Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You really can do it! So this post is about the importance of a todo list when designing your dream. You might ask .."hey what gives I wanted to start in the beginning...You know...like how to do a business plan"...but what do I have to say about that? Well nothing. That's going to be important, but right now I'm starting with what I like to call the designing stage before what I call the particulars. The designing stage is still non formal paper work, but still one of the most important stages there is. Why? Because this is the networking/idea collecting/question asking/exploring all your options stage.

What does a todo list do for you and what should be on it you ask? Well simply this...You have an idea. You want to make it happen. Your todo list to start is going to be all the things you need to do to find out how you will make this happen before you actually make it happen.

Example: for a clothing store I decided to have a location as well as an online presence. My model Deanne wants a coffee shop so therefore will need a physical location (until the day they invent coffee that comes out of your morning emails...one can only dream) and for my other model Erica will just need a small office space. Each todo list will have this on it... 1. Scout a location. 2. Research the market in the area (competition and all). 3. Research your own options.

Now each todo list will be covered in a different way but here's what its about. The todo list is a list of all the things you need to research for your dream. Location scouting for physical stores is a huge todo! How do you go about this? Well just like this. Go to the area you want to open the store, as well as view two or three other areas that are possibilities. Walk or drive around. Stop at open venues. Call standing outside of the store. Ask some questions. How much, how long of a lease, build to suit? When is it available. This is not the step to make a choice. This is about knowing what you've got to work with. WRITE DOWN THE NUMBERS!!!! It's a numbers game out there...don't forget to come with players.

Next on our todo list. After calling about 13 places and getting what information I could I set out to see the competition. Stores that were about 50% or more of what I was going to be offering. For me this is other stores carrying at least 50% of their stock in clothing. Go in. Be polite. Look around. Don't take pictures...don't ask personal business questions. Just look and act like a customer...enjoy what you see...check out what they have to offer. Note why they work. Write it down when you leave.

Third thing on the list. Researching your own options. Will you be able to afford the places you looked at. Will it require saving or just taking out loans. Knowing the numbers will help you make decisions about what type of challenge you are taking on. Talk to your bank about loans for small business if savings is not an option. Or maybe you have savings and can supplement them with loans. Another great option is looking for business associations in the area that offer small business loans to encourage business to come to their towns.

The point of the todo list is to get the ball going. This week is the week to go out and scout locations. Next week visit the competition. By the end of the month you'll have research business loan options and run numbers against your savings. These are not steps you're committing anything to. But getting out there and getting a grip on what is out there and what your lacking is a great way to start good solid planning for your dream.

Ideas are great, research make them possible.

For now, start going out there. Looking. Take a hold of the ideas and see what you can do with it!

Till next time, Your Designer Dreaming

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Are You Designing Your Dream?

Well here it is. While I'm bringing you the latest fashions, I will also be bringing you a little insight into the making of my dream, which is of course my own fashion line and store that I now have. But the thing is, there are lots of you out there with dreams, and not just fashion dreams, but other dreams. And how did I start? Lots of dreaming, planning (todo lists and financial planning), research, asking, and of course listening. Amazing people have helped me and given me great advice ( like my current accountant Jim!) and I will be passing them a shout out as well as their advice to you.

But why? Why spill the beans on my little endeavor? Because, I needed the help and found people reluctant to give me advice as well as others willing to share their secrets. I believe in dreams and small business and big business for those who can make it there. But most importantly I believe in my friends. Inspiration one: Deanne who wants to write and publish her own books as well as others but more in the forefront of her list is opening her own coffee (European Style) shop and wine bar. And Inspiration two: Erica who wants to own her own wedding planning and event business. So here's to our journey no matter what stages we are all in. I hope to help them out and watch them grow as well as help anyone who sits to read this blog and take what I have learned and use it for themselves.

Cheers, from your Rum & Couture designer