The t-shirt business is one of the most popular businesses of choice of young entrepreneurs who are still trying to find out if entrepreneurship is right for them. Their initial notion of the t-shirt business is that it’s fun and relatively easy to run. The actual t-shirt printing could be easy in itself but what most new t-shirt entrepreneurs are not prepared for are the 101 things that are essential for running a successful t-shirt business. These include in-depth research, defining your brand, marketing online, marketing offline, and creating systems for good workflow, good order flow, and the most important one of all: managing business finances. You might suddenly have a headache just thinking about all the other non-shirt related things you have to do but let’s take this one step at a time.
The t-shirt business is a lucrative venture once you learn how to do it. A major aspect of the business is the pricing of your goods. Your net profit is largely dependent on the prices of your products. It can be a little tricky to get it right because if your prices are too high, you will drive customers away and if you set them too low you will not be able to make any profit. Since pricing is such an essential part of your business, this particular post will help you figure out whether you are pricing your t-shirts too low.
If your business is just starting out, you will not have enough information or data points to work with. Inadequate information will make the process of setting prices extremely difficult. Because you may opt to rely on deductive reasoning or guesswork to determine price, there is a very high chance you are not going to get it right the first time. It is usually easier to determine if your prices are too low than to determine if your prices are too high. A number of factors go into determining the right price for your t-shirts. Here are a few pointers to look for if you want to win the sale without compromising on price.
So many people think that having a t-shirt business is just a piece of cake. I hear a lot of people say “How hard can it be? It’s something I can do on my free time.” I also get calls from a lot of enthusiastic aspiring entrepreneurs telling me that they are so excited to start a t-shirt shop and that they’d need a few shirts printed. Their t-shirt designs are really awesome but when they asked me to quote for a few shirts, they get dismayed, after doing the math, that they have to sell the shirts for at least $30 each just to recoup their expenses.
The first thing you need to know is that selling t-shirts is hard. It requires a lot of research skills, creativity, dedication, and hard work. So to those of you who say “free time”, please go to the market, buy the hardest tofu you can find, and smash it to your head. You need a lot of time and a lot of money and a lot of energy to create a good t-shirt business. I’m not saying this to discourage you, I am saying this to put your feet on the ground in case you’re floating in your t-shirt business fantasies. Real work, real hard work, can only be done when both of your feet are on the ground. If you’re reading this and you’re raising your brows, still believing that selling t-shirts is as easy as selling candies, you might be right. But here’s something you should know: selling candies is not easy. And so is selling t-shirts.
And so let’s just say that even after the realization that starting and running a t-shirt business is hard, you decided to pursue it. Congratulations! Welcome to the phase called the Beginning. Like any endeavor, as much as possible, you want to be equipped with knowledge so that you’ll not commit as many mistakes as the ones who just dived blindly into it. Being knowledgeable from the start will help you navigate your t-shirt business in the right direction without losing a lot of time, energy, staff, friendships, clients, and money!
Here are some mistakes you can make that can potentially kill your t-shirt business:
In order for you to become successful in the t-shirt business, you have to do what the big guys are doing: Being totally nuts about t-shirts until they’re on the verge of lunacy! This is not an exaggeration, folks. Starting a t-shirt business is not as easy as 1,2,3. It is as hard as 1 to 1,000. The idea or concept for a t-shirt store is just step 0. When you are planning to actually turn your dream of having a t-shirt business into reality, your first step is planning and research.
You need to be meticulous and obsessive about this step before even diving into creating t-shirt designs. In this step, treat it as if it’s a thesis in college. Before anything, read as many t-shirt business books and listen to as many t-shirt business podcasts as you can because these are the tools that will prepare you for battle. Once you’re confident about your knowledge in the t-shirt business and business management in general, it’s time for the actual nitty-gritty planning and research of your t-shirt business. Some newbies do not obsess in this step and that’s probably the reason why they close even before they reach their first anniversary. If you want to be successful in the t-shirt business, don’t act like a newbie, act (and think) like you’re one of the big guys!
Here are the things the big guys work on before they start their t-shirt business.