Research & Refine your Business Idea
Once you’ve decided to build a T-shirt business, it’s important to select a niche. This will allow you to reach a specific audience. On top of that, it would be an immense amount of work to try to cover any T-shirt that people may want. Instead, pick a design or something you like and start there.
The idea is to offer something that other T-shirt businesses don’t. Try to stay away from what’s already out there, and try to develop something new and specific. For example, don’t just create T-shirts with funny sayings, but perhaps funny sayings about a specific occupation, hobby or other niche area.
It’s also worth knowing that you don’t need to get too complicated with the design. Simple and effective is going to be much easier for people to grasp and enjoy.
While you’re planning, thinking about your goals is key. If you don’t have at least an outline of a plan, it can be harder to determine your growth and how well your business is doing. In addition, planning out the way income will be handled is extremely important.
One tip that can be useful is having a bank account that is solely for the business. That way, you can track the income coming in and going out just for T-shirts much more easily. Considering a plan for spending versus income for yourself is going to help you to keep things balanced.
Creating your Business Website
Whether you have a physical business or only work through online means, having a website is absolutely key to getting the attention of others and making sales.
If you have a physical store, the website can provide information on hours and location as well as provide some examples of what you create. It can also help to provide updates and stay interactive with your customer base.
In addition, a website can be a great way to make sales, whether those are in addition to physical sales or on their own. Not to mention, storefronts on websites are easier to create than they ever have been before.
With a solid website, you can also keep track of the demand for your products as well as how many people are visiting your site regularly. This can give you a good idea of how many are interested in what you have to offer and allow you to tailor the experience accordingly.
There are also some great places to create a website like Squarespace and Wix, which make it very easy to create a fantastic looking site without having to worry about a lot of technical code. After that, you’ll just need hosting!
Setting up a website isn’t as hard as it may sound, in-fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses who may not be tech savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website, they’re service is simple and easy to use/setup and they’re currently offering 60% off hosting, including free domain registration.
Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
Marketing Your Business
Marketing is an extremely important way to get eyes on your products. After all, if no one sees what you have to offer, then they can’t really make the purchases that help your business to succeed.
The good news is, there are options everywhere for marketing your product! One of the first and easiest includes making social media pages and profiles for your business. Sites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are all great ideas for interacting with customers, getting the word out there and showing people what your product entails.
There are also advertisements that you can pay to make use of on these sites if you want to. Keep in mind that these do tend to cost a little bit of money, so make sure to compare your options and go from there.
You can also choose to advertise your business in the real world, including using business cards, ads in newspapers, magazines, billboards or even spots on radio stations.
These options often come with a price, but it can be a great way to reach out to those who may not have social media or don’t spend a lot of time on the internet, especially if you have a physical store!
Setting Goals and KPI’s
When it comes to ensuring your business is successful, using a KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, can allow you to measure the level of success your business is having.
This essentially means setting goals for your company that you can work towards and measure. It’s a good idea to select a KPI that matches the kind of company you’re running so that it can provide the best views of how well you’re doing.
In most cases, it’s important to create goals that are specific, such as an amount of profit you want to make, or a number of shirts you want to sell. Being able to measure those numbers can tell you how close you are to your goal.
Furthermore, make sure that your goals are realistic. Don’t expect to make thousands of dollars in your first week, but instead perhaps start with baby steps that can snowball into something much greater over time. Even something as small as selling 5 shirts is more progress than selling zero shirts before the company started.
It can also help to create a time frame for this goal. For example, that you want to sell five shirts in a month. Then, once that goal is reached you can take a look at your numbers and re-evaluate based on that information.
Plan your Finances
Most are aware that in order to make money selling T-shirts, some money is going to have to be invested in the business. Things like initial T-shirt designs, the shirts they go on, your website, and the costs of shipping are important to pay attention to.
The good news is that unless you’re also opening up a brick-and-mortar store, there doesn’t have to be a huge investment cost. One of the beautiful aspects of selling online is that it can be done at a much lower price than as a physical location.
That said, there are a few things you’ll need to create the best possible start. As mentioned earlier, having a bank account specifically for the business is a great way to keep track of business-related costs and profit.
If you find that you don’t quite have the funds needed to start the business, then you do have a few options to help with gaining that money. However, keep in mind that these options will typically include a very clear image of what you want to do, and how you will make it successful.
However, if you’re starting a physical business and are going to need a lot of capital to do it, then you may need to look for an investor who will be willing to back you. This can be a tricky thing to do, but it isn’t impossible.
It’s also important to include costs for all of the costs related to a physical store, like rent, standard upkeep, and maintenance in situations where something goes wrong.
Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset
It can be easy to fall into a mindset of perfection with regard to your business. However, that kind of thinking isn’t really going to be helpful in the long run. Instead, it’s better to view the business as an ever-growing, ever-changing thing.
Sometimes, you may find that something that was popular previously, suddenly isn’t being purchased at all. Keep in mind that your customers are always changing, gaining new interests and favoring new designs.
As a result, it’s important to be flexible so that you can keep up with those changes in a more fluid way, rather than ruminating on the mistakes, failures or aspects that simply don’t work. This will keep your business and products relevant and interesting to modern customers.
Other things to consider when starting your T-Shirt Business
Having an understanding of the legality aspects of your business can be a great help an avoiding problems down the road. Your first step will be in creating a business name that reflects what your business is, is easy to remember, and isn’t being used by other businesses.
After that, you’ll want to think about the structure you want your T-shirt business to take on. Having a concept of what it means to be a sole proprieter, LLC or Corporation can help to guide you in this process.
As you make that decision, learning how to register your business is key, as well as gaining an idea for how taxes should be completed for your business type. If you’re in the United States, then the IRS website can help to give you an idea of the process. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to learn about the taxes in your unique location.
Accounting & Bookkeeping:
While this might not be the most exciting aspect of a business for everyone, it’s one that is extremely important. The good news is that there are options to help you get a handle on this more easily.
This might include hiring someone to handle the bookkeeping for you. Sites like Upwork can be a fantastic way to find help, whether it’s for bookkeeping, website management or even just posts to your business blog.
In addition, there are programs that can make the entire process much easier. These include software like Xero or Quickbooks. Using these programs, the process of tracking expenses, income and just about everything in between can be much less of a headache!
At some point, you may find that the work is just too much for you alone. When that time comes, you have a couple of options worth taking a look into. These include hiring employees, or looking for an independent contractor.
Depending on the option you choose, it’s a good idea to understand what employees need to be provided as per legal guidelines. These can be a little different in each country, so it’s worthwhile to look up what applies to where you live.
Some can find that they may just need temporary help, or help that can come from an independent contractor. The guidelines for handling these kinds of employees are a bit different than with standard full or part-time employment.
Having an understanding of what tasks you need help with can go a long way towards making sure you get the help you need in an efficient way. Make a list, take a look at your options and you’ll surely find people who are willing to assist with the business.