Florist Business Plan for 2022

Business planning sounds boring, doesn't it? I totally get it. The idea of creating a florist business plan for 2022 makes you want to run screaming the other direction. Like one of those, can-I-please-poke-my-eyes-out-with-a-hot-skewer-instead sort of activities.

And if you Google "Florist Business Plan for 2022", it gets worse. All you're presented with is these epically long documents and heaps of questions to fill in.

That's precisely why I wanted to put together this blog post, to show you how simple business planning for your flower business can be.

Business Planning for Florists Doesn't Need to Be Hard

99% of the reason we resist planning is that it feels totally overwhelming and a lot of work for not a lot of impact. It's so much easier to just keep going with what you've been doing and hope the rest sorts itself out, right?

We tell ourselves to just keep doing stuff, filling our time, posting to Instagram with no plan, making random updates to our websites and just basically checking all the things off the list...but not seeing the results you really want to create in your flower business.

"If you don't know where you're going, any path will get you there."
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The single most powerful reason a business plan helps you grow your flower business is it encourages you to shift your perspective.

It's like a North Star for your flower business. It gives you focus and makes it easier for you to make more informed decisions about the way forward.

We're bombarded with messages on social media, encouraging us to be grateful for what we have. But when you hear the call to start your own business, it requires you to channel your ambition and dive, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone every day.

The shift here is to be grateful for what you have AND still feel the drive to want more. It's not an either-or sorta situation. It's an opportunity for 'yes and'.

Once you begin to articulate a handful of numbers and set a clear revenue goal, you'll see how big you need to start thinking – and you'll start to understand just how much your drive and ambition are going to serve you in growing your flowe business.

 

4 Simple Steps – Florist Business Plan for 2022

Yes, you can spend hours and days and months crafting the perfect business plan. But then you'll never get to work, taking action, evaluating your results and making progress.

Crafting the right business plan for your flower business is about finding a balance (your business, your rules, yeah?). No matter how you decide to approach planning for 2022, here are four fundamental topics to address:

  1. Your Annual Revenue Target
  2. Your Monthly (or Weekly) Target
  3. Obstacles to Making it Work
  4. Strategies to Make it Happen

Your Annual Revenue Target

In most cases, the reason florists fail to keep their doors open and call it quits is that their goals are either (1) non-existent or (2) too small.

This one little bit of math helps shift your thinking and realises you need to set your sights higher.

Let's do some super simple math. When it comes to setting a revenue target for your flower business, the very basic formula I like to follow is: Annual Revenue Target = personal income goal x 5 

Now, I am not a financial advisor or accountant but I find this simple formula helps provide clarity. If you want to bring home £40,000 a year, your business' revenue target is £200,000. If you want to earn $100,000 per year, your business's revenue target is $500,000. Yeah?

Monthly (or Weekly) Target

I find it really helpful to take the annual target and beak it down into a number I can wrap my head around. It's hard to imagine $500,000 but it's much easier to envision 8 orders a day, right?

Your monthly (or weekly) target is going to depend on what niche you're focused on. But here are two examples to help show you how to break it down:

Daily Flower Deliveries:
Target Average Order Value = $120, including delivery
Annual Sales Target $250,000
$250,000 / $120 = 2084 orders per year
2084 orders per year / 12 months = 174 orders per month
2084 orders per year / 52 weeks = 40 orders per week

Weddings:
Average Order Value = $5,000
Annual Sales Target $250,000
$250,000 / $5,000 = 50 weddings per year

Obstacles to Making it Work

This is where my approach to creating a florist business plan for 2022 diverts from others. I'm here to keep it super-duper simple so you can get clear on the road forward and start taking massive action.

As soon as you start playing around with the numbers, you're going to hear that little voice in your head come up with 1235 reasons why it's not possible, why you won't be able to make your revenue goal happen. That's normal. In fact, it's to be expected. (If you don't hear that voice, are you even human?)

The next step in crafting your business plan is to think about the obstacles to you creating this volume of sales in your flower business. Yes, there is going to be shiz you gotta overcome to make it work.

Where we get in our own way is that we are convinced nothing should go wrong, nothing should get in our way to make it happen and it should all be smooth sailing.

And then you hit your first hurdle and you use that as a reason to stop.

Don't do that.

When you take the time, in advance, to identify the obstacles to creating your revenue goal, you're not as shocked when you hit the obstacle. In fact, you know you're doing it right when XYZ obstacle pops up.

That's the value of this one exercise – it gives you the markers to move forward. It literally shows you where to focus your time and energy.

Strategies to Make it Happen

This is the definition of planning ahead. With each obstacle you've identified from above, think about what steps you can take to overcome that obstacle.

  • Not good with tech? Who can you enlist the help of to make it work?
  • Want to make time to take care of the family? How can you plan ahead and ensure you make time to also focus on growing your business?
  • Not good with numbers? Is there a piece of software, an app or another human who can make it easier on you?
  • Not comfortable with a certain mechanic or design style (and you really want to learn to make it), who can you learn from? How can you prioritise personal growth and intentional practice and still make progress in your business?

Remember, no one was born knowing all the things. Building a successful flower business requires you to learn a lot of things. Not just flower care, mechanics and colour theory. But also, SEO, marketing strategies, sales tactics, customer service, team leadership and more.

This approach saves you so much of the additional frustration, distractedness and overwhelm we experience when we're expecting our path to building a business should be easy.

Taking time to map out a plan, identify the obstacles and strategies to make it work gives you room to evaluate your options and sort through different ways forward.

Planning for 2022

When it comes to planning for my flower business, I like to do it in two shorter sessions. In hour one, I'll set an annual sales target and then a 90-day sales target and I map out the obstacles, the hurdles that I know will get in the way of making it happen. I then take a second session to map out my strategies forward.

Y'all thought your creativity was limited to your flowering. Good news – that's just the tip of the iceberg baby!

Just like design, planning is a process. And, as with everything I teach, I'm here to deal it to you straight and cut out the fluff. This approach works well for me so feel free to use it, and make it your own.

 

Want more FREE goodness?

Check out this recent blog post: How to Increase Sales – 3 Steps to Success (click here) 

Preparing for a Busy Season

Have you seen all those statistics flying around on Instagram about how there’s going to be a record number of weddings in 2022? It's time to talk about preparing for a busy season. (If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this NPR article which estimates 2.5 million weddings will happen next year).

This impending madness means, for many floral designers, we’re going to be double, triple and even quadruply booking our calendars. Plus, we’re used to having peak trading seasons around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas.

Preparing for a busy season is kind of a given if you’re a floral designer. We're all trying to balance life, family and running a flower business.

But navigating the crazy in a way that doesn’t break the bank or break your back takes a shift in perspective and to plan ahead.

The truth is, a little bit of pre-planning makes a world of difference – it will help save your sanity, ensure you maximise profitability as well give you the space for recovery (before you dive into it all over again).

PREPARING FOR A BUSY SEASON

I learned these lessons the hard way – I’m a great case study on what not to do when it comes to managing busy seasons.

One year I said yes to 100 weddings. Which would be fine, but given I did the bulk of the work on my own and would manage multiple wedding weekends solo, it’s definitely not how I suggest any florist should set up their business. 

(I must give a giant shout out to my husband and business partner who took charge at our retail shop while I was off wedding-ing. No way one human can do it all but I’m too stubborn to ever learn that one.)

Of course, I’m all for making hay while the sun shines, but it’s also important to know your personal limits and possibly, just as important, get really clear on your own definition of success. 

I’m embarrassed to admit this but I said yes to so many weddings because I thought I “should”. That’s how our industry defines success.

But please take it from me: it was awful.

4 TIPS TO HELP SAVE YOUR SANITY AND PREPARE FOR A BUSY SEASON

TIP 1 – Plan With the End in Mind

More than a decade ago, when I used to work in advertising, we used to create timelines called “Workback Schedules”. Quite literally you start with the end product and you move through each stage of the process backwards until you get to the beginning of the project.

This approach is so helpful because it ensures you’ve thought through a lot of details before you even start. It makes it really easy to see where the hurdles come in and where the pressure points are.

Now, when I’m planning ahead, I like to fast forward to the day after the madness. If it’s Valentine’s Day, start from 15 February. For Mother’s Day, start with the Monday (or Tuesday) after the epic weekend. If you are doing a lot of weddings, start with your first recovery day.

Then trace backwards, going step by step and backtracking the to-dos. Take it one deliverable, one task at a time and write down everything you can think of until you get to today (or the start date of your project list).

When you approach it with the ned in mind, it forces you to also think about who is going to look after the kids and who else can look after dinner on the final few nights. Plus, it deters you from booking in anything new on the day after the craziness.

Your Workback Schedule doesn’t need to be anything fancy when you're using it to prepare for a busy season. 

Just open a Google Doc or the notes app on your phone and start getting all the things out of your head and on to “paper”. 

I prefer to use an app because when you’re off getting something at the grocery store and you remember you need to also take the van in for service, you can make a note of it on your Workback Schedule. So good!

TIP 2 – Time Yourself

The first few years I was designing, I had no idea how long it took me to make a flower crown or wrist corsage. I had no idea how long a $300 arrangement would take, how long a $100 rose bouquet needed nor did I know how long I needed to make a full, luxurious archway.

So, the next time you’re making something (even if you’re not under time pressure), watch the clock.  Make a note of it. Then, when you get into full production mode, you can plan more accurately and map out your production schedule with more accuracy (avoiding those 2 am night-time design sessions)

The more you start to track your work, the easier it is for you to map out how long you need for hands-on production. 

Once you have a good library of production times, you’ll also be able to staff much more accurately and set a sales target that isn’t about just saying yes to everything that comes your way. You set a goal and you can manage your production to that goal. 

Tip 3 – Start Checkin' Things Off Today

I know florists who prep all their sundries and hard goods for the full season before the season even starts. Every client is assigned a box and all their materials are allocated, labelled and organised before a single flower is even stripped.

The beautiful thing about a lot of what we need to prep and prepare is that it isn’t the fragile/short shelf-life blooms. Taking time to prepare hard goods and sundries is a game-changer. So is making dinner and putting it in the freezer.

Quite literally, in the weeks (or days) leading up to the craziness, the more stuff you prepared ahead of time, the more you will be able to experience the beauty of the design process. When you have 1297 things filling up your brain, it’s hard to take in the magic of your work.

Yes, go fill up the car with petrol. Yes, get that insurance paperwork done now. Yes, assign someone to deal with dinner and have a babysitter lined up for the kids and the pets. Whatever you can organise now, do it! This is the magic of pro-actively preparing for a busy season. Your future self will be so grateful you did.

Tip 4 – Active Recovery

When I say ‘active recovery I don’t mean “run a marathon or go to the gym”. I mean “intentional recovery time”. 

Whatever fuels your soul and gives you the reset you need to get back to work is what you get to prioritise in the period following the madness.

Don’t spend hours mindlessly scrolling Instagram. I mean intentional, active rest and recovery. That might be a funny movie with the kids, your favourite junky takeaway or the peace and quiet of staring out at the sky.

Of course, I am the first to want to dive into the champagne and chocolate but I also know it’s going to slow my recovery. As much as I don’t really love it, I will always lean into more water, more veggies, more nutrients because I feel 1000x better the next day than when I fill my exhausted body with sugar and booze.

Whatever it is that fuels you and gives you the physical rest you need, is what you need to prioritise. 

Give yourself time and space for this recovery as well. It takes me twice as many days to recover as the crazy period lasted. So if I’m doing 3-4 weddings in a 48-hour window, that means I won’t feel amazing until 96 hours later (just in time to do it again the following week).

Many florists choose to close up shop for specific dates, others block out their calendar entirely. This is your business and you get to decide what serves you best.

Make a plan for active recovery and outline it on your Workback Schedule. Pour back into you so you can pour yourself into your work again.

Want more practical tips to help you prepare for a busy season? Check out this blog post passing along more tips to help you navigate busy weeks in your flower business. 

NEED HELP GROWING YOUR FLOWER BUSINESS?

It’s time to learn the secrets of successful florists – sign up for my {Free} Ultimate Guide to Building a Thriving Flower Business. CLICK HERE to get immediate access.

How To Price Out An Event For Florists

So, you’ve got your head wrapped around pricing out your designs. But you’re totally confused about how to calculate set-up, delivery and pack down?

Me too!

I used to be totally confused about how to go about quoting an event. Because our industry is so secretive, trying to figure out how other florists do these things is next to impossible.

That secrecy leads to total confusion, mixed messages and a huge amount of under-earning in our industry.

You know who wins with all this secrecy? No one. 

Our customers don’t learn how this whole flowering thing works. Our industry is limited in its growth potential. 

Your business is no better off. You, as the CEO, are left frustrated irritated and annoyed. On top of all of that, you’re not making any money. 

I’m on a mission to help florists get their pricing sorted. And that includes mapping out exactly how to price out an event for florists.

TWO SIMPLE STEPS: HOW TO PRICE OUT AN EVENT FOR FLORISTS

The most important thing to remember is that making the designs and delivering the designs are two things entirely.

I like to think about it like this: (1) this is the cost of the table arrangement (2) here is the premium for making it look perfect on the right day, at the right time, at the right venue.  

STEP 1 – PRICING YOUR DESIGNS

If you don’t know the industry-standard approach to pricing, be sure to jump in and read this blog post: Florist Pricing Worksheets. I go into detail on the right pricing formulas for florists.

STEP 2 – HOW TO QUOTE FOR DELIVERY, SET-UP + PACK DOWN

Don’t be alarmed. In many cases delivery, set-up and pack down are often more than the total of the designs themselves. 

Why? Because many times we are working with super short timeframes and that requires more hands. More hands always require more budget.

Here’s one of the best lessons I learned having done 500 weddings in five years: it’s not your responsibility to absorb the costs associated with your clients’ decisions. This is particularly true when it comes to navigating the venue’s requirements for set-up, delivery and pack down or navigating your clients’ requirements for a specific delivery timeline..

Working at one of Australia’s leading wedding venues required us to work by a very strict schedule: ceiling installations had to be set up and done between 7:30 am and 9 am (the venue opened for coffee and lunch during the day); reception table styling had to be done between 4 pm and 5:30 pm; pack down had to be done immediately following the reception that evening (oftentimes 11 pm).

When I first started doing weddings there, I assumed it was my job to absorb the costs of adhering to those strict timelines. My perspective shifted when I learned it’s my client who was deciding to get married at this beautiful venue. No me.

It was my client who didn’t know the venue had such strict rules when they booked in. It was my client who had no idea what needed to go into making the magic happen. 

It’s not up to you to absorb all those costs. It’s up to you to educate your client on the ins and outs and what is required in terms of the timing, the team and the logistics. And in most cases, our clients don’t about the requirements or details until you tell them about it.

Your job is to simply give your clients the information they need, give them guidance and allow them to make the best decision for themselves based on the information at hand.   

When it comes to figuring how to price an event for florists, I follow a pretty simple formula: hourly rate you charge your customer x how many people hours to the work done in the timeframe.

 

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

First things first, let’s talk about how much to charge per person per hour.

In Australia, we have a whole section of the government that manages hourly rates and minimum pay for staff. Florists fall under the General Retail Award. We are required to pay a minimum amount to casual staff, which varies depending on their qualifications and experience as well as the day and time we’re enlisting their help. Click here to check out the hourly rates

Even if you live overseas, I highly recommend you follow the same rates + train of thought. Adjust for local currencies, but yes, you can charge these kinds of prices. 

For the purposes of simplicity, let’s say we’re paying a casual staff member or freelancer $40 an hour for a Saturday set-up. The rate you’re going to charge this one staff member out at will be x 2.5-3 times the rate you’re paying them. So you’re charging your client, $100-$120 per person per hour.

Next, you’ll need to figure out how many people hours you’ll need to make the magic happen. This can feel sort of tedious, but I recommend taking the time to map it out properly, from start to finish, including:

  • Organising items
  • Packing the van
  • Driving to the venue
  • Unloading the van
  • Doing the set-up
  • Clean up at the venue
  • Touching base with the venue coordinator
  • Driving back to the studio
  • Clean up van
  • Clean up studio
  • Restock + tidy as needed

I also like to jump onto Google Maps and put the various destinations into the map planner. You can even adjust the timing to account for traffic or delays to get an accurate estimate of time.

Depending on the scope of the work and the travel time, your delivery and set-up charges can be many thousands of dollars. Don’t be alarmed. It means you’re doing it right! This is the premium required to pay staff well and do a phenomenal job for your clients.

CHARGING FOR STRIKE / PACK DOWN

When it comes to learning how to price out an event for florists, I learned the hard way that late-night bump-outs / strike / pack downs command a further premium – particularly when the venue has strict rules and timeframes. 

You can enlist the help of freelancers or specialist event companies to make this process super easy on yourself. But even if you decide to do this part of the process yourself, be sure to add a premium to the hourly rate you charge. An additional 30-50% can be added on to the per person hourly rates you’re charging for these late-night services. 

I also know some event companies charge a flat rate for this so even for a seemingly simple strike, they charge a minimum $500 or $1,000 fee. 

One last lesson learned about the pack down: add on a fee for disposal of the product. With almost every event we did, we would have a fan full of foliage and florals from the ceiling installation. It was more than I could put in our domestic compost bin.

We’d have sort through this product and take it to our local council green waste and recycling centre. The time and costs associated with this are part of the project. 

ONE MORE SUPER AWESOME SALES TIP

When I present the quote to my client, including set-up, delivery and pack down, I like to break those three costs out into 3-4 separate line items. So, instead of having one line item that says “Labour = $4500”, I will go into more detail and have a line item for each piece of the puzzle. 

This helps avoid the sticker shock your clients often feel when they see the costs associated with making the magic happen on the right day, at the right time, at the right venue. 

NEED HELP BUILDING YOUR FLOWER BUSINESS?

It’s time to learn the secrets of successful florists – sign up for my {Free} Ultimate Guide to Building a Thriving Flower Business. CLICK HERE to get immediate access.

Maximise Profit in Your Flower Business – 8 Tips

Let’s talk about makin’ money!! In fact, let’s talk about how to make more money in your flower business. Here are 8 ideas to help you maximise profit in your flower business.

WHAT IS PROFIT?

First things, first, let’s all agree on a definition of “profit”, can we?

There are a few different ways to define profit, but for simplicity, I’m going to define it as follow: 

Profit = the money left over after you’ve paid all the bills.

In most cases, profit is defined over a timeframe – you could define it over a week, a quarter, a year, or you can evaluate it on a per-project basis.

Let’s get into a real-world example, with the last design project you did, you’ve got bills from growers, invoices from suppliers, labour costs as well as operational costs (petrol, insurance, rent, heat, electricity, etc.).

Once you pay all those invoices, there should still be money left in your bank account (this includes after you pay yourself).

Most florists are gobsmacked to realise they’re barely breaking even. If that’s you, you’re in exactly the right place! 

Getting a handle on your numbers and learning to evaluate your profitability regularly is so helpful!

I know it’s super scary and intimidating at first, but it gets easier! 

Know this: getting comfortable reviewing your profitability is incredibly powerful. That's why I've put together these tips to help you maximise profit in your flower business.

This isn’t about using your numbers as an opportunity for your inner critic to come in and judge, ridicule and beat you up (more than usual).  

Treat this as a science experiment. A pure fact-finding mission. 

Look back at your last project. Maybe you way overspent on ingredients for the event. Or maybe you miscalculated how many freelancer hours you needed.

That’s OK.

Don’t stress. Don’t beat yourself. Don’t dwell on what went wrong.

“When you know better, you do better.”

Maya Angelou

I have lived by this mantra for years and it has served me so well in my flower business. Beating yourself isn’t going to help you move forward. Let that sh*t go, friend. Instead, make notes of what you would do differently next time… and then do it differently.

The best way to improve your numbers is to know your numbers. Once you know your numbers, you can take action to change them, to always improve.

Now, with all that said, here are 8 ideas to maximise profit in your flower business:

IDEA #1 – REVIEW YOUR PRICING

And do it today. I spent far too long putting this one off when the reality is, there is no reason to hold off. Just go in there and update it straight away. And no, you don’t need to gradually increase your prices. Embrace the discomfort, peoples! Don’t dilly dally. (Need help? Check out this recent blog post How to Price a Bouquet.)

IDEA #2 – KNOW YOUR COSTS

When I first started, I had no idea what was involved in running a flower business. Just becoming aware of money in, money out is helpful because that increased awareness will help you measure your progress. You will feel more in control and have a more complete picture of what’s happening (rather than just hoping you have money in your account to pay for the next bill that comes in your inbox).

Your homework: how much money does it take for you to just have your business “open”? Grab a worksheet and add up your rent, insurance, website hosting, accounting software, electricity, water, internet, phone, etc. Whatever you spend money on just to keep the lights on.

IDEA #3 – SHAVE 10% OFF YOUR NEXT WHOLESALE FLOWER ORDER

I used to overbuy at the Sydney Flower Market all the time. $100 there. $200 here. It adds up so quickly and is one of the simplest ways to eat up your profitability. 

Shopping for flowers is like being a kid in a candy shop. Building the discipline to stick to a budget and work through the urges to buy the things, not on your shopping list takes practice but it’s doable. It made a dramatic difference to our bottom line.  So, put your list together and then cut it back by 10%. Keep shaving a little bit off here and there, push your design skills and watch your profitability increase. It’s so good!

IDEA #4 – PUSH YOUR CREATIVITY + DESIGN SKILLS FURTHER

In the shop, we used to have little design wars. We’d grab the bucket of orphan stems (the leftover from full bunches) and we’d challenge each other to make something look good with an imperfect set of ingredients.

I used to be so impressed by what we could create using three mismatched gerberas and one snapdragon.  Learning to create beautiful designs with an imperfect number of stems is a valuable skill to learn and helps you push your creativity to the next level.  

It makes you a better designer and teaches you how to make more money.

IDEA #5 – REVIEW YOUR DELIVERY CHARGES

Free delivery isn’t a tactic you have to adopt. If the relay services and networks can charge $12.95 for delivery, you can too. 

In 2017, we sat down and did the math, adding up the total cost of just doing deliveries. Once it was all said and done, we saw that it cost us $25,000 to do deliveries PLUS, adding on the labour charges to then make the deliveries happen. 

When you look at those costs on an annual basis, the numbers become very real. It is a sort of tedious job to do, but it’s so worth it.

And if you need any evidence to see that you can charge for delivery, check out one of the national wire services or relay networks.

IDEA #6 – STOP OVER-STUFFING

We have high expectations of our work. We want everything that leaves the bench to look good. It’s super tempting to add in one extra stem of this or an extra stem of that. Don’t! 

Multiply that one stem x orders per year and watch the money just walk out the door. 

So, it’s time to solve this problem a different way: set your prices so your designs reflect your expectations. Then you won’t ever need to worry about overstuffing designs.

IDEA #7 – CHARGING OUT YOUR STAFF

When it comes to quoting for set-up and pack down, double-check your staffing mark-ups. (Yes, like we mark up our flowers, we also mark up our staff).

I take the hourly rate we pay our staff/freelancers and multiply it by 3. That becomes your per hour charge for each staff member.  

In Australia, we also have rules around staff rates for after hours and weekends. So be sure you’re keeping up with proper staffing requirements when you’re quoting per hour for the projects.

IDEA #8 – BEFORE YOU BUY THOSE CONTAINERS…

I spent so much money on stuff I never used. Honestly, I had an entire shed of containers and stuff that I might have used once.

Today, my rule is that I don’t buy the thing until I get the project. I’ve also told myself I need to give myself 7 days before I hit “buy”. This ensures I don’t waste my money on things I don’t need or won’t use.

FREE COURSE #FORFLORISTS

Want to go deeper? Want more than these 8 tips to help you maximise profit in your flower business? Learn the secrets of successful florists – sign up for my Ultimate Guide to Building a Thriving Flower Business. CLICK HERE

5 Things I Did to Grow My Flower Business

In November 2017, I had a total meltdown. It was early on a rainy Monday morning and I had had enough. I wish I could turn back the clock and do things so differently. I wish I had this list of 5 things I did to grow my flower business

On that Monday morning, I had just wrapped up an epic 5-wedding weekend and I was going through the motions of setting up a beautiful funeral service.

I will never forget that moment because what was happening around me was so beautiful, so perfect. 

We had the honour of creating a custom funeral design using flowers from the family’s garden. He was an avid gardener and I had free reign. This was every florist’s dream and was such an incredibly special moment.

I was so overcome by the emotion of this experience, touched by this opportunity and the beauty of the situation. And absolutely rocked to the core by the weekend I had just wrapped up.

I was standing in the centre of the garden thinking, “Kathleen this is what you want to be doing. This is the magic of floral design.” Simultaneously I was feeling so deflated by the weekend that has just passed.

The truth is, I had taken on too much. I was saying yes to every client that came my way and I felt pulled in 15 directions. 

I knew I couldn’t go on like that for much longer. I was exhausted. I didn’t like most of the work I was creating. I barely knew my clients. I couldn’t remember one bride from the next.

It was too much. I told myself, “Enough is enough, Kathleen. You’ve been chasing someone else’s version of success for too long. It’s time to step up.”

And step up I did. From that moment forward, I knew I needed to change how I approached my business. I needed to get clear on my vision and take action.  In other words, I needed to become a Flower Boss.

5 THINGS I DID TO GROW MY FLOWER BUSINESS

If you’re feeling frustrated in your flower business, you’re not alone. I’ve been there. And I’ve seen it happen to so many of my peers.

We find ourselves following the crowd, doing what we think we’re supposed to do to build up our flower business and then one day you wake up and wonder, “How the heck did I get here?” 

It’s so easy to see why we’re called to work with flowers. Our passion and drive get us going. But before long, we realise we’re travelling a path that isn’t what we actually want. You’re exhausted, deflated and wondering if you have what it takes to figure this out.

Looking back now, I realise I didn’t have the full picture. So much of what is talked about in our industry is the beauty, the design, the flowers. 

But the business of flowers, how to make money as a florist, that is kept under lock and key. I know now, that was what was missing for me. 

I had to learn how to build a business for longevity rather than riding the high from week to week, pushing myself beyond exhaustion and crossing my fingers it would all work out.

Of course, if I could wind back the clock and have a do-over, there are so many things I would do differently. 

Here are the 5 things I did to grow my flower business, to go from a totally burned out exhausted floral designer to the CEO and Flower Boss of a thriving business.

#1 – GOT CLEAR ON MY VERSION OF SUCCESS

I stopped trying to live up to someone else’s vision. I took time to reflect and asked myself, “If I could wave a magic wand, what does my dream flower business look like?”

Then, I slowly untangled myself from everything that wasn’t on that list.

It wasn’t an immediate shift. It took a while. But within a matter of months, I finally saw the light. I stopped saying yes to weddings that didn’t fit a specific set of criteria. I sorted out my ingredients selection and stopped allowing my customers to drive the designs we created.

#2 – SORTED OUT OUR PRICING

I had never sat down and actually done the math to figure out how much I should be charging for a bridal bouquet or how much those hospital arrangements should be priced at.

I had been running in reactive mode for so long and I knew I was undercharging and over-stuffing.

I took the time to properly price out every stem in our shop, to create a price list for the kind of wedding work I wanted to be making and we did the math on what we should be charging for deliveries.

The beauty with this is, although it was tedious at the time, you only have to go through that process once to see you’re missing out on a lot of money. Those numbers stick with you for a long time and make it easy to step up your game.  

#3 – LEARNED HOW TO SELL LIKE A BOSS

I used to believe all my customers cared about was the price. I thought being cheap was how you got clients and built a portfolio.

Once we got our pricing sorted, I realised why I wasn’t making money. I embraced the discomfort of raising our prices, which then forced me to learn how to become better at sales.

It turns out, yes, customers do have a budget in mind, but getting the lowest price isn’t their biggest concern. 

What do they care about? Value. Quality of service. The reassurance you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do and show up when you say you’re going to show up.

Learning how to sell anything to anyone is a must for every floral designer. It’s what changed the game for me and allowed me to book wedding clients without doing formal consultations and easily navigate sales conversions with our customers. 

#4 – DOUBLED-DOWN ON DIGITAL MARKETING

Yes, we had a fancy shop front. Yes, it was beautiful and an amazing space to connect with our local community.

But it’s also a money pit. If 2020 has taught florists one thing is that’s having a shopfront isn’t a guarantee for making money.

More people are connecting with businesses online and that means your digital marketing presence is more important than ever.

We invested a huge amount of time learning about Google Ads, search engine optimization, Instagram hashtags and making it easy for our customers to buy from us online.

We even learned how to sell wedding flowers online and how to get found by our dream clients on Instagram, without stressing about the algorithm or chasing after followers.

#5 – FOCUSED ON CREATING SCALABLE SYSTEMS + HIRING THE RIGHT PEOPLE

At one point in my business, I assumed growing my team meant having more qualified florists around. Once we started to document our processes and map out our systems, I realised how much more important it is to hire for fit than to hire based on experience.

Having the right people around you, with the right training programs and clear expectations makes a world of difference.

I stopped caring about people’s work experience or qualifications and started connecting with potential staff members based on their alignment with our values and support of our vision.

We then got to work documenting as much as we could in our business – how to do the market unpack, how to process flowers, our go-to recipes for a $60 shop bouquet, an example phone script, our suggested formats for event table arrangements and how to navigate wedding enquiries.

We spent a year pulling all this together and mapping out our own expectations so everyone on our team knew what was in my head. Yes, it took a while but it was worth it. It made everyone’s job so much easier. 

WANT MORE? I GO EVEN DEEPER ON THIS WEEK’S PODCAST EPISODE

If you like these 5 things I did to grow my flower business, you'll love this week's podcast episode.  I’m sharing more helpful guidance on building a successful flower business and teaching you how to create a thriving flower business. Listen to the episode using the Spotify player below. 

STOP WONDERING WHAT ALL THE SUCCESSFUL FLORISTS KNOW THAT YOU DON’T.

You can do this. I know you can. Stop second-guessing your abilities and limping along from week to week.

You don't need to keep giving away your work or stretching yourself too thin.  You are a good enough designer. You can make this work. You just need a blueprint to make it happen.

My Flower Boss Bootcamp teaches you exactly how to do that.

It’s time to put yourself back in the driver’s seat, get back in control of your business and unlock your potential. Sign up for my Flower Boss Bootcamp and get my blueprint for creating a successful flower business. 

You can do this. I can help.

LISTEN TO THIS WEEK'S PODCAST EPISODE

Go beyond the 5 things I did to grow my flower business and learn even more helpful, practical advice to create a better flower business. Listen using the Spotify player below or click here to jump over to Apple Podcast.

Preparing for Hectic Weeks – My Tips

I know we've all been there – it's 1am and the list of orders to be made doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. The event day is looming and you're exhausted, overwhelmed and not sure you're going to get through this week. Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, the middle of peak wedding season, as great as it is to be busy, it's hugely stressful.

In the past five years of running our business, I've learned a few tricks to get through these periods. When you're in the middle of it, you wish you had done just a little bit more to get organised. So here are my top tips:

  1. Get Organised – There are so many details that go into planning an event or sorting through Mother's Day weekend. I'd suggest you get as much of the non-perishable stuff sorted today as you can. Get your ribbons together, your candles sorted, you cards written. The more you can get done now, the less you need to do on the big day.
  2. Food Prep – How you fuel your body is so incredibly important and when you're tired and low on energy, you're body is going to be crazy sugar. Stay one step ahead and get your food sorted for the whole week. Even if it's soup six nights of the week, who cares? Take-away from the chicken shop? Fabulous. Only in the past few weeks have I become a true food planner but I cannot begin to tell you how helpful this has become. If I know I have dinner sorted before the day even begins, that's one less decision I need to make today and I can focus on getting through the never-ending list of to-dos.
  3. Prioritise Sleep – I am a person who needs a lot of sleep. I have been ever since I was a little babe. In my 20s, I tried to get by with a little bit less but as I get older, I realise I function best on 7-8 hours every night. Now, I know when we're in the midst of those hectic weeks, sleep is sometimes the first thing to suffer. But for me, I do everything I can to try to get to bed at a decent hour and sleep (or at least be in bed) for seven hours. If you want to learn more about the importance of sleep, Arianna Huffington is a great place to start.
  4. Make time for yourself – I know, it seems counter-intuitive to make yourself a priority when you think you should be spending another 30 minutes chipping away at the orders, but you're in this for the long haul. It's is impossible to build yourself up for a successful flower business if you aren't finding ways to recharge your batteries, reinvigorate your soul and stepping away from the crazy. For me, it's sometimes as simple as watering the plants, taking the dog for a slightly longer walk or having a bath with a good book. When I make enough time, my ideal recharge is a few hours at the local movie theatre. It doesn't matter what it is, as long as feel it is something that allows you to step away from the nuttiness of the everyday and reconnect with yourself.
  5. Learn to say No or at least 'Not Right Now' – Believe me when I tell you, this is a forever lesson to be learning. I am the first to jump at new opportunities and every day I feel like I come up with some new idea for the business. But when you're in the midst of the crazy, it's not the time to start something new. And when those new opportunities come from partners, customers or clients we sometimes put even more pressure on ourselves to immediately jump on the idea. Guys, it's more than OK in these windows of extreme business it's totally OK to tell them "Yes I am super keen on working with you but this week is just really full on for me." Even a simple auto-reply on your email is a great place to start. Acknowledge their email and tell them it's unlikely you'll be able to respond in the next 7-10 days (make the window longer than you think, give yourself a little extra time to respond). And even ask them to follow up with you 10 days later – it's OK to put the responsibility on to them.
  6. Ask for help. Now this is something I am horrible at. I'm incredibly stubborn and always want to be self-sufficient. I'm like a little kid that wants to prove to the world that I can be a super hero, I can do it all on my own. But I know it's physically not possible. I just can't. And these days, sleep is such a priority for me that I constantly have to remind myself, if I can get one more pair of hands to help me with this, I can be done sooner and that always means being in bed even earlier. And that to me is the best option. For you, it might be being at home with the kids, playing with your dog or watching another episode of the latest Netflix show. Whatever it is, ask yourself, if I could pay another person $25 – $30 an hour to help, what could that get me? It's not an easy adjustment to make, but over time I feel like this has made a dramatic impact on our ability to run a more sustainable business.

At the end of the day, when I'm in the middle of the stress, I live by the adage 'this too shall pass'. And inevitably, it always does. And every time out, I'm always glad I've done as much as I can to prepare.