You want your business idea to complement your active, outdoorsy lifestyle. Great! You have plenty of choices.
The question is, what can you do that hasn’t already been done? Failing that, what can you do better than those who’ve done it already?
There’s no correct answer to these questions, and no shortage of answers besides. If you’re not quite sure how to proceed, follow these six tried-and-true tips for budding lifestyle entrepreneurs.
1. Don’t Try to Fake It
First things first: don’t try to fake your lifestyle brand. If the idea you’re teasing doesn’t excite your personal passions, cast it aside for someone with more skin in the game to try. Truly great lifestyle brands are visceral; they excite the emotions in a way that more pragmatic products can’t. The folks you’re trying to reach will tell in a heartbeat if your heart isn’t in it.
2. Appeal to Your Buyers’ Aspirational Side
Not all lifestyle brands are aspirational in the “high price point” sense, but most of the greats paint a cohesive picture to which it’s difficult not to aspire. Cabela’s founder Rick Cabela understood this better than almost anyone and parlayed it into a massive sporting goods chain that’s managed to stay afloat in the age of Walmart and Amazon. Even while competing with the giants on price, Cabela’s cultivates an atmosphere that all but screams, “Stay awhile.”
3. Reimagine Something With Great Bones
Your lifestyle idea doesn’t have to be original, you know. Why mess with something that works — or that can work, with a little TLC? That’s the thinking behind Gull Harbour Marina, a Lake Winnipeg inn, restaurant and boat dock transformed from a has-been spot on the map to a vital hub for lake life by Manitoba-based entrepreneur David Janeson. The potential was always there; it just took someone like Janeson to unlock it.
4. Go Beyond Your Product or Service
Remember: the best lifestyle brands are holistic, cohesive, irresistible. Sure, your company might make a particular type of apparel for a specific buyer group and call it good, but that shouldn’t stop it from speaking to that group when they’ve doffed their ski hats or rain boots or fishing gear for the day. Find out what they’re doing after hours (and before) and develop a marketing strategy that meets them there.
5. Make a Major Social Media Push
Great lifestyle brands almost invariably have sophisticated social media operations behind them. Your social media channels should function as hubs — and, working in concert, as a super-hub — for prospects and customers to learn about your products, get the drool-inducing skinny about what you have in the works, and swap stories about their experience under your lifestyle umbrella.
6. Cultivate Early Adopters and Keep Them Happy
Your earliest adopters are your best ambassadors. Do whatever it takes to keep them happy and in the fold, even if it means giving out lots of free swag. Look at it this way: every dollar you spend on them is a dollar you’re not spending on traditional advertising, which is far less reliable for consumer-driven lifestyle brands.
Your Lifestyle Business Dream Is Closer Than You Think
Follow the six tips we’ve outlined here and your lifestyle business dream is far closer than you think. Now it’s time to get out and execute. You’ve got this.
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