The best homegrown businesses are the ones that you start because you are enthusiastic about the work and want to learn more about the process. Many professionals who had been furloughed or laid off decided to make their own path and start a business during the COVID-19 pandemic, while established entrepreneurs tried to expand their businesses.
Scaling a homegrown business can mean more money. However, it is neither a quick nor a surefire way to make money. It requires a long-term commitment and a thorough understanding of the work at hand.
Starting a business from your home is a great way to get started. It’s also a terrific method to save money. But what should you do if you want to take your homegrown business to the next level?
Consider the Business Type
Before looking into scaling a homegrown business, make sure you can scale. What is your fashion business type? Is it styling, retail, or eCommerce? Whatever your business type is, you need to evaluate if it’s scalable or not.
Scalability is a spectrum. Some businesses are easier to scale than others. Scaling is attractive, but it’s not right for every business. Before you scale your business, consider why you want to do so. What do you want your life to look like in the future that necessitates a larger-scale business?
Considering the scalability of the business is important, especially in the fashion industry. According to Inc.com, if you can add significantly more customers without increasing your costs proportionally, the business is “scalable” and becomes more and more profitable as it grows.
We recommend that you start to bring elements of your supply chain in-house to gain short-term and long-term benefits such as greater control over your brand and sourcing and producing for less. You can also create a new revenue stream by manufacturing for other brands!
For example, if you’re making jewelry, maybe it may be wise to consider hiring an in-house resource to create your jewelry on demand – as opposed to outsourcing. Ren The Label, a UAE-based jewelry brand, started out outsourcing her jewelry making however as time went on, she brought elements of her supply chain in-house to cut costs down.
However, fashion services such as styling that require personal relations with customers may not be as scalable due to the fact that they always rely on forging personal relations with their clients. In the case of a stylist, it may be sound to go at it solo and focus on quality over quantity.
Assess Your Marketing Budget
Marketing is one of the most critical aspects of maintaining and growing a business, alongside offering high-quality goods and services. You won’t have customers or clients if you don’t market; and as a result, you won’t have a business. The problem is defining your target market and convincing them to use your products and services.
The biggest mantra you need to follow is, ‘to make money you need to spend money. It’s difficult to make money in a business without spending money on supplies, products, advertising, and other expenses. A big question you need to ask yourself is, ‘Do I have the right PR strategies to grow my business?’ Your clients are unlikely to go out of their way to find you, which is why you must make this task as simple as possible for them. This will assist you in showing that you care about your customers.
Vinanti Shah, owner of Ren The Label, started with an online social media presence and exhibitions. This helped her interact with her audience and gain their trust. But once the pandemic hit, changed her game and immediately built a website so that she could utilize the time and be productive while the world was at a standstill. Through this, her business grew exponentially during a time of recession.
Hala, the owner of Cecilehob, believes that giving the clients personal attention will help you understand their specific needs and how to cater to them. We are nothing without our clients. It is important to maintain relations with them in order to grow the business.
Check the Saturation of your Market
One of the most common questions asked is “Who is your target market?” Many home business owners make the mistake of saying “everyone,” but even if your product or service has a broad market appeal, you should limit your selections. This can be accomplished by first defining what problem your product solves, and then deciding who requires the solution. Make sure your product solves a problem and you’re filling a gap in the market – if there is a sufficient deal of brands selling pouches and dresses, you may want to consider another product line that has a lower supply.
New concepts and ideas that have not been proven may be harder to accomplish, but your competition will be lower. It’s a trade-off you as an entrepreneur and decision-maker will need to assess to find the right balance for you.
If you want to go ahead and develop a fashion platform that allows potential buyers to try clothes on virtually, that again may be a great idea with low competition but it will surely prove harder to implement due to the costs associated with developing it, marketing it and so forth. Whereas your competition will be low and market unsaturated, your costs of doing business will increase. What works for your business?
Have a Competitive Edge
Remember, we live in a world when the internet is affordable and social media is free. This means scaling a homegrown business involves competing with others. What differentiates you from other folks who started up an IG page and started displaying their products? Is it that you are well connected, have a fresh outlook and idea, or else?
Studying fashion and working in Germany, Hala from Cecilehob understood how to cater to her audience’s needs. She believes that each woman is unique and has their own taste. However, most women feel compelled to wear tight and short dresses due to availability issues. So, she created her brand to cater to every woman’s individual needs. With silicon slippers and clothes made with multiple fabrics and lengths, her business grew exponentially.
Partner Up to Scale Up
Running a business from your home is a highly personal activity, and letting someone into your home to help you manage a business could be unsettling. However, if you think someone would make a good business partner and you can get beyond your uneasiness, a partnership could be a good fit for your home-based business if you properly set it up.
Also consider building a relationship with your retailer. Sometimes it’s just as difficult to be noticed by a retailer as it is to find a needle in a haystack or a lucky four leaf clover. You want to be unique and stand out from the crowd, but you don’t want to offend anyone by repeatedly chanting “choose me, pick me, select me!”
Seeking the right partners is one of the most important aspects of scaling your business. Always understand what your partners can bring to the table and how the roles will be split. Will your partner fund the project and lend you support in terms of connecting you with the right retailers while you focus on the creative direction and production of the collection? Find a model that works. Partnerships are unique and require time, effort and a lot of commitment to ensure they are sustainable and reserve the rights of both partners.
Scaling a homegrown business is no walk in the park. Not every business needs to be scalable. Contrary to what you may think, going solo and sticking to a low headcount may mean more financial benefit. Consider what is right for you, your skillset and your unique journey.