How to Use the Capsule Collection Concept to Create a Professional Business Framework
Throughout my childhood, my family compared my fashion sense to that of an American sitcom lead character: Punky Brewster. Now if you're not familiar with Punky's style, it's mismatched, bright, and eclectic.
My husband and I recently started watching this show, and I'm mortified to realize it was not meant as a compliment! So you can image the hurdles I had to overcome when I entered the business world.
Punky or Professional?
In the early years of my career, there were many conversations about my attire. It wasn't like I didn't want to look professional, I just didn't know how. After yet another conversation about my clothes, I researched, bought books on dressing professionally, and enlisted the help of my aunt (who had worked in one of the corporate offices of New York and Company). That summer, we spent a week with my aunt and her family, and we spent most of that time getting a crash course in dressing professionally. It paid off! I no longer had awkward conversations about my attire and later in my career, my employer praised my professionalism and would use my attire as an example of the image they wanted the entire office to emulate. Now, don't get me wrong, I was not a fashionista or a trendsetter, but I dressed professionally.
The biggest lesson that I learned that week with my aunt was to create a capsule collection. A capsule collection transcends seasons and trends. They are staples considered as the foundation of your wardrobe and often can go with just about anything in your closet. Just like the basic items fashion designer Donna Karan insisted are integral to a wardrobe capsule collection, we have capsule collections we can apply to the way we do business too. They all go together and build upon one another:
The Goal of a Business Capsule collection asks one simple question, "Does this activity push my business goals forward?".
Systems Your system is how you go about doing business, hire employees/contractors, and attract clients/donors. Know what you do and strive to do it really well.
Processes Processes are all the things you do to make systems work most efficiently. When we apply processes that work in one area of our business really well to similar areas that can benefit from that same or similar foundation, we make our life easier and more consistent. For example, I work with multiple clients across different sectors and missions, however; I try to duplicate my processes across the work I do for my clients as much as possible.
Communication Effective communication is essential to a business capsule collection, it is not an accessory or a temporary trend. If your team, donors/investors, and/or clients aren’t clearly and regularly communicated with in ways that make them feel included and valued, your business could be in trouble in the long term.
The beautiful thing about the capsule collection of clothes we created, is that I still didn't lose personality and what made me unique. My capsule collection included solid color blouses and black pants, but I still showed my Punky Brewster side in a more subtle way with bright colored jackets. Still professional, but uniquely me.
What's in your capsule collection that you can start applying across your business?