A calendar is more than just a list of dates and events and in many fashion businesses, calendars are integral in structure and operations. Depending on what you do, calendars have a variety of uses and significance being essential in keeping a business organized and focused on your initial business goals. It is proven that businesses that properly plan and schedule are more efficient and avoid unplanned and unnecessary expenses. In addition to assigning tasks, managing deadlines and publicizing events, calendars prevent detrimental business performance. There is a saying that goes “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” and scheduling and planning is at the heart of management. Here are some ways a calendar can help boost your business operations.
Events and Seasons
In every fashion design business, it is essential to have a calendar of events you are attending or participating in, as it is outlines when to design, produce and sell your collection by season. It is difficult getting started in planning and executing your goals if you don’t have a monthly or yearly calendar that points out what needs to be done and at what stage of the year.
Showcasing your products is integral to a fashion designer, which is why a calendar is important to ensure you are able to fulfill your obligations on time and effectively. This also guarantees that you carefully select which events benefit your brand and working around those deadlines. As a designer, you write down events taking place in a year and which ones you are attending as a guest or as a designer. This way, you can properly plan on budget requirement, materials and the necessary marketing strategies. If for example, you plan on attending a fashion event like South Africa Fashion Week in October, then you know ahead of time what preparation is needed, what you will need, from photographers to writers to the material and theme.
Moreover, depending on the project, let’s say designing a collection, your calendar can be monthly or bimonthly depending on how long you expect your specific project to take. Ultimately, your calendar will ensure accountability and inform you on timelines regarding sourcing, the people you need to speak to or the money you will need to accomplish a certain business goal.
Essentially, a calendar helps you:
- Determine timelines and deadlines to meet your goals;
- Plan out the events in a year that you will need to attend to further your goals and therefore enable you to say no to others;
- View and buy necessary fabrics for specific collections on time,;
- Design your collection(s) according to seasons;
- Devise your marketing plan and remain on budget;
- Finish designing your collection(s) on time.
Even though your business will have an overall calendar, smaller calendars have to be created for each of your departments. So, for example, the sales team will have their own calendars, which they will create with your input to meet the overall company goals. This goes for your marketing team and your communication team using tools such as the editorial calendar. This will ensure that everyone knows how to proceed and to plan ahead if necessary so as to not encounter conflicts, confusion and missed deadlines.
To facilitate this, one can create an online calendar where all employees will have access. Have your employees send their calendars online and with this you can program the calendar to send out reminders to employees so that tasks, documents, proposals and sales goals are turned in on time. Also, encourage your team to keep their own personal calendar for meetings, task and queries.
Planning and scheduling
As a business person, it is beneficial to set up a clear plan on how to carry out events and projects that are in your calendar. It’s best to write down a general plan, distribute it to those involved and then make adjustments as time goes by, where necessary. A solid plan and schedule is based on your calendar and assists in keeping down cost and ensuring that you keep track of your business goals.
Having a plan and schedule along with your calendar is similar to having a to-do list for your business only on a grander scale. As each item is finished and crossed off the list, your motivation grows and you are one step closer to accomplishing a specific business goal. As the saying goes, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” and planning out each year’s goals (steps) will contribute to the bigger picture. With an accompanying schedule, you can monitor your goals and see if certain tasks are done on time, earlier or past the date they were scheduled, how things can improve and what can be added. Moreover, this helps you in forming realistic expectation on how long a certain project will take.
Operating without a calendar in a fashion business is like running blind and hoping to make it. A calendar is the first step in creating a pathway towards accomplishing your goals as a fashion business.
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