No Experience Required! – Should You Start a Business in an Industry with No Prior Knowledge?

Going into a new industry without any experience is either amazingly naive and stupid, or really laudable and brave. No consistency that lot. I’m going with laudable and brave because it’s what I did. It’s definitely brave because I was really scared!

Should you do it – start a business in an industry in which you have no knowledge or experience? Yes, if you are prepared to do a lot of research and learning, ask questions of everyone, plead ignorance and ask for help, buttonhole strangers at exhibitions, have it take longer than you wanted/expected, have it cost more than expected, make mistakes etc etc

Oh and don’t forget the research. I know I said that already, but it merits another mention. I don’t mean market research (but that too), I mean the industry and products.

I had to find out how the fashion industry works, how clothes are designed and how they get from a sketch to hanging on a rail. If one has Angel / VC (or other big bucks) funding, then it’s easy. With champagne plans but fizzy pop money it’s another story.

I had to source every single component in every garment (there are more than you think) and try to buy them in small quantities. Oh the derision that I endured.

I’m a person that wants to understand things, and know how they work. This means processes too. This is good, it keeps my expectations real and prevents me from making stupid requests of my suppliers. I recommend it to everyone, in every industry.

I have learned a lot about garment manufacture, in some areas I know more than some people working in the industry, because they deal with factories in the Far East than supply all the components themselves.

People at this end are not always involved in the detail of the manufacture. I know there is so much more to learn, and I’m looking forward to it. Every new garment brings new knowledge.

Assuming that everything else about your idea is viable (you’ve checked etc) then yes, go into that unknown industry. Remember that you know nothing, ask questions all the time of everyone. The list of people that have succeeded in a new industry is long and illustrious, you’ll be in good company.

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