Setting up a shoe business

So I've got the innovative, never been done before (in the UK), worthy of a dragon's den investment idea and now I need to get the detail out of my head and on to paper into a business plan I can put in front of a bank.

A bit about me - I'm a marketer by trade.  I love everything about marketing: the research, planning, execution and hard work that goes in to developing, promoting and selling a product.

I've been in Higher Education marketing for almost 10 years now, starting a family and some internal promotions have meant my entrepreneurial ambitions were put on hold, but an imminent redundancy has meant I have finally been given the kick up the arse I need to start this business idea that's been rolling around my dreams for a number of years.

Friends and family have been surprised when I've told them that I'm going in to making shoes.  I know nothing about making shoes!  However, I do know about business, and I believe I have a good business head on me.  Plus I know about marketing, finding a niche, developing a brand and how to let my target market know about my company.

There is, of course, going to be a steep learning curve.  For example, although I know about SEO I've never had to apply my knowledge to an unknown website.  I also would usually have a significant advertising budget to promote my products, but with this start-up company that budget is going to be next to nothing. I'm going to have to rely on clever, targeted marketing tactics in the digital marketing world to inform and drive my potential customers to my website.

A lot of market research has gone into my target market.  I've got hold of a copy of the latest Mintel report for the UK footwear industry, I've got some meetings set up with freelance footwear designers and I've had a good chat with a consultant from the British Footwear Association who gave me some really good advice for next steps.

My plan over the next few months is to:

  1. Get the basics of a website up and running;
  2. Get some designs made to get accurate quotes from a footwear manufacturer;
  3. Shortlist and visit some manufacturers in Portugal;
  4. Get a logo made.

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