Did you know that 8 out of 10 new businesses fail in their first 18 months? Yep, these are sobering statistics – especially if you’re thinking about starting your own business venture soon. After all, creating your own shoe company isn’t a walk in the park. First up, there are a million and one things to think about, from ordering stock to hiring staff, and everything in-between. But planning ahead and taking your time can put you in the best position possible when starting your own business. If you’re thinking about starting your own shoe business, take a look at these steps my partner Todd and I followed to launch our own shoe startup.
1. I Researched the Market and Read Hundreds of Product Reviews
I researched the market of sneakers. Athletic shoes, and specifically running shoes, is the sector of the footwear market I had decided to focus on. Since I would be selling running shoes, I looked at the products my competitors were selling, and I read the reviews that customers had written. What does my target market like? What are the specific needs of my target market? In which areas my competitors fail to deliver? What is the price range? How can I improve upon the running shoes that are currently in the market? These were all questions that I tried to answer in detail. These questions lead me to the type of running shoes I would market.
2. I Developed My Brand
As the world becomes more visual, having a strong brand can get you noticed. Ask yourself the following questions: how do you want your company to represent you? What brand message are you trying to convey? What do you want to tell the world about your new company? Firstly, you’ll need to pick a good name, and then reflect this in your branding. Having a good logo, which you can incorporate into your business literature and website will make you look more professional. Remember to register your company name at your local county or city administration office and get a vendor’s license.
3. I Found a Good Supplier
Even with a great business name and logo, you won’t be able to go any further if you don’t have any stock. Do your research and find a good supplier that you can rely on in your area. I found my shoe supplier from Alibaba.com. A website like Naw.org (home to the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors) is a great place to start, too. You might even want to look through trade publications and websites to find the type of suppliers that you want to work with. This will all depend on the shoes that you plan on selling of course, though you might want to specialize in only one type of footwear (for example bridal shoes or children’s shoes).
4. I Set My Website
Your website will need to do two important things. Firstly, it should tell your customers about the products you are selling, and include detailed descriptions, shipping information, and your contact details. Secondly, it should have a payment platform which can take customer’s orders. This will enable you to do business 24 hours a day, and automate the payment process. You can either enlist the services of a web designer to create your site, or do it yourself – it’s completely up to you. Just remember – you should include attractive photos of the shoes you are selling, and go into detail about your shoes. Tell your customers the sizes that you offer, and the materials used.
5. I Marketed My Brand
Once your website is up-and-running, you will want to attract as many people as possible. Using search engine optimization techniques (such as incorporating special keywords into your website) can increase your chances of prospective customers finding you on search engines. You might also want to advertise your company in a trade publication or in your local newspaper.
Related Reading: How to Start Your Own Shoe Company