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I have a couple of question. How did everybody started their business? did you have a business plan, or did it just happen. How long did it take for you business to get started? Also, did you do this alone or did you have a partnership?

I'm doing this t-shirt line myself; I'm doing the research, which is taking forever. I haven't had time to design some shirts. Also, I had my best friend who was interested at the beginning, but everything just got too confusing for her. And she has a business degree, the irony. I'm not really relying on her anymore. It's hard because sometimes I need another opinion. At this moment I'm on my own. Not really, i have you guys, but you get my drift. It's just decisions, decisions, decisions. sigh
 

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Hi Viv, this is Lou or known for and wide as badalou here on the forum. Welcome. First of all welcome. Not to long ago I cam here, actually a few weeks ago and having been in business, retail and restaurant operation management I can say that just by coming here you made the best move you could. There is score of info here. Lots of people will help you with any question you may have.Oh, and about another opinion.. yeah you will get that. so Viv.. you are not alone.. Always available to answer questions no matter how dumb you may think they are.. Lou
 

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Hi Viv,
Actually I started fooling with the idea 6 years ago and back then it was the iron
and paper from office depot ugH!!!
TERRIBLE results but i wanted shirts that nobody had.
So I forgot about it and movedback to LA Ca and got into the hotrod sceane
and saw all that money change hands at the shows and meets.
We made water slide decals and afixed them to glass ashtrays and made
car related vintage style collectables and coasters.
My son told me about Cafepress so we did that. But then I read this Forum
and I was hooked.
Without these guys I would have made many more goofs then I already have.
My sales are good and I just keep reading and pressing.
good luck
fred
 

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Viv,

Welcome to the forum. I' a new guy on here too but have been in business, not just t-shirts, for a while. I started small, and slowly expanding. I learned the actual production procedures by doing many small tests. The actual business processes, ie. customer service, marketing, building customer relationship, manufacturing, inventory, accounting, etc, are best learned by working for either a manufacturing or retail company IMHO. That's how I gained most of my knowledge. A lot of time, you just have to make the best decision based on whatever available at the time. Good luck to ya!
 

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Hey Viv, I wrote out a business plan over the last year for school and am going to get cracking with it over the next few months. I've tried to get friends to help me with artwork/designs to no avail and have come to the conclusion that I've got to do most of the work myself. :)

I have been lucky enough to meet a guy in the local area, who has his own small clothing line and it looks like a mutually beneficial partnership may ensue. So my advice is to talk to people in your area about their business and see what comes of it.

Good luck. :)
 

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sir, im plannin to put up a small business a combination of t-shirt printing and internet shop, thus anyone can give any ideas how to prepare a business proposal plan? your help is very much appreciated thanks.
 

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Hi and welcome Viv.
I've been in business over a year and a half, and here for about 6 months.
In my opinion , you can write all the business plans you want,,,,but it's all about how you're going to pay for everything involved in your business. Mainly,,,how much actual cash do you have access to, and how much credit you can afford to use.
Figure those 2 out first, then apply the rest of your plans needs and see where you stop.
No offense to anyone out there this may apply to, but, the people that are all about writing plans, usually have never been in any type of business, especially bankers and college business professors.
I suggest,
1. research your market for what you're wanting to do, and who you think you can sell to.
2. before you spend a dollar, make some visits to those that you think you can or want to sell to. See what they want, not what you want to sell to them.
3. Figure out how much money you can "LOSE". Yes, lose,,,sorry, but that's just the truth.
4. research the equipment thoroughly before you buy. Ask for recommendations and advice. Get plenty. Then research it again.
5. and,,,,,,,,no matter what you find out in the above suggestions,,,,if it's truly something you want to do, you're gonna do it, no matter what.

Just be careful.

We took the plunge,,,and so far,,,,,it's doing quite well. I'm glad we did.

Good luck.
 

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Viv, everyone has an opinion as you can see.

We didn't include a Plan, because it's mainly used if you get a loan.

Another thing is that they're many markets. Yes, many people create their own line of clothes. Also, until you create your own design you can screen print logo's on t-shirts for logo businesses, clubs, churches, etc.

You can also start with low cost equipment to see if you're going to like it, before spending a lot of money and finding out you don't like it.
 

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You will find that you have to adjust, My t-shirt business is not even in the same ballpark as my initial business plan. I made a business plan when first starting out, then with-in 1 1/2 years my business transformed until it became what it is today. After 2 years of being in business I made another business plan, this is what I follow today and am running a profitable business.
 

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Viv,

As an equipment vendor to the industry, I can share with you what I see from this end. There is a very distinct line drawn between the people who map out a strategy and those who wing it. I rarely get calls from lease companies asking me to help with a repo on companies that came into this with a plan.

As for what 'Party Animal' said above, I think there is a whole lot of truth in that. I doubt very seriously many people have created a plan that worked out of the gate and for many years to follow. I think it speaks more to the type of person and their approach to being an entrepreneur and not so much the accuracy of the plan.

Their are many people on this board and everyone's circumstance is different. I am not trying to slam anyone who did wing it or who made it on their own. I am simply saying that from my view, I see a very clear separation between those with a plan and those without.
 

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@sure

Consider an LLC as your business identity. Depending on the state you can be a single or multi-member LLC. LLC's afford you more protection than a sole proprietorship or partnership.

Business plans are not necessary, but they're good to have in hand. I suggest you make one because the very process of creating your business plan will let you know whether starting a business is feasible - do you have the resources and the demand, what will make your company unique. Business plans address these questions.

Additionally, having a well thought out business plan can be of great use should you seek investors. Investors want to know that they'll make a return on their investments. A good business plan will prove to them that your business will be profitable and worthwhile.

In general, it's a good practice to have a business plan as well to track it and adjust it as needed.

In terms of the time it takes to start a business, well that depends. If you just mean licensing the company with your/a state, it could take a couple days to weeks. Some online services can do the filings for you faster for a fee. If you're really considering licensing a company, you may want to study the benefits or lack thereof that are come with forming in your home state or another state. DE is well known as one of the best LLC states. Be advised, licensing out of your home state will cost you additional annual fees, and the paperwork can be a problem. You are also required by law to have a resident agent, an additional cost.

Hope this helps.
 

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guys when you all started in the business, can you please share some advice on how to market and advertise in the most cost effective way??thanks. appreciate it!
 

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Dan, I started by telling all my friends, co-works, etc. Also join acouple of small business networking groups. Both On and Offline.

Make some t-shirts and pass them around town, especially while it's warm out.

Do you have a website? Google Free Directory Listing then fill them out one by one if you have to. Include Your company name, phone number, type of business, cities and states you want to cover.
 

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thanks Paul. sure did help:) I don't have any website right now but i'll keep this post in mind once i get one. Thanks again!
 

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The best way to market on a budget is to capitalize on word-of-mouth and social media. If you're seeking mail order print jobs, you're best bet is to find online communities that your potential clients mingle at. Get involved in their community, don't spam. For someone selling printing supplies, they'd want to get involved in this forum.

If you're looking for local work, word-of-mouth and using your social network to get the word out is your best bet. I wouldn't suggest Twitter because it's much harder to get marketing momentum than the viral effect of Facebook etc.

You could also try guerilla marketing techniques, just be creative and legal.
 
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