Small Business


Make the right impression with your website

Show comments

Q. I have been working on my small business - an online fashion label called South Orient - for the past couple of years. I don't have too much at stake and have been working other jobs to pay the bills. I would really like to move forward in my business but don't currently have the money to do so, and I have already spent so much already. Any honest constructive criticism on what I can do next?

I am currently unemployed but make a bit of money as an artist. I would really like to get my business up and running and am willing to put a lot of energy into it. I believe I can do this and do have the energy and enthusiasm to figure it all out. The label celebrates multiculturalism, ethical products and being Australian. My website is   

A. As an online fashion business it is essential that prospective customers are confident they are dealing with a company in which they can trust. In the absence of being able to deal directly with you or to handle your designer fashions and determine the quality and authenticity for themselves, it is essential that you win your customers’ confidence from their first contact with your website.

Your website represents a front window and floor display of a retail premises and it must be as inviting and presentable to browsers and customers as if they were in an actual fashion outlet.

There are arguably four essentials for your business to succeed, and these mirror the established four characteristics of marketing: firstly, product – what you are selling; secondly price – demonstrating the value for money you are offering; thirdly, place – where you are selling - in your case on the web; and lastly, promotion – how you are marketing what you are selling, principally through your website. The language you use and your key messages must be tailored to your key target market. Your followers and customers will want to know that what you have will satisfy their needs.

Setting up a successful business can rarely be done on the cheap. If you aspire to be a true fashion house you will need to consider how you plan your seasonal designs, create stock, plan release dates and decide how customers can achieve uniqueness from your artistic designs. You will need to determine who is your audience: demographics, nationality, fashion style and the price point of your offerings. And you will need a financial buffer to tide you over between design and production through to sales.

If you have the energy to aspire to all this, be prepared to match it with a cash injection and expert advice to get your site to the very highest quality. An impressive website, linked with other social marketing initiatives, and backed with personal conviction and confidence, provides excellent opportunities for the increased success you are seeking.

Geoff Silk,
Business advisor, Small Biz Connect (Southern Sydney region)