If there is one topic I love to talk about, it would be the fashion and beauty industry. And if I’m doing it on “company time”, all the better. How do I make this a legitimate part of my work-day you ask? Well, our clients have a lot to do with it.
Providing business start-up information, business registration guidance and assistance over the years to countless clients from all walks of life and in all areas of industry has given me a sort of sixth sense in being able to hone in on their concerns and questions even before they are able to articulate them.
Of all the industry types we assist, I would have to say that the fashion and beauty sector rates high here at Small Business BC. Needless to say, over the years it gradually became clear to my colleagues to funnel these types of clients/fashion school groups my way when booking advisories.
Understanding the Fashionista
I can usually spot them first. Very well dressed, definite personal style nailed down, an air of sartorial confidence and a great handbag (or if they are of the male persuasion, clothes and grooming). A common ground is all it takes to start a conversation. Their reason for coming to Small Business BC is to understand the “business-y part” of their dream. Once I sit down with a client and get to know a bit more about the type of business they want to start, it comes out that although they know their business idea well, they are intimidated by the prospect of having to register anything, to write a business plan, or to tackle accounting it’s all a bit daunting for most of us when we are looking directly at it! “I’m more of a creative type, I don’t really understand the business part…” is a common refrain.
Demystifying the Business Requirements
Getting out my time-honoured checklists and legal structure information, I compile a handy folder of the basics and start from scratch. It’s amazing what you can cover and demystify for a client in just a half hour.
We have such a wide variety of business seminars and tailored advisories that I explain to clients that as matters of concern and gaps in knowledge come up, they can always pop in for additional training and support, not to mention the obvious additional benefits of networking and professional contacts they can make.
A personal touch I have added to consults is my own passion for the industry. You can look at pie charts and graphs and market research reports all day but from time to time, you need to step out of the confines of traditional business reading and research and look around you. As I explain, your market research can be as easy as perusing the right magazines and related industry periodicals for trends, colours, ideas, target markets, they start to breathe a little easier. Market Research does not have to be all databases and pie charts, look to related publications, industry association resources, blog posts and other social media feeds, it’s easy to get excited and to provide a client with ideas they have not even thought of.
Quick Education: Lifetime Skills
One of the nicest and most heartfelt compliments I ever received was from a young fashion student who came to our centre last month. She said that she learned more from me in 15 minutes than she had during her whole fashion merchandising program thus far.
The fashion business is like any other business….you have to put your (designer) pants on one leg at a time. And we can give you more than a leg to stand on here at Small Business BC.