What I Learnt From My Failed Business
Definition: Failure- ˈfeɪljə - Lack of success
Failure is a word entrepreneur hates hearing about a venture they are passionate about.
In 2015 I decided to go into the unisex fashion world with my own range of business clothing. Shirts, pants and shorts all designed to create shape to the wearer rather than a generic square cut body of a shirt you could buy anywhere. All beautifully designed by myself and tailored by the best tailor in China, it still wasn’t enough to entice people to purchase and put their trust in an unknown brand.
Over the first 12 months of the business much of the money was poured into marketing and getting the brand and clothing out there. The brand made appearances with GQ Australia & many magazines here in Australia and even internationally but it still wasn’t enough to convert people to purchasing. Where did I go wrong? Was it the product? Or is it just the hardest industry to break?
The Australian fashion industry is worth $28.5 billion and is continuing to grow year on year as more and more international businesses branch out into the Australian market making it harder for a small local business to turn a profit. Small business accounts for 97% of all business in Australia. The expected growth of the industry in Australia annualised is 3.7% over the next five years through 2017-18, this is largely due to bricks-and-mortar retailers expansion of their online sales channels.
As more and more independent, small businesses open in the online market space, the chances of turning a profit, even harder. If you're expecting to start a business and only occupy an online space, be prepared for a long battle against the large retailers spending massive amounts of marketing dollars to promote their wears on Facebook and Instagram.
Keep in mind as an entrepreneur that more than 60% of small businesses in Australia will cease to exist within the first three years of business. So be prepared to make the hard decision when and if your business comes to that.
My whole project, YoMe Store, was funded from my personal savings. At the end of the second year I had spent close to $15,000 from my own pocket, but that didn’t matter, it was more about what I learnt from the whole experience.
Be prepared for your business to fail. If it does and you have tried everything, then you should be proud of what you have achieved and hopefully learnt. But I know that failure is a part of being an entrepreneur and you need to know when it is time to move onto another venture.
When you are starting to conceptualise an idea for your next venture, keep these questions in mine:
- Why did you start this venture?
- How much money are you investing into this venture? Do you need to find additional inventors?
- Do you have a business plan?
- Is the product you're wanting to sell actually needed?
- Have you done the research?
Know your competition
- Who is your competition?
- What is their point of difference in the market place?
- Are you utilising social media to your advantage?
- What is your products point of difference to your competition?
- Do you understand who your target audience is?