If you want to know how to start a skateboard company, then the first thing you’ve got to do is figure out your brand. You need to have a killer name in place that people area going to remember and to which they’ll crave an association in order to compete in this industry. Get that name and then get some capital put together so you can make some boards and you’ll be ready to launch your company.
Your brand name must also have one clear message that it speaks. The voice of your brand is just as important as the visuals that are put onto your board. Not every message is going to stand out either. Cats, unicorns, and rainbows play well on the internet today. If they’re on your boards, that may not play as well to your customer segments.
1. Go against the flow.
You don’t need much money to get started with your own brand. A few grand at a woodshop to make some decks, a couple more grand for trucks and graphics, and you’ll be in business. Just having boards that are ready for sale, however, doesn’t make you an actual company. You’ve got to stand out in some way. Some skateboard companies have done so by creating alternative decks. Others have put on monster off-roading wheels. Think about what you could do and then just do it. A few grand is a small gamble consider how big it might pay off.
2. It’s not where you look, but it is what you see.
There are opportunities for your brand right now in your community. The only problem is that the average person looks at the negatives first instead of seeing the positives. Why is this? Because misery loves company. Change how you look at things. Where you once saw a negative because your community is full of grandparents who’d never ride, look at the positive. The average number of grandchildren each one has is 4 and you’re a local brand. Boom. You’ve got a market.
3. Sweat equity pays more than money.
Your work ethic is going to define your brand. Magic money doesn’t just fall off of trees and land in your lap. It comes from you designing boards, marketing your boards, and talking about them. You’re putting them in the hands of kids at the skate park to try out. You’re going to retail stores to get them to sell them for you. It’s easy to do your own thing, but you’ve actually got to work at it. If all you want is a free meal ticket, get a sponsorship.
4. Forget the skateboard magazines.
Hype is only going to take you so far in today’s world. People see hype every day. They care about themselves more than they care about you. What can your brand do for people in your community? Answer that and you’ll know how to market your products. Instead of being in skate magazines, go to the people on Facebook. Show some awesome pics and vids of what your board can do on Instagram and Vine. If your brand is good, people will come to it like they do a baseball field in the middle of Iowa. If not, then listen to that message loud and clear and make some changes.
5. Spend your money wisely.
Being in business for yourself means that you get to control the purse strings. When that $400 new computer system or those $200 jeans come around, it’s tempting to make the purchase. It’s also tempting to sponsor people and hook them up with your brand for some good exposure. Spend too much, however, and you won’t be able to sell enough to make a profit. Balance it out. Sponsor a couple locals enough that they’ll wear your brand. Maybe give them each a board. Grow slow and you’ll find the right way to go. Don’t forget to include a website where you can sell product too.
6. Learn to love the office.
Running your own skateboard company means being behind a computer filing reports and paying bills more than it is actually being able to use your boards. Get used to being the paperwork behind the brand instead of being the face of the brand. If you don’t like the office, then go for a sponsorship instead of your own name. You’ll hate yourself less. If you aren’t in love with what you’re doing, then all of the money in the world isn’t going to make up for the fact that you’d rather be skating than typing.
7. Have an exit plan.
Here’s one fact that is designed to scare you: only 5% of companies make it to their 5th anniversary. 95 out of 100 brands fail. The odds say that no matter how much work you put into your brand, it’s going to fail. Make sure you have an exit plan in place that lets you keep making money in some way so you’re not living on the street. Even a paper route, using your old failed board, is better than nothing at all.
Knowing how to start a skateboard company takes some guts, some brains, and a little creativity. If you’ve got that and can follow these steps, then you might just be able to beat the odds.
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