposeful and profitable clothing business so they can make a living doing what they love. This is really what the podcast is about.

Know Exactly Who is Your Ideal Client

Let's get started, if you happen to have this checklist in front of you, you can look at it. We're gonna talk about number one and number two today: number one on the checklist says, “I know exactly who my ideal client, is, what their needs are and how to serve them best”.

I emphasize the word exactly who my ideal client is.

When you are trying to define your ideal client, some of the questions that you should ask are: Are they male or female? What do they look like?

So if you can be as specific as you can in terms of what their hair, eye color is, their height, weight, how old are they, are they single, married, divorced if they have any children. How many and how old... What type of education do they have and what do they do to earn a living?

These can be demographic questions, and I think it helps you get very clear and specific on who this client is. I like to even give the person a name and if there's a person that you can even think of that's real, you can find and you actually can find a picture of this person print it out and have in front of you. You can look at them and to you, it's a real person, right? If her name is Sarah, for example, then you know who this person is.

These are some of the questions that you can start asking while you put these things together. If you wanna get more in depth into it, get more specific, you can ask questions like, what type of books do they read? What are their favorite blogs to read? Podcasts? Where do they like to hang out online? Are they on any social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. What people do they like to follow online?

Who or what inspires them? What did they like to do in their free time, and are they happy with where they are in their life? As you start asking more and more of these questions, it just becomes much more clear to you who this person is. So that you are able to better cater to them, to design the right product for this person.

Then I would take it one step further. Once you've identified this person if you can try to find people out there and actual people that fit this description and reach out to them as many as you can. I would say, at least 10-15 of them reach out and talk to them in real life, have a conversation with them.

Have a call with them and if you can, in person, if not on the phone or video conferencing, but really you want to get to know this person and when you ask them questions, really listen and pay attention to what they're saying because this is gonna give you a lot of insight into the way they think, the way they purchase things.

What are their purchasing habits? How often do they shop? Where do they shop? What brands do they like? What are their favorite brands where they shop? What boutiques do they like to shop at? So, if you know that these are the places they like to shop then those are the places that you may eventually want to be able to get your line into.

So this is all part of the market research.

Be Clear on What You Sell to Your Clients

Number two on the checklist says, "I am clear on what I sell, what I sell to my clients, including any products or services that I offer. I have conducted thorough market research to validate my business idea". These are all the things I just talked about. Trying to understand where these people shop, how often they purchase, what brands do they like? What are some of the things that they find is lacking in the market that they wish existed? If there's an ideal product out there, what would it be?

Once you've gathered this information, you can then start building on and planning your line and designing according to this ideal client. Because when you know that an actual person exists and is out there looking for your stuff, then there’s a  better likelihood of selling your product once it's ready for launch, and once you're ready to get it out into the market. By doing your customer research ahead of time, knowing who your client is, understanding the problems that they have and how you're gonna solve it; then solving those problems… you're gonna end up way more ahead than somebody who just doesn't do this research and just starts going and starts designing things and producing things and spends a lot of time and money making stuff. And in the end, it doesn't end up selling.

This is my advice to you, and this is why I chose this topic for my first episode is so that you do not waste time and money, which, as a small business owner those are your most valuable resources- time, and money. You don’t want to waste them. So if you put the time upfront in the beginning to do the proper research to validate your ideas and to do the market research, by talking to your ideal clients; that's gonna put you ahead. You don't wanna end up investing in $20- 30,000, in product and finding out that it doesn't sell. Don't do that! I beg you. I know people who have done that.

So yeah, this is my best advice to you for anyone who is starting out and so I really hope that you find this advice to be helpful and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. My email is hello@glynistao.com and of course, don’t forget to go download the checklist after this episode.

If you are looking for a fashion design business consultant book your call with me: https://calendly.com/glynistao/book-a-call

Thank you very much.