“Know your market.” Many entrepreneurs would cite this principle as Rule Zero for success in business. If you don’t know whom you’re selling to and why they need what you have, there’s no way to succeed in any endeavor. In this respect, the uniform industry is no exception. Uniforms have considerable value to companies of all stripes, but their specific benefits vary from organization to organization. Only by surmising all the organizations in your area that can use uniforms will you be able to sell them on a large scale over the long haul. Thus from the start, you need to identify your market, which begins with:

Assessing the Landscape

The first step in identifying your market is to assess how many companies there are in your area that have some need for uniforms. Such companies include any that value:

  • Employee Safety– From preventing falls to shielding from the sun to keeping employees warm or cool, uniforms can improve employee safety on multiple fronts.
  • Staff Identification– Uniforms make it easier for customers to tell who is a staff member, something that is highly important in many industries.
  • Employee Ranks– If some employees have authority over others, differing uniforms help everyone remember and respect that authority.

Every company with these characteristics can use uniforms, even if they currently don’t do so. Once you know how many such companies are in your area, you can focus on:

Reviewing Your Skills

Although uniform marketers should try to appeal to as broad a pool of customers as possible, it still makes sense to focus on areas where you are particularly skilled. Thus at this stage, you need to consider whether there are any uniforms that you are especially adept at selling. For example, it may be that you have a history of working in hazardous industries like construction, where quality uniforms can literally make the difference between life and death. If this is the case, you’ll likely benefit from focusing on the safety aspects of your uniforms, and should target companies facing serious hazards that uniforms can reduce. Then consider how many such companies there are in your region.

Adding Up the Individuals

Once you know how many companies there are that need uniforms in general and that can use the specific uniforms you’re good at selling, it’s time to put that information in terms of practical sales. Consider the number of people who work for each of these companies. Then figure out the specific type of gear that each employee needs to wear, and estimate how often they will need to replace this gear. Finally, calculate the amount of money you can make from supplying each employee. In this way, you will be able to determine the total size of the market and its value over time, giving you something to shoot for in sales.