Research Paper: business plan for a t shirt company

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[. . .] They are first and foremost having great design in this case one that appeals to the target audience. If marketing is targeting a certain group and the designs appeal to some other market, then the company is bound to struggle. Getting this alignment right and appealing to the customer is an essential success factor.

But this is not all. Fashion companies with great designers can still often fail because of a lack of business sense. The designer is often the owner, and tries to run the business, despite not being particularly good at it, or even inclined. Thus another key success factor for Signs will be the ability of the other members of the team to convert great designs into money – having the talent on board to execute a sophisticated marketing strategy, to manage cash flows, to obtain financing, and to effectively work the company\'s supply chain, and manage customer service. These can be quite disparate functions, and each member of the team will have to wear multiple hats. Juggling the different roles with skill and aplomb will be a key success factor early on.

Furthermore, the pro forma financial projections show that the company will need to obtain about $100,000 in order to remain solvent until the point at which sales cross the breakeven point and the company becomes profitable. It is believed that the principals can each contribute this in either cash or kind (forgoing pay), and to do so will be a key success factor. Insolvency is a risk for any start-up, and in this case the ability to obtain this financing – and any subsequent financing that might be required due to unexpected circumstances – will be a key success factor.

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan for Signs focuses on a couple of key elements, but is mainly driven by the principles of inbound marketing. This is a common technique in digital marketing, focusing on attracting eyeballs, and then converting them to customers. This approach is used in both B2B and B2C spaces, and is effective and cost-efficient. This approach contrasts with the approach many young fashion companies take. Many young fashion companies either invest heavily in advertising and runway in order to attract large buyers – often failing and losing a lot of money in the process. Alternately, there are the shoestring designers who are keen to get their designs to the public, but end up doing a lot of personal selling, which is often not a natural skill for them.

Our plan seeks to leverage the limited funds that we have by investing in technology that amplifies our voice to wherever our market happens to be. That starts with the website. We have tapped some friends to help build the website, but the core of the design actually comes from the t-shirt design team, so it reflects our brand well. Moreover, the design work is of a professional standard. We kept the website simple, built for e-commerce, but adding in the lifestyle component that is essential in B2C inbound.

Content marketing can be powerful – we seek to focus our content on lifestyle marketing, where we will showcase how our brand fits in with the lifestyle of our target market. Neil Patel (2017) notes that the company is always marketing to consumers, no matter the channel, so it is necessary that each channel is aligned with the voice of the company and is aligned with the strategy.

One of the main strategic thrusts that we have enjoyed is the \"building a business\" concept, which aligns with our value of openness. We will showcase how we are building this business, and behind the scenes with our team. This content will be placed on our blog, and on our social media channels, featuring video, still photos, and gifs, as each has a different role. We will work a variety of social media channels, but particularly will focus on the channels that are trending with our target audience – these channels can be quite changeable from one year to the next so we will need to be proactive about identifying them.

There are some other great ideas out there – from pieces on charitable work, to the use of humor, or simply tying our product into the lifestyle that our target market aspires to, the latter a tactic that worked well for Herschel (Conley, 2016). This latter approach also helps to create a certain amount of interaction with our audience, which creates more interaction going forward. Hitcase is a company that has enjoyed success in building a huge social audience that contributes to the company\'s content creation; that approach not only delivers highly-amplified marketing efforts but allows the company to do so without a dramatic increase in costs.

By focusing on these low-cost forms of promotion – methods that appeal strongly to our target market, we are targeting the end buyer and driving them to our website where they will make the purchase. Creating a certain amount of street credibility will help us in the coming months when we are trying to get our product in boutique shops. That part of the distribution strategy is important to us, because it provides greater visibility to those who are not familiar with our digital presence. However, we estimate that these boutiques – leading independent boutiques in influential cities – are only ever going to be 10-20% of our total sales.

The digital marketing strategy may be optimized to attract eyeballs, but that alone is not going to make Signs successful. The marketing strategy therefore also needs to incorporate calls to action that get people to buy. Also, we need people to sign up for our newsletters so that we may build a database of customers. One of the things that will help us a lot is to understand the profile of the early adopters, because we can then take that profile, and market through Facebook via lookalike, for example.

Management and Operations

The initial Signs team will consist of a head designer, a digital marketing specialist and a business manager. The business manager will be responsible for running the supply chain and operations side of things. This role will include the accounting and finance functions as well. Many small fashion companies struggle with finance, so managing cash flow is an essential task for Signs, both in the early days and when it comes time to scale.

Operations is a big part of this role as well. Marketing is relatively easy – it requires some investment in equipment to produce visual content, but overall is a low-cost component. The designer will be responsible for that part of the production process, though the business manager will be responsible for the designs being produced to a schedule. The business manager will then have to source material and manage the process of actually producing the shirts. The initial idea is to work with an existing t-shirt producer so that the shirts can be made quickly, and locally. If necessary, we may have to invest in our own press to produce shirts. It is likely that we will have a small press anyway for limited works.

The operations manager and marketing specialist will need to work together to fulfill orders and ensure payment is collected. This side of the business promises to require new people shortly, but for the time being as in many start-ups the principals will have to wear many hats.

The ownership of the company will belong to each of the first three founders, split 3 ways evenly, which will allow each person to leverage his or her unique talents to help grow the company. This stands in contrast to many fashion companies which are either designer-owned, and thus subject to the designer\'s weaknesses in business management, or they are investor owed, which can crush the freedom of the designer to be creative. So a three-way ownership split keeps everybody fully engaged with the project, from the designer to the managers, while allowing each to focus on his or her respective strengths. As the company grows, there will be the option to give equity to new hires, though that is a bridge that the ownership group will cross later.

There are a few different risks that need to be managed, but the most important is probably the financial risk that will exist as the result of taking on debt in order to build the business. Other risks worth noting are the risk associated with the dependence of the company on its three principals. Each plays a critical role and while any one individual could be replaced, it would be difficult to do so without disruption to the business. Risk also includes the risk of injury or death to a principal, which can only really be defended with insurance. There are also risks such as fire and property damage that will need attention to ensure that they are insured against. Cash risks demand that each… [END OF PREVIEW]

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business plan for a t shirt company.  (2017, November 27).  Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/business-plan-t-shirt-company/1453615

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