Since first launching my hair line, I’ve received plenty of questions on how I opened and operate my business. These questions ranged from; where do I get my product to how do I pay business taxes? Before, I could only shrug and give the best responses to questions I was still searching for the answer to myself. Today however, I’m bringing you a crash course on the basics of starting your own hairline. Grab and pen and take notes because today, Rocket Fuel is dropping knowledge.
Find Your Target Market
First things first, who’s going to be buying your product? Hint: the answer isn’t “everyone.” Although in the future your brand might service to a wide array of people, there is currently a specific person who has a want and need for your product and you want to create a crystal clear view of who they are. The more detailed the better.
For example: My target market is called “Sista Gurl” She’s approximately 22-35 years old, she’s a social butterfly who enjoys looking stylish. She holds a professional career in an urban metropolitan city and she may have 1-2 children, she makes between 21k-45k a year. She is also of African descent. I can continue in depth about “Sista Gurl” for pages, narrowing down every detail of her life.
Now keep in mind, this isn’t the only type of customer that will be purchasing your products but her “type” is the main customer that has a want/need for your products. Skip out on this step and you’ll lose the frame work of your business. This will cause advertising to become a costly nightmare.
NEED MORE HELP: Spend a day watching commercials, really listen to who the commercials are speaking to. Also Check out this Video about Target marketing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpFVbtrRklM
Find a Good Supplier
Before you begin working on anything else on the list please understand that this is the most important step, having a reliable, affordable and trustworthy supplier. This separates the great hair companies from the not-so-greats. Choosing a poor vendor will tear your reputation down faster than you can build it, and word travels fast. Before putting anything in your customer’s hand you want to make sure it was in your head first! You never want to use your customers as test dummies. This will assist in maxing out the sale and keeping quality control
SALE MAXIMIZATION: Suppose you know that the hair is amazing, but it tends to get dry when not moisturized (because you tested it out), You can sell your customer a creamy deep conditioner. Now the customer isn’t upset when her hair dries out because she was expecting it to happen, and she’s prepared to handle the issue. The crisis is avoided, and you ended with selling an extra item
QUALITY CONTROL: If a product falls apart during your trial period chances are you won’t sell it to your customers. What loss have you taken? Just the money spent on product and the time you spent testing. However, let’s say you skipped the trial and sent a faulty product directly to your customers. Your loss would be way greater starting with a refund to your customers and the word being spread to all her loved ones about her poor experience. This can cost you endless customers and thousands in lost sales. DO NOT underestimate the power of word of mouth, it is the most effective form of advertisement.
Set Up Your Website
Now, on to the fun part. How do you want to get paid, gurl? Decide what avenue you want your customers to pay for your products. Do you want to use pay-pal where you send out invoices, or would you set up a fully functioning website where customers can shop and help themselves? Perhaps you would run a market on Facebook or use a third-party site, such as Store envy or big cartel. Whichever you choose, know there are pros and cons to each platform, and you can always switch it around according to your needs and your customers preference.
NEED MORE HELP? Check out this post explaining the various pay platforms https://ecommerce-platforms.com/ecommerce-selling-advice/choose-payment-gateway-ecommerce-store
Flesh Out Those Small Details
There are thousands of intricate parts that make up a business and they'll all need attention at some point. This includes what carrier to use for shipping, what type of packaging to use, which color scheme to go with, should you use your personal number on your business cards, should you even get business cards and even what to call your company.
This list is endless and often fun to work through, but be careful, it is easy to get caught in the small details and spend a lot of time over-thinking about things you will often change as your company grows. For example, I’ve changed my color scheme 4 times until I settled on something that truly fit, and my customers haven’t even noticed and never really cared. This time could have been better spent else where.
Reel in Your Customer
Now that you’ve found a vendor, identified your target audience, and figured out what to name your hot new company, its time to make some dollars. Advertising is the life blood of your company, if you’re not selling yourself then no one is buying. If the most reputable and successful companies are willing to spend 5 million on a 30 second commercial during the super bowl then you best believe advertising is critical to your success. Now, we don’t expect you to drop 5 million or even spend thousands on advertising, but you should expect to make room in your budget. Understand advertising is an investment and not an expense and you don’t want to skip it over.
There are endless ways to advertise, so it is wise to figure out what your customer spends her time doing. This way you can put your ad right where she’ll see it. The more likely she is to see it, the higher the return you’ll see on your investment. This is what makes knowing your target audience so important.
NEED MORE HELP: Check out this book on cost effective advertising https://www.amazon.com/Guerilla-Marketing-Inexpensive-Strategies-Business/dp/0618785914
Study Your Craft
Understand that you are going into a new venture, business ownership is a big deal. Only the most dedicated to succeeding will make it. To give yourself a boost up, you must study your craft. Take the time to see what the hottest trends are. Make a note to find out who your competition is. Read up on other businesses to find out what made them so profitable. Get books on how to win in business, closing sales, and winning over people. You can sell hair out the trunk of your car and make money, but if you want a business that will provide financial freedom for your family then you’ll have to put your all into it.
A great way to gain knowledge is to find a mentor, someone to watch and learn from. Some of my mentors are close personal friends who purposefully lead me, while others don’t even know I exist, yet I tap into their vlogs or study their books to pick up information I would otherwise not have access to. while you’re at it, seek out mentors for every aspect of your life, finances, family, fitness and faith. The future you will thank you!
NEED MORE HELP: Check out this video on finding mentors https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgloALgvlto&t=19s
Start the work.
The easiest thing to do when planning the launch of your new business it to get caught in the planning and forget all about the action. You can read all about how to ride a bike, but the true thrill starts once you hop on and begin pedaling. The best way to do this is to create action goals. Specific things you want to achieve and the time frame in which you want it to be accomplished. This will hold you accountable, make your progress measurable and get you that much closer to your dream.
Starting a new business is going to bring a host of new experiences, both good and bad. Just remember, at the end of the day, it’s your ship to be sailed and the journey is meant to be fun. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and always make sure you bring a couple of friends along because the trip can get lonely.