Be a reverse entrepreneur
More than 5 years ago, I coined the word Reverse Entrepreneur, which was the title of my website blog. I came to realize that the reason why so many small entrepreneurs failed is because they forgot this principle. Unsuccessful entrepreneur starts from the left. The successful entrepreneur starts from the right, that is why it is called Reverse Entrepreneurship.
The proliferation of business seminars focusing on low-capital-and-easy-to-produce products have resulted to so many start-up failures. Examples of these seminars include soap-making, candle-making, screen-printing, flower arrangement, and many others. As you can see, the focus of these business seminars is the low technology requirement as well as the low barrier to entry (meaning, anybody can join the industry without much capital). They are so simple such that the focus of the seminars is to show you that they are so easy and inexpensive to produce. The focus is the left side of the above diagram.
What you will not learn is about the right side of the diagram above - the customers, the competition, and the industry you will be competing in. What do customers really need and how do you compete in their minds.
Later, you will find out that learning how to produce the product is not the end of it. What makes the venture fail is the need for skills and big capital to spend for packaging, advertising, and distribution. They totally forgot about the growing competition from big and small companies, which sprouted because anything that is easy to produce invites many competitors. The seminar participant, who only have a few hundreds in his pocket is made to believe that if only he can learn to produce the product in small quantity, he will have a business and can be successful. That's not totally true! Been there, done that.
The whole point here is that you should be deeply analytical and not believing anything at face value. Start with the customer and the industry analysis.
How is reverse entrepreneurship applicable to customized sublimated sportswear
First, customization is a highly reverse business operation. Every order starts from the customer. No production can start without a firm customer need. Custom team uniforms are not something that you produce after a one-time market study and customer analysis and interaction, and then sell them. The customization market is a fully reverse operation. Interaction with the same customer continues all throughout the business life.
There is no doubt custom team wear business is profitable. If it is really profitable, how come the big brands are not doing it. Actually, they are venturing into customization but they don't seem to be that successful.
One possible reason I know is that the big companies are structured differently. They don't own the factories who do their products. and these companies are designed for big lot production (and not small lots needed for customized market). Their marketing outlets are not organized to take customized orders and doing a reverse business operation for every sale is a whole lot of logistical and control nightmare.
So, I believe, the customization market will remain a domain of the smaller and more flexible companies who can do guerilla operation.
In the customization industry, sublimation technology offers the best alternative because it is much faster and economical to do in small batches. The traditional cut-and-sew team uniforms require longer turn-around.