The Importance of How, Why and What

Simon Sinek teaches us to clearly know our Why, How and What before we start our business. Check out his famous Ted Talk called "How great leaders inspire action". He explains why Apple is different than Dell. The question for you is, "how is your fashion brand different than your competition?" How will you answer this question in your business plan template? After you discover your Why then it's time to build your brand universe which includes your logo, font, website layout, business card etc. Keep reading to learn more about a fashion start up business plan template that includes why, how and what plus your brand universe.

Importance of Why, How and What
Building Your Brand Universe

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Record your fashion start-up mission and vision in the Live Plan business plan template.

Does your fashion start-up have a mission and vision? Are they written down in your business plan? Do you know your why, how and what? Include all five in your business plan and make them the foundation of your brand universe.

Amaia is a fashion start up and the name of her brand is Fight Focus. She has all five in her business plan template. I will use her as an example to explain how we can discover your five statements. First know these definitions to summarize your business idea.

Mission: the goals and values you have today and for the near future.
Vision: the goals and values you want to achieve in the distant future.
Why: why you are you doing your mission and why you strive for your vision.
How: the way you make your mission work towards your vision.
What: specifically the product or service you sell.
Most corporations just have a mission and vision but if you are a fashion start-up and your success depends on having a strong personal relationship with your “fans” then I recommend you define your why, how and what. The key reason is that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. I learned this from Simon Sinek’s video. Simon has a very famous Ted Talk video that I recommend you watch. He explains that people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. So if you know why you do what you do, then connect with fans who share your why. You have a much higher chance to succeed if you share a common why with your fans. You must discover your why and share it in all your marketing. Why is the most important of the five “statements.” Having a strong and clear why will give you a competitive advantage to build a loyal base of fans. It is your creative business model canvas.

If you work with me to write your fashion start up business plan then we will spend a lot of time discovering your why and writing your business plan. I did this with Amaia who wrote a business plan for her women's combat clothing brand Fight Focus.

Amaia had this to say, "I already knew what a mission and vision statement was from my studies. Chris taught me the Why, How and What which he learned from Simon Sinek. I had never heard about it before. In fact all five statements are very important."

What is a Why?

The why is the emotional part of why are you creating something. A why is an emotion like "love" or "my reason for getting up every morning" or "it makes me happy."
The FIGHT FOCUS Why is: The FIGHT FOCUS team gets satisfaction knowing that women fighters can buy comfortable protective clothing and focus on their fight.

And what is the how?

How, is the way we create our brand.
The FIGHT FOCUS How is: We are fighters and we wear our protective clothing when we fight to test that they do what we want them to do. We reduce layers which reduce irritation and maximize the movement of the fighters.

What is the what?

The what is what I'm delivering.
The FIGHT FOCUS What is: FIGHT FOCUS designs protective clothes for women fighters with stretch fabrics and advanced materials. We sell a top and bottom with chest and crotch protection for women fighters.

What is the mission of Fight Focus?

The FIGHT FOCUS mission is: FIGHT FOCUS mission is to create effective and comfortable protection for women fighters.

What is Fight Focus’ vision?

The Fight Focus’ vision is to build close community of women fighters from all parts of the world.

These five statements need to be in your business plan. Your why, how and what can easily be inserted into the Live Plan business plan template.

The why, how, and what statement don't exist in the default outline of Live Plan. But we can create new sections in Live Plan. Amaia and I created a why, how, and what, right next to the mission and vision section. We also included our why, how, what, mission and vision in the business plan pitch. We also included it in the executive summary.

Building Your Brand Universe

Include your fashion startup branding touch points in Live Plan business planning software. Your branding touch points make up your brand universe.

Do fashion startups need to include their branding touch points in their business plan? Absolutely yes. Branding touchpoints include your company name, your company color, your font, the logo, the business card, the website layout, packaging, personalities of the staff, the storefront and most important, the messaging. All of these branding touchpoints make up your brand universe and they need to be in your business plan.

Your business plan is the place to write down all your branding touchpoints for you to reference and share with your investors and staff. Write them down, review them and make sure they compliment each other and create a unified message.

Many of my fashion start-up clients do not spend the time to write down and coordinate their branding touch points. They don’t see the value in spending weeks creating graphics and crafting written content. The graphics they bring to me are incomplete, the messaging is confusing and they don’t have a clearly defined customer journey. They don’t see the importance of having a brand universe and locking it down. It is incredibly important. Without a solid branding strategy, your chance of success drops like a jet out of fuel. Think carefully about your branding touch points and put it in your business plan.
Know your branding touch points
Another big mistake I see my fashion start-up clients make is that after they launch their brand, they change their branding touchpoints. You should never change branding touchpoints. You should never change the name of a company, the logo, the font or the website layout. If you are changing them, then it means you got it wrong the first time. If you are changing then it means you are still in the business planning phase. Subconsciously the customer will ask why. The customer starts to doubt you and loses confidence in your brand. Imagine if Heineken changed their green to purple? Imagine if the McDonald golden arches were changed to brown. Changing your brand touchpoints can be a death sentence. Get it right the first time or don’t launch your fashion start-up. Write them all down in your business plan. Share the plan with experts to get advice and confirmation that your branding touchpoints are rock solid.

Building your brand universe takes at least a month. You, the fashion start-up owner must do a lot of creative thinking and creative writing. Get feedback from people close to you about your company name, logo, colors, font and website layout. Get professional help from graphic designers, copy writers and branding experts. Ask your current customers what they like and don’t like about your existing branding touchpoints. Get feedback from as many sources as you can. Make the final decision on all the different branding touchpoints so that your branding universe is complete, unified and consistent, and then lock it down.

A unique point about the brand universe concept is that there should be one distinguishing element within your brand universe that is ever present in everything that you do. When I created my brand, Vietnam insider with Chris Walker, fashion startup consultant, I created a red bar that you see at the top of every webpage. That red bar appears in my videos, business card, social media posts and business stationary. When you enter my brand universe, subconsciously, you see that red bar and associate it with me. The red bar is the distinguishing element that's ever present throughout my brand universe. When you build your brand universe, you should always be thinking about what is that one distinguishing element. It could be your logo, favicon or a unique cursive font. The distinguishing brand touch point is some small detail that is clearly visible everywhere in your universe that your customers associate with you and only you.

Amaia and I built her brand universe during her internship in Vietnam. She is a boxer and she created a brand that designs and produces protective clothing for women fighters. She started writing her business plan and we spent a month just getting the branding touchpoints right.

Amaia said the following, “I thought it was going to take two or three days to come up with my branding touchpoints. But in fact, the work is more complicated than I thought. It is a long process, which takes time and which requires patience because you must systematically go back and forth reviewing ideas, graphics and text. Finally, it took me two weeks to find my logo and choose my company name.”

“To choose my fashion start-up name I wanted to have the letter F like my last name Fratacci. I wanted it to start with a F and I had three different ideas, Fight Combat, Women Fighters and Fight Focus. So to choose, I asked my colleagues. Chris and I discussed the pros and cons of each name at length. Finally I chose Fight Focus. Sounds easy but in fact it was process that took two weeks. For the logo, I did the same process, but it took even longer because I ended up drawing 11 variations and got help from friends who also did some drawings. The easy part was inserting the logo and name into my Live Plan business plan.”

“The logo is very important to me and has significant meaning which took me a while to realize. My logo contains one closed left fist and a crown of laurels. The fist is left handed because I am left-handed. It is closed because it represents the fight in boxing. The crown of laurels symbolizes victory and the nobility of our sport. Boxing is a noble art and the goal is victory. I explain this in my business plan to illustrate my personal commitment to the brand and my brand story."

“Working with Chris, I learned and understood that creating a brand universe, it's not only the name and the logo, it's also choosing the color, the font, the business card, the website layout, the packing, the storefront, and so on… It is necessary to know the message that you want your brand to deliver. Creating that message requires input from others and multiple revisions which is why it takes time.”

The branding touchpoints go into the pitch, which is just a short section of the business plan. And in the beginning we included the brand name, the elevator pitch, and the logo, and also talked about the target customer in the problem that we're solving, which is related to the brand universe.

The branding touchpoints are written into Live Plan in the pitch. In the body of the fashion start-up business plan we added a section called brand universe overview. We described all the different branding touchpoints and how they relate to each other. Some investors may look for it. In the future when you hire staff, they can read your business plan to get know your branding touchpoints clearly.