Online Flower Business Tips – 5 Steps to Success

Looking for online flower business tips? You're in the right place. If we've learned anything from 2020 + 2021, it's that if you want to have a successful flower business, being online is a must.

No longer is having a cute little brick and mortar shop the secret to success. In order to get customers and grow your flower business, we gotta level up our online marketing skills.

Even though we had a physical flower shop, we conquered the online game early on in our business. It's one of the reasons our business was so profitable.

So, I thought it might be useful for y'all if I put together five lessons, five online flower business tips to help you cut through all the confusion and see what matters most when it comes to growing your business.

Know this: the whole world of online flower business tips can be overwhelming.

There is a lot to learn. The learning curse is steep.

Setting up a successful online flower business requires a lot of Googling, trying stuff, stepping outside your comfort zone and embracing technology. But it's worth it. I promise!

The Most Important of All Online Flower Business Tips: The Same Pricing Models Apply

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid is not pricing correctly. It's really tempting to think all your customers want is cheap flowers and low-priced options but they really don't. (After all, that's what we as consumers are bombarded with every day, right?)

Now, just because you're not forking out for high street rents doesn't mean you don't need to follow the same pricing model.

I'll encourage you to keep things super simple and just decide that you too can follow the same pricing model as those who have a fancy shop.

As a business owner, you've got enough to think about and enough new things to learn that keeping pricing simple is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Once you accept that pricing can be simple, then you can shift your energy to learning all the other things – the things that will help you get customers and grow your business. Things like, figuring how to set up a new website, sorting through your online catalogue and conquering SEO is complicated enough.

You don't need to compound that by second-guessing your approach to pricing.

The fact of the matter is, even if you did have a physical retail shop, in order to get the volume you need to run a profitable flower business, the majority of your customers are going to be ordering from out of town anyway.

So they aren't even going to set foot in your shop anyway. You working from your garage makes no difference to them.

Just decide today, right now, that the industry-standard approach to pricing applies to you too.

Tip #2: Your Website is Your Most Valuable Asset

This is true whether you have a shop or not. In today's world, more customers are shopping for florists online, which means your website is your single most important asset to your business.

Having a full functioning online ordering system is a must. Having a mobile-friendly, responsive website is also mandatory. Being able to go in and update your prices, adjust the content, announce closures and sort through your images is also important.

When it comes to learning online flower business tips, a Facebook page or Instagram profile is not the same as a fully functioning website. Yes, they can be helpful (see Tip 5 below) but in today's digital age, you gotta get your business online and fully transactional.

The truth is, humans are lazy. Your customers are lazy. They want to be able to place their order in as little as three clicks. If they need to send in a form or place an enquiry and wait for you to respond, they're just gonna pass and move on to your competition.

Tip #3: Set Your Sights Higher

When it comes to getting your website sorted, it's the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and set your sights higher.

The first impression you make with your customer matters. A lot. How user-friendly your website is, how easy it is to navigate (on desktop, mobile and tablet), the overall vibe and level of professionalism all contribute to gaining trust with your next customer.

That trust is what instils your customers to finally buy, to put in their credit card info or send through that enquiry form. If your website isn't top-notch if it doesn't feel professional and high quality, you're going to miss out on a lot of money.

Now, that's not to say you need to spend 10s, or 100s of thousands of dollars on it. But having beautiful photos, easy-to-read typefaces and a great layout matters.

Better yet, set up your website for the business you want to have in the future. Don't limit yourself to what your business looks like today.

Tip #4: Win the Google Game

I know it's easy to get swept up in the Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Pinterest world. But when it comes to getting customers, attracting clients and getting found online, Google matters.

Set up your Google My Business listing, sort through the details of SEO and, if you're doing daily flower deliveries, get yourself set up on Google Ads.(Be sure to check out this recent blog post to learn a few insider secrets for Google Ads.)

It's not enough to have a website, but getting found, being accessible and getting on your customer's radar is just as important. Google makes that possible.

Tip #5: Use Social Media to Bring Your Customers Behind the Scenes

Love or hate it, social media is here to stay. And if you run a business, having a social media presence is a standard of entry.

Better yet, social media is a great way to build more trust and provide guidance and expertise to your future customers. It's a way to show your customers you're alive + ready to help them.

Use Facebook to build relationships with your local community. Use Instagram posts to showcase your work and provide expert advice.

Post to Instagram Stories to showcase what's in season, show your customers you're open for business, share what's new in-store and bring them behind the scenes.

Want more helpful tips? Check out this super helpful YouTube video we put together a few months ago: Easy Instagram Story Ideas for Flower Business Owners.

Want more tips to help you conquer digital marketing for florists?

Learning to navigate all things Google, sorting out your website and coming to terms with the fact that being a floral designer + business owner requires us to learn a lot is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to making more money in your flower business.

What no one tells you about being a human being and running a business is that your success comes down to your mindset, learning how to overcome limiting beliefs, navigating imposter syndrome and continuing to show up even when things get hard.

I stayed stuck for so long in my business because I was waiting for things outside of me to change. I signed up for all the workshops, did my formal certification and have invested a huge amount of money in learning the craft of floral design. I wish someone had told me sooner that learning the art of being a creative entrepreneur, learning how to step into the role of CEO and embracing the discomfort of personal growth...those are the real secrets to building a thriving business.

At the end of the day, no one really cares whether we're formally trained, have all the credentials in the world or if we can claim "expert status". Our customers just want to know we can help them solve a problem. But every florist I know has struggled with imposter syndrome at one time or another.

If that's you, you're in exactly the right place. Be sure to check out this recent podcast episode:

Enjoy the Podcast?

How to Promote Floral Business on Instagram – 3 Time-Saving Tips for Florists

Wondering how to promote floral business on Instagram? I'm here to help.

I used to be so intimidated and overwhelmed by all things Instagram. I used to look at the famous florists and think 'Wow, their work looks so effortless. They show up and make it look so easy.'

Meanwhile, I was struggling with finding halfway decent photos, knowing what to write in the caption and constantly second-guessing what I needed to do.

I spent so much time stuck, so much time wondering how to promote floral business on Instagram.

But then I started to look at things differently. I shifted my frame of reference.

Very specifically, I stopped focusing on what I thought I was supposed to do in comparison to my florist idols. I stopped worrying about what my competition was doing, I stopped dwelling in my own insecurities and self-doubt.

Change Your Perspective

When it comes to how to promote floral business on Instagram it's super important to remember that we're using Instagram as a way to attract customers. At the end of the day, Instagram is simply another way to market your flower business.

And when it comes to marketing, job #1 is to focus on your customers. It's time to get your self-doubt, your uncertainty and your fears out of the way. Hit pause for a few minutes and put yourself in your customer's shoes.

When you shift your perspective, stop focusing on yourself and start obsessing over your customers, it brings so much clarity.

It gives you guidance on what really matters when it comes to how to promote floral business on Instagram. No longer do you need to have the sexiest captions or worry about having the world best photos.

Instead, you can pour your heart into helping your clients, being helpful and making it easy for your customers to find the answers they're looking for.

You can play a totally different game.

Step Away From The Crowd

If you've ever spent any time deconstructing how most florists show up on Instagram, you'll see feeds filled with flower photos, pithy captions filled with a handful of emojis and, mostly, a lot of self-centred, look-at-how-good-a-designer-I-am posts.

This is how I thought we were all supposed to show up on Instagram.

But I realised that approach wasn't helping me get clients. It wasn't helping me streamline my systems and it definitely wasn't helping me show up consistently on Instagram.

All in all, that approach was just too hard.

So I came up with a totally different path. I decided to step away from the crowd, break with tradition and make my own rules for posting to Instagram.

Turns out, Instagram can be easy. When you shift your perspective and step away from the crowd, you can use your creativity to develop a better process – one that is (1) helpful to your customers (2) saves you time and (3) is actually fun (seriously!).

3 Time-Saving Tips: How to Promote Floral Business on Instagram

It's time to follow a new path, my friends! It's time to learn a better way to approach Instagram.

Here are my three favourite time-saving tips to help:

  1. Batch Your Posts + Plan Ahead – set aside 60 minutes in your schedule to sit down and plan your posts. I use Planoly to schedule and map out my feed. Decide ahead of time how often you want to post to your feed and then get to work making it happen. And remember, consistency is more important than frequency. Start with 1-2 times a week and go from there. It's better to post 1-2 per week x 52 weeks a year rather than 100 days in a row and then give up for 36 weeks.
  2. Use Stock Photos and Graphic Headlines as Images – Canva.com is one of the greatest shortcuts available to us and makes it so much easier to create a pretty feed and cohesive vibe on your feed. And, instead of posting a wall of your designs, switch it up. Be intentional with curating your feed and creating a sophisticated, cohesive vibe using a mix of stock photos and graphic headlines. (You also schedule your content using Canva.com, so if having it all in one place is helpful, this might be worth checking out.)
  3. Answer Your Customer's Questions – this is one of my favourite time-saving shortcuts when it comes to Instagram. Instead of wondering what to write or filling up that valuable real estate with a pithy, charming caption, use your Instagram captions to educate and inform your clients. It can be as simple as taking the very last question a customer asked and writing out the question + answer in the caption. Literally. (Yes, it really can be that simple my friends!)

Instagram is an incredible marketing tool to attract new customers and better clients to your flower business.

But one of the most important things to remember is we flower business owners get to play a totally different game. We can create a new set of rules because we don't need to worry about engagement or followers or cracking the algorithm.

If you're ever stuck wondering how to promote floral business on Instagram, come back to these three time-saving tips. They really do work!

Oh, and, if you want more Instagram tips for florists, check out this recent post on how to use Instagram Reels in Your Flower Business.

How to Price Flowers for Valentine's Day

Not sure how to price flowers for Valentine's Day? You're in the right place.

On our very first Valentine's Day, running our flower shop, all I had to go on was a list of last year's rose order from one of the regular wholesalers. I'm so grateful I at least had that much info, because it gave me a point of something to go on.

From there, I had to just figure it all out.

All. Of. It.

I had no idea what people liked to order or when they ordered or even how much they wanted to spend.

I felt so lost.

I mean I could sit here and paint y'all a picture of it all being sunshine and rainbows, but let's be honest. It was messy. Super duper scrappy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, hopefully-never-to-be-repeated-again, sort of messy.

If I could wind back the clock, go back and have a little pep-talk with old me, I'd tell her to be intentional with how to price flowers for Valentine's Day.

In fact, here's exactly what I would do:

TIP 1: Price to the Equation

I was convinced there was no way I could charge that much. In Australia, our wholesale rose prices double around Valentine's Day. That really challenged me and all my limiting beliefs about money and pricing.

I was filled with so much doubt, so much hesitation when it came to raising my prices. I felt bad for charging those kinds of prices.

But then I started to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes. What happens at the growing side of things and what the rose farms needed to navigate and just how intense the pressure is for them.

At these peak trading periods, wholesalers and growers work around the clock, trying to tame Mother Nature and do everything in their power to deliver quality flowers on this one magical day of the year.

So much is out of their control and yet customers still demand they deliver. Of course, these days, navigating international logistics is at a whole new level of 'hard'.

Once I started to understand all the effort that went on behind the scenes, I really began to appreciate what this industry is being asked to do, how much pressure is on every single person all along the supply chain.

Me telling myself, "I couldn't charge that much", assuming my clients didn't want to pay a premium wasn't just hurting my business. It was hurting our staff. Our growers. The wholesalers. Every single person along the way.

It was also hurting our customers.

Once I started to realise it wasn't my job to judge whether or not I should price to the equation, I started to see how much more, what a better experience we could offer our clients.

Being able to offer best-in-class customer service, being able to hire another delivery person, and being able to navigate last-minute requests meant we were able to exceed our customer's expectations.

That was only possible after I finally sorted out my pricing.

It's time to let go of the judgement and the hesitation my friends.

It's time to decide the industry-standard approach to pricing works. It applies to florists of all shapes and sizes and is a proven model for making a profit.

In fact, it's one of the best gifts we've been given. It works. We don't need to spend hours upon hours doing all this fancy math.

And yes, it still applies on Valentine's Day too.

(If you need a refresher on pricing, check out this blog post: Florist Pricing Worksheets)

TIP 2: Your Customers Want to Spend Money

For me, one of the best lessons to learn about how to price bouquets for Valentine's Day was seeing how much humans love to spend money.

When I was younger, I always thought of Valentine's Day as a "Hallmark Holiday," something made up by a smart group of marketing people to make people buy more stuff (...actually, I still think that's true).

On a personal level, Valentine's Day isn't really my thing. Professionally though, if it makes customers happy, if it brings a smile to their face and gives them an ounce of joy, I'm here for it.

If it gets flowers in more customers' hands, sign me up! More humans need to experience the joy of flowers.

When it comes to spending money on Valentine's Day, I saw customer after customer after customer, hand over their cash, throw their credit cards at us and not ever hesitate when we would quote them $300 or $400.

Yes, there are new customers who are shocked at the prices but there's an equal number of customers who are excited to indulge, to spend over their budget and share their love.

If you struggle with confidence when it comes to pricing, decide to make Valentine's Day the time you challenge yourself, let go of your limiting beliefs around money and let go of the judgement you have on someone else's appetite or ability to pay a premium for beautiful blooms.

If your customers want to spend money, make it easy for them to spend money.

TIP 3: How to Price Flowers for Valentine's Day

When it comes to setting up your online catalogue and mapping out your offer for Valentine's Day, here is a basic framework to follow:

  1. Design 1: Bouquet of reds with a touch of pink or purple. Standard Size $147, Premium $195, Deluxe $254
  2. Design 2: Bouquet of pinks and burgundy tones. Standard Size $147, Premium $195, Deluxe $254
  3. Design 3: Vase arrangement of reds with a touch of pink or purple. Standard Size $187, Premium $243, Deluxe $316
  4. Design 4: Vase arrangement of pink and burgundy tones. Standard Size $187, Premium $243, Deluxe $316
  5. Design 5: Deluxe vase arrangement with small chocolates + bottle of prosecco $424

Now, if you're the type of designer who wants to use premium ingredients and has customers who spend more money, be ambitious with your pricing. Double what I've outlined above.

When it comes to how to price flowers for Valentine's Day, use this framework as your guide and go big.

One final note: yes wholesale prices are on the rise. It's not your job to carry the burden of supply chain issues. It's your job to level up your marketing and branding to align with the value you offer your clients.

Looking for more tips and free stuff? Be sure to check out our YouTube Channel. Click here to jump in.

How to Buy a Flower Business: 3 Things to Know.

So, you're thinking about buying a flower business. But you're not really sure how to buy a flower business or what the benefits of buying a flower business are? I've gotcha covered.

I want to share three things I wish I knew before we bought our flower shop.

What are you actually buying, when you buy a flower business?

Like for reals, what do you actually "get'? Well, most apparent, you get the supplies and materials from that business – things like the sink, a cool room, buckets, and all the flowering things (technically referred to as the assets of the business). Maybe there's a delivery van, some uniforms, a social media following, a phone number and a website.

The specifics vary from flower business to flower business but the shop fit-out and physical assets are just the beginning of what you're buying. So much of what you're actually buying isn't visible to the human eye.

The real value of a flower business sits in its systems, processes, and relationships. This is referred to as Goodwill. And it often has a juicy value associated with it, possibly something like $40,000, $80,000 or $200,000.

In essence, the whole point of Goodwill is that you should, no matter your level of expertise or experience, be able to open the door (literally or figuratively) and be able to turn over the same volume the previous owner turned over – all without the previous owner being there.

Goodwill moves with the business and isn't something that stays with the previous owner. So, if you buy a flower shop and the handover date is on a Friday. You, the new owner, should be able to generate the same revenue and profit as the previous owner in a similar trading window.

Yes, this whole Goodwill thing is pretty nebulous and it's super easy for people who are selling a business to pay lip service and say "Yeah, yeah yeah. It's all there."

This is where I want to step in and share three things I wish I had known before I jumped into buying a flower business.

I Wish I Had Known Better: How to Buy a Flower Business

When we bought the flower shop, I wish I had known way more about what to ask the previous owner.

In the end, we took on the shop with a handful of text messages and one email. Thank goodness for the handful of staff we inherited, who knew enough to keep us on track for the first while, while we figured out how the shiz this whole flowering + business situation was supposed to go.

When it comes to thinking about how to buy a flower business, here's three things I wish I had known before I jumped into the deep end.

#1 Documented Operations + Systems

The more systems and processes that have been documented, the better. And no, you don't want an old dot-matrix printer document. You want the most recent, up to date systems (including COVID operations plan).

The goal is for you to have access to a complete 'How To Guide' to running the business exactly as the previous owner ran things. Yes, you're going to make changes and improvements but this is your place to start and a safety net when things get hectic.

#2 Marketing + Sales Processes

At the end of the day, one of the most important things you're buying is the systems that come with consistent orders and enquiries. If these are based on a best guess or relationships with the seller, that's a giant red flag.

The biggest benefit to buying an existing flower business is that you don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to marketing + sales. This includes social media plans, website guides, advertising programs and sales scripts.

If this isn't clearly mapped out, proceed with caution. (If you're looking for quick tips and more marketing ideas, be sure to follow me on Instagram @littlebirdbloom. I'm showing up every week, passing along super helpful tips and teaching florists how to build better businesses.)

#3 Wholesale + Customer Relationships.

One of the most unexpected wins from buying the flower business was the established relationships with wholesalers. This saved my bacon on more than one occasion and makes your job 8000 times easier.

At the end of the day, your flower business success is directly linked to your wholesaler relationships and having these squared away is invaluable. Better yet, have the previous owner do a formal introduction and handover to set you up for a seamless transition.

The same goes for high-value clients and regular customers. Prepare a script for you and the previous owner, align your stories and celebrate the transition so you can continue to build great relationships with these customers.

Enlist Help to Navigate the Process

I am so grateful I threw myself in the deep end and bought the shop...but I also know there are heaps of questions that come up through the process.

Do lots of research. You won't regret it. (Still, to this day, I jump online and look to see what shops are for sale. It's so fun to see what's listed and explore the possibilities.)

When it comes to all the ins and outs, the who, what where, why and how to buy a flower business, definitely enlist the help of a financial planner or accountant. You'll probably also need a lawyer to help you review the contracts and logistics.

And, be sure to know your financial risks and the ins and outs of your obligations.

Go in with eyes wide open and do your best to not get sucked into the pretty shop layouts, cool decor and fancy design stuff. At the end of the day, it's all the unsexy things that are going to help you build a profitable, thriving flower business.

Know too, particularly in today's world, you don't need a physical retail space to be successful.

More and more designers are building successful, hugely profitable flower businesses without a physical retail shop space. (PS – if you need help getting shiz sorted out online, check out this blog post: 4 Google Adwords Tips for Florists)

If owning a physical retail shop is your dream, go for it. If not, that's awesome too. You do you, boo.

Is Owning a Flower Shop Profitable?

So...you're wondering, Is owning a flower shop profitable?

The short answer: floristry is like every other business under the sun. It's really easy to NOT make money.

Just like in the food world, setting up a restaurant looks so glamorous and sexy. And then you realise you gotta do all the things, think about all the unsexy business things and learn how to get customers to come into your restaurant and pay you money.

The same goes for car dealerships. Coffee shops. Movie theatres. Fashion boutiques. Jewellery shops.

Like every other business on the planet, running a flower business requires a balance between creativity, design, and business know-how.

Of course, you probably know that already. That's why you're here, reading this sexy blog post, right? And you wanna get the inside scoop. You wanna learn how to go from Backyard Betty to Profitable Polly, yeah? Read on my friend!

Is owning a flower shop profitable?

Let's get to the heart of the matter. Is owning a flower shop profitable, Kathleen?

Yes.

And no.

(If you're wondering WTF kind of answer is that, let me explain...)

Running a flower business can be a highly profitable endeavour. Once you wrap your head around pricing, see the value in managing your costs, learn marketing, and conquer sales, you'll start to see a lot of money in your bank account.

But many florists I know have a dream of owning a beautiful flower shop and focus on the physical shop space as the heart of their operations. They rely on the shop space to drive marketing and sales for their flower business.

That's where things can go wrong.

I am like so many florists. I had the dream of running a beautiful flower business and thought that required having a physical shop space. That's why we bought the flower shop (quite literally because I wanted to be the one who owned the beautiful, super cute flower shop, which is what we transformed it into).

But a few years into running the shop, I realised the shop itself isn't what made our business profitable.

Fun fact: rent in our area is super-duper-duper expensive (like more expensive than in many big cities...no joke.)

Consumer behaviour has shifted so much in just a few years that I started to believe our shop was actually a community service, a not-for-profit endeavour. A gift to the all old ladies of our small town.

In fact, over five years pre-COVID, our walk-in traffic saw a steady decline, whereas online ordering steadily increased.

The real reason our flower business was so profitable is that we really understood how customers operate.

While other florists were fussing over window displays and focused on merchandising, we took a different path. We made the investment to set up a website and focused on online marketing.

That's why, when you ask me, "Is owning a flower shop profitable?", my answer is yes and no. It all comes down to context and understanding what question you're asking.

Is running a flower business profitable? Heck yes.

Is managing a flower shop and physical retail space a recipe for success? Nope.

Is owning a flower shop profitable? Yes. And no.

Don't get me wrong, our business was super profitable. But the shop itself became much more of an operational consideration rather than a driver of marketing and new orders.

It's why I will tell you, a retail space and shop front is much more about operations and logistics than it is about marketing, sales and making money.

Changing Consumer Behaviour

In today's world, more customers are ordering flowers online than ever before. Moreover, more customers are intentionally choosing to buy flowers online rather than visit a traditional brick and mortar space (check out this article from medium.com).

The past 24-months have seen an even more dramatic shift in consumer behaviour, with more customers buying flowers online than ever before.

So, if you decide to invest in a shop space, having a strong online presence and a profitable website is ridiculously important. I dare say mandatory. Because that's where your volume is going to come from to help you sustain the costs of the shop space.

Know Your Numbers

At the end of the day, you get to make the decisions that are best for you and your flower business. Go in with eyes wide open and get comfortable crunching some numbers.

Most important, map out a revenue plan and do your homework. Put some thought into your marketing priorities and figure out how many orders you need to consistently bring in to balance the cost of the rent.

And don't forget to account for staffing and other operational costs.

Many commercial leases will have mandatory trading hours. That means someone will need to be in the shop, ready to serve customers at whatever hours are set out in your lease. Insurance, electricity, internet, and water might also all be above and beyond the rental space.

Do your homework. Know your numbers and make a plan. A few hours of number crunching and talking to an accountant can save you weeks or months of heartache and frustration.

Oh, and, if you're trying to navigate the ins and outs of setting up your flower business website? Check out this blog post: Florist Website Mistakes – How to avoid the Big 5

How to Markup Staff: A Step by Step Guide For Florists.

Topic #2,305 no one in the floral design industry talks about: How to markup staff in my flower business?

I've gotcha covered. And even better, I'm going to give you my super simple approach to making sure you're set up for success when it comes to quoting for set-up, pack down and delivery on your special event and wedding work.

What is the Right Mark-Up to Use?

Back in my past life of being a fancypants advertising exec, we used to spend hours talking about how to markup staff. It was literally how we made money.

There was a specific revenue to staff ratio we had to stick to. We weren't allowed to hire more staff until we hit a certain sales target and when we did hire new staff members we had to make sure our revenue stayed at a certain ratio.

When our revenue slumped, we had to cut down on staff. When we won new business pitches, we had to stick to a specific ratio for hiring.

Needless to say, I've lived and breathed that ratio for years. The math works. Advertising Agencies make their money based on this proven approach and, heck, if the ratio works for Ad Agencies, it's gotta be good enough for floristry, right?

Here's my super simple approach. Generally speaking, when it comes to how to markup staff in your flower business, I follow this formula

2.5-3 x freelancer hourly rate

So, if you're paying your freelancers $50 an hour, you're going to charge them out at $125 - $150 per hour.

And when you're pulling together your quotes for clients with on-site set-up, that means you're charging this amount for each person who is helping you and for every hour they're helping you.

How Do I Figure Out How Many People and How Many Hours?

Bad news bears...I've never figured out a shortcut to this one. But I do like my approach. It works for me.

The most accurate approach I've found to figure out how many people and how many hours is to sit down with a pen + paper and actually map out the day. Work through it step by step and write it all down.

Yes, if you're working at a venue you're familiar with, this is pretty straightforward. If you're working at a new venue, doing a walkthrough and talking to the venue coordinator is super important. You will want to get their rules around timing for set-up and pack-down (if they have any).

Very specifically, when it comes to figuring out how to markup staff in your flower business, here is my process in a bit more detail. Close your eyes and envision yourself on the day. Start to walk through the full experience from start to end.

Personally, I like to work backwards and start with the end in mind. So, for me, I start with the day after the event and the (dreaded) clean-up of the workspace, van and repacking candles, vases etc. I think about how I want that to go and how many people I want to help me.

I then work backwards from there. I think about what needs to happen to pack down the reception late the night of the wedding, work backwards through the reception set-up, the ceremony clean-up, the ceremony set-up, the bouquet delivery, packing the van that morning, etc. etc. etc.

It can take an hour or so to map this out, depending on how complex the project is, but I find it always gives me the best result.

Plus, the experience of working backwards really forces me to concentrate on what's happening – I find I rarely miss out on things when I approach it back to front. I know it sounds odd, but it really does work!

After I figure out how many hours of support staff I need and how many people to bring, I think do that quick bit of math.

Hourly Rate (2.5-3 x Freelance Rate) x Hours Needed x People Needed = Total Charge

And yes, if your eyes bulge and you think wowzers, that added up fast!!, you're doing it right.

HOT TIP: Instead of having one line item that says: Delivery, Set-up and Pack-down, divide that one line item into 3 or 4 separate line items. This prevents the sticker shock that happens when your clients are looking at one four, five or six-figure line item.

You'll Never Regret Over-Estimating the Hours Required

When it comes to doing wedding set-ups, I lived by the rule of having an extra pair of hands with us on the day.

Last-minute issues, production hick-ups and sudden rainstorms can throw a spanner in the works. And my goal was to be able to say 'Yeah, of course, we can help,' even if the situation had nothing to do with flowering.

Having another pair of hands to help you clean up or help the stylist lay name cards, tidy someone else's mess and help mum sort out some last-minute crises makes you indispensable. And that's what planners and venue coordinators remember the most.

Lots of florists can come in and make a room look spectacular.

But going above and beyond, being OK swiping up the floor, helping the staff reset tables and not having to stress about having someone duck out to move the van is what makes your team look like superheroes. And it's why venue managers and planners want to work with you again and again (and again).

It took me a long time to learn this.

For the first year of my business, I didn't even know I could hire freelancers or that having a pair of hands makes the work 8000 times better, let alone less stressful and easier on the body.

When I did start bringing on a team of support staff, I was always second-guessing my approach.

When I started doing large scale installations, tight turnaround and big jobs, the on-site set-up costs and pack down costs are usually more expensive than the flowering costs.

That's OK. It's totally normal. Usually, we're stuck with super tight deadlines, short set-up timeframes and limited access. That means more hands are required. More hands mean higher costs.

(If you're not sure how to quote for an event, also be sure to check out this blog post.)

How to Markup Staff and Not Freak Out Over Being Able to Charge That Much...

I used to freak out about these charges a lot...so much so that I would look at the total, immediately discount and eat into my own profitability...all before I presented the first quote to the client.

Don't do that. Learn from my mistakes.

Instead of assuming your client can't pay that much, reframe your perspective.

Remember this: it wasn't your idea to do an event at a venue with their specific set-up, pack-down and delivery requirements.

In many cases, when we talk about the requirements and timing for set-up and pack-down, it's new news to our clients. They don't learn about these rules until we get involved and tell them how things need to run on the day. And, often, they're super surprised when the labour costs more than the flowers.

At the end of the day, the decision to host an event at that location wasn't your decision. But you can still be super helpful.

Your mission is to educate and inform, give them the information they need to allow them to make the best decision for them. It's not your job to judge your client's ability to pay or worry about whether you can charge that much.

No ma'am.

Remember, your pricing is always based on an equation. Not an emotion.

Next time you need to quote for an event, use this formula for how to markup staff. It works.

Want more helpful tips? Be sure to follow me on Instagram @littlebirdbloom I'm showing up every week, passing along super helpful tips and teaching florists how to build better businesses.

Marketing Tips for Florists: How to Get Found Online

So you've spent all your time and energy getting your website sorted. But now you're left scratching your head, wondering why the orders and enquiries aren't piling in? Now you're wondering, WTF do I need to do to get found online?

I've gotcha covered. Check out these three super helpful marketing tips for florists.

Marketing is a 'Thing'

Before I started my flower business, I spent 15 years working in fancy corporate marketing jobs. In fact, I've been studying marketing for over +20 years. I did my undergraduate degree in marketing and even have my masters. #overachiever

To say I LOVE marketing is an understatement. I'm totally, utterly obsessed with deconstructing and dissecting how the big multinationals market their business, how they attract the right customers, at the right time, with the right message.

Even more than that, I love taking those same business and marketing principles and teaching florists the right and wrong way to market their business and make money.

When it comes to marketing tips for florists, one of the most important lessons I learned was that we gots to approach our marketing from a totally different perspective.

Where other businesses need to grow their following, increase engagement and prioritise exposure, we floral designers get to approach marketing from a totally sideways perspective.

Why?

Because our customers shop differently. Our customers behave differently.

Let's pause for a moment...If you think about your dream client, the person who is going to place the next online order or send through the next event enquiry. Close your eyes and imagine you are that person. Put yourself in their shoes.

Quite literally. Close your eyes and think about how they would approach it. When they're looking for a floral designer, what do they do? Get super-specific.

When they jump online, where is the first place they go? If they're on Google, what do they type into the search bar?

If they're on Instagram, what do they type into that search bar? If they're somewhere else, what do they do? Envision the process in all its itty bitty fantastic detail.

The most important part of this planning process is to get super duper specific:

  1. Get specific in the platforms that your ideal clients use
  2. Get specific in the words/phrases/hashtags your clients use

Putting yourself in your client's shoes, envisioning the experience from their perspective is the single most powerful thing you can do. Seriously.

Stop Following the Crowd

Our industry teaches you that you need to do a heap of styled shoots, get exposure and worry about being featured on some famous blog. Then, and only then, will you be able to attract the kinds of clients you're dreaming of, yeah?

Wrong. I'm happy to tell you, there is an easier way. But it requires you to stop following the flower crowd.

Winning at floristry, building a thriving flower business requires you to learn a new approach to marketing.

Of course, you could go to business school, get all the degrees and geek out on all things marketing. Or you could shortcut your success and spend your energy focused on three super simple marketing tips for florists:

  1. Be in the right place
  2. At the right time
  3. With the right message

The Golden Rule of Marketing

If I had to distil down the single most important lesson from all my years as a fancypants marketing exec and spending thousands of dollars on all the degrees and qualifications, it would be this:

Get out of your own head and put yourself in your customer's shoes.

When it comes to getting found online, this really is the secret to success. It's not rocket science. It's not about being the best designer and it's definitely not about being famous or popular.

It's about being your most empathetic, helpful self. Using your imagination and really getting in touch with what matters most to your customers.

If you find yourself constantly second-guessing, over-thinking and over-complicating things (like we all have a tendency to do, being smart AF humans), hit pause for a hot second.

Go out into the real world and find 1-2 real-life humans who embody your dream client (or at least a kinda close proximity to a version of your dream customer).

Have a conversation with them. Buy them a coffee. Or a cocktail. And ask them to explain to you their research process – where would they go if they needed a florist? Get super specific and write it all down. Verbatim. Better yet, ask them if you can record the conversation and then get it transcribed.

Flashback to my corporate days, working with the likes of Dominos Pizza, Expedia and HSBC, we used to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on focus groups. You can do the same thing. Just on the super cheap.

It's time to take a page out of the successful big business multinationals. Learn from their process and do the same thing in your flower business. It's time to stop overcomplicating things, overthinking things and get back to basics.

You will be so surprised at how simple this can be. And even after just one conversation, you'll start to see how differently you can think about this whole marketing thing – you will start to be able to answer that burning question: How do I get found online?

Marketing Tips for Florists

At the end of the day, the right marketing mix is going to depend entirely on what services you're offering in your flower business.

Customers looking for a flower delivery behave differently to those looking for a wedding stylist. Someone looking for table arrangements for a christening behaves differently than someone looking for a casket cover.

Putting yourself in your customer's shoes truly is the secret to figuring out the right approach.

If you need it, here's a quick list of marketing priorities for floral design businesses:

Daily Flower Deliveries

Wedding Flowers (without a Planner)

  • Instagram Hashtags
  • Google My Business Listing
  • Search engine Optimisation

Floral Subscriptions

  • Local media + influencer partnerships
  • Instagram / Facebook paid ads
  • Word of mouth

Remember, every flower business has its own subtleties, its own nuances to consider. But use this list as the foundation for your marketing plan. Build on it and call out your own BS when you start to overcomplicate things (yes, we all do it).

Start tracking your data and test out new ideas. And if you ever feel like you're off track, make a plan to sit down with another real-life human being. Ask them to explain their process again and then recalibrate your approach.

No matter what, just keep going.

You got this, peoples. Let's go!

And don't forget, if you want to get my A-Z blueprint to marketing your flower business, join us inside Flower Boss Bootcamp. This is THE program to help you grow your business, get customers and make more money.

You get my exact approach, my step by step system to make it work. Click here to learn more.

Instagram Reels for Florists – 3 Things to Know

Feeling left out of the loop when it comes to Instagram Reels for florists? You're not the only one. Does the thought of adding yet another thing to your ever-growing to-do list feel impossible?

I've gotcha covered.

I'm here to give you the low-down on Instagram Reels for florists and share the three most important things you gotta know.

Instagram Reels for Florists

Instagram launched Reels in Brazil in late 2019. They then rolled it out internationally in 2020.

Now, as we are on the doorstep of 2021, it's become a fairly standard part of most businesses marketing repertoire on Instagram.

As is the case with most new features on Instagram, the algorithm is going to prioritise users who are using their newest features. You're bound to have heard the stories of new business launches in 2020/2021 and growing to 10,000, 100,000 +++ in just a matter of months simply because they jumped on the Instagram Reels bandwagon early.

And now you're wondering WTF you gotta do with Instagram Reels for Florists. If you're anything like me, you're barely comfortable showing your face on camera and now Instagram wants you to dance and point and lip-sync some silly lyrics?

Is this whole scenario just bringing up more anxiety and making you question all your life choices even more? You're not alone.

That's precisely why I wanted to put together this blog post, to help you short-cut your success and learn the right strategy to follow for Instagram Reels for florists.

Rule #1: Think Like Your Customer

Let's switch gears for a minute. Close your eyes and imagine you are your customer (...actually don't close your eyes, that'd make reading the rest of this read hard).

If you sell daily flower deliveries, where do you think your customer turns to when they're looking to order flowers?

One of two places:

  1. Google
  2. Instagram Search

Do you know what your customer doesn't do...they don't start following a random florist on Instagram in the hopes that one day they'll need to order flowers from them, remember they follow them, go in and explore their feed, check out their Instagram shopping and then send flowers.

Nope.

Most of your followers are following you because they like pictures of pretty flowers. Better yet, they like free pictures of pretty flowers.

You'll find thousands of business coaches, teachers and mentors spouting out the importance of increasing engagement and giving you tips to crack the algorithm. Because in most industries it's your followers that are going to translate into your paying clients.

But it's not the case in floristry. Our followers are fans of flowers, fans of free flower photos. If that follower doesn't know anyone in your delivery area, they are never going to buy from you.

If that follower is never going to host a wedding or event in your area, they are worth $0.

Stop Following the Crowd

Where florists get themselves into trouble is assuming marketing flowers is the same as marketing shoes, notebooks or even a cafe.

It's not.

Marketing your flower business requires you to question every assumption and step outside the square.

This includes how you approach Instagram Reels (and even TikTok for that matter).

Instead of wondering how to approach Instagram Reels for florists, stop for a second and ask yourself a different question:

If Instagram Reels are a shortcut to help you increase engagement, grow your following and crack the Instagram algorithm...but never leads to a paying customer, increased revenue or a new enquiry...is it a good use of your time?

Only you can answer that for yourself.

You can decide you love Instagram Reels for the creative expression, the challenge and discomfort of stepping out of your comfort zone or because you want to experiment with your messaging in a new medium.

If, on the other hand, you feel obligated to jump into Instagram Reels for Florists because you think it's going to help you grow your business, get customers and increase your revenue, I'll challenge that thinking.

At the end of the day, there are three things you gotta know about Instagram Reels:

  1. Yes, it will help you grow your following.
  2. If you feel awkward when you're doing it, you're doing it right
  3. Your Followers ≠ Your Customers

If you need help figuring out how to promote your flower business on Instagram, also be sure to check out this super helpful blog post: How to Promote Your Flower Business on Instagram

When it comes to getting more enquiries and growing your business, your #1 is to put yourself in your customer's shoes.

Map out their exact path to purchase. How will they find out about you? Where are they looking for a florist? What matters to them the most?

Get super specific, write it down and make it your only goal to be where your customers are actively searching for a florist.

And yes, if it feels like you're not following the crowd, not doing what everyone else is doing...you're probably doing it right.

The Easy Way to Get Found on Instagram (Podcast Episode)

Getting found by your dream customers isn't as hard as it seems. It just required a slightly different perspective, a better strategy (and going against the grain when it comes to worrying about exposure, stressing about the algorithm or increasing engagement).

This approach to Instagram is one of my most favourite lessons to share with florists because it helps cut through the confusion, overwhelm...and gives you permission to play with the big boys while being the new girl in town.

What you'll learn from this episode

✓ My super simple approach to getting found by your dream customers
✓ How to cut through the confusion and shortcut your success
✓ A better option than worrying about getting on a preferred vendor list
✓ My step by step guide to sorting through your flower business hashtag strategy

Listen to the Full Episode Here

Enjoy the show?

Setting Sales Targets in Your Flower Business

As 2021 comes to a close, I know so many of us are turning to 2022. Setting goals. Making resolutions. Dreaming of creating bigger, better flower businesses.

Setting sales targets in your flower business is part of this – and I know many of you are gonna roll your eyes and tell me numbers aren't your thing.

And here's the thing, most financial planners, biz wiz people are gonna overcomplicate this and make business planning an epically overwhelming and hard exercise...which is awesome for them because it validates their existence...but not so awesome for you, right?

You're after business tips that are easy? Super simple? Straightforward? No fluff?

You're in the right place, my friend!

When it comes to setting sales targets in your flower business, I like to follow a super simple approach.

(Heads up: I am not a financial advisor, accountant or lawyer. Go out there and seek personalised custom advice...but also know this formula is HELPFUL to get you started!)

 

Keeping Things Simple

Most floral designers go about building their business backwards – we say yes to whatever comes our way in the hopes that (a) "one day" we'll be able to create the work we want to create and (b) everything will just magically fall into line and we'll start making more money.

That's how I used to approach my business.

Until I realised that approach is a little bit like wanting to go on a holiday but then booking a hotel for Melbourne in May, hiring a car in Sweden in September and paying for discounted airfare to New York in November.

For most of us, when we plan a trip, the first question we ask is: where are we going? That's precisely the same question you need to ask in your business.

Setting a sales target in your flower business is like identifying a North Star. It brings everything into focus and requires you to set your sights higher, level up and take massive action.

This one exercise is when you finally start to see that a handful of $60 bouquets isn't going to cut it. Or those $500 wedding enquiries aren't enough.

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

Setting a sales target in your flower business shows you how small you've been thinking and shows you where you're allowing fear to hold you back.

And my super simple approach to setting a sales target shows you just how big you get to dream, brings up all the fear and doubt and requires you to embrace the discomfort of growth (which is the real secret to creating your dream flower business).

 

 

How To: Setting Sales Targets in Your Flower Business

Are you ready? It's time to grab that calculator my friend.

Take your personal income goal (i.e. how much you, as a human, want to bring home to live your life) and multiply that number by 5.

personal income x 5 = annual revenue target

Now, it's not a perfect solution but it does give you guidance on how big you need to be thinking.

For most of us (myself included), we tend to think way too small. But to create a profitable flower business and make more money, one of the biggest lessons to learn is to set your sights higher.

Quite literally.

And, this one little bit of math does just that – when I do this with my students, it usually brings up those waves of nausea, fear, hesitation, uncertainty (um, yeah...you know all the negative emotions that we want to avoid?).

But that is part of the magic of this formula. It shows you just how small you've been thinking.

 

Your Actions Need to Match Your Ambitions

Building a profitable business, setting sales targets in your flower business, requires you to step up. To embrace the discomfort and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

But, because you're human, that is going to bring up all sorts of emotions. For most of us, we use that negative emotion as a reason to stop.

  • You feel afraid, so you stop taking action
  • You don't feel confident, so you talk yourself out of putting yourself out there
  • You feel a tiny, itty bitty sense of resistance and you immediately assume something has gone wrong. You should stop.

What I wished someone had told me years ago is that this experience, that negative emotion, is normal. Particularly when you own a business.

It is part of the human experience. Nothing has gone wrong. You are not broken.

You are a human being with a human brain. And your human brain is programmed to keep you safe. It wants you to stay in the cave, which often means keep playing small, staying small and not putting ourselves in harm's way. Ever.

Except, the experience of business, the day to day reality of building a business requires you to do the opposite.

Creating bigger, better results in your business requires you to take bigger, better action. And that means embracing the discomfort of trying new things.

That's why I love this super simple approach to setting sales targets in your flower business – it brings up all the fear, doubt, and uncertainty.

Your job is to then work through, overcome, the fear, doubt and uncertainty and take action despite feeling afraid.

And yes, setting sales targets in your flower business is as easy as 1-2-3:

Step 1: identify your personal income goal
Step 2: multiply it by 5 to get your business' annual revenue goal
Step 3: level up your mindset to make it happen, so your actions match your ambitions

 

Making it Work

This one exercise, identifying a sales target, has helped so many of my Flower Boss Bootcamp graduates fast track their progress. It's such a simple bit of math but creates massive results.

It makes your goal concrete, measurable and gives you guidance on how big to dream. It's so awesome the immediate mindset shifts that can be created from this one little bit of math!

It's why we've created this super simple calculator – play around with the numbers and experiment with different goals. Then you can get to work baby!

Wedding Florists Getting Ghosted: Why It Happens + What To Do About It

Here's a quick story for all y'all wedding florists getting ghosted...

In 2017-2018 I must have broken some sort of record for the number of wedding consultations conducted to clients booked. And I don't mean some sort of positive, gold metal, on top of the world record...I mean I did hundreds of consultations and only booked dozens of clients. 💩

That was the year I realised my approach really wasn't working. I would have good-enough consultations, say yes to whatever the client wanted. And then it would take me DAYS to pull together the mood board and custom quote (which, by the way, was nowhere near "full price"). I would email it over to the couple. And then....(wait for it)....nothing.

N-O-T-H-I-N-G 🤐

No response. Not even a recognition of the time, energy and effort I had put into everything. Not even a "Thanks but no thanks."

This, my love, is what our industry refers to as "ghosting".

There are SO many things I wish I had learned earlier in my flower business career, so many things I wish someone had told me, particularly when it comes to the whole world of wedding enquiries.

Today, I am so grateful I've learned as much as I have because I can share my foibles and lessons learned with you, my dear stranger on the interwebs.

We've got it all backwards

Our industry teaches us to navigate client enquiries from a totally whackadoo, upsidedown point of view.

For me, I was taught something along these lines:

  1. The client sends the photos + the wishlist
  2. You say yes to whatever their demands are
  3. The client sets the budget
  4. You make the designs fit the budget
  5. You must conduct a formal, in-depth, awkward consultation
  6. Then, you take a tremendous amount of time to do a custom quote, detailed mood board
  7. A little back and forth, possibly a few questions of how they can get even more for even less
  8. Then...hopefully...the client finally pays their 25% initial payment

Following this exact process is WHY I got ghosted as often as I did.

Wanna know why doesn't this approach work? Because we, the service provider and expert in the area of flowering and designing, aren't actually looking after the client's needs. We're not answering their biggest questions and we're not making it easy for them to find answers to their questions.

The game changed for me when I learned this one fun fact:

50% of clients book with the vendor who responds first.

And yes, I'm going to challenge you to go one step further. I don't mean "respond first" = "autoresponder" or some generic, "thanks for getting in touch" template. I mean actually giving your clients concrete, helpful information they can make informed decisions with.

Of course, this requires you to break the silence, go against the grain and really blaze a new trail for your business.

Wedding Florists Getting Ghosted: 3 Reasons Why It Happens

Here are three reasons most wedding florists getting ghosted:

#1 You're taking too long to respond

Your clients want information about pricing first and clarity on timing + the process second. You could be losing out on a lot of revenue just because you're taking too long to get back to them with a quick quote and budget recommendation.

#2 Your clients don't see a difference between you and the other girl who is heaps cheaper

When you finally get the courage to price properly, this one feels like a dagger in the heart, doesn't it? All of sudden, you feel like everyone's response is "we found someone cheaper". Wanna know the real reason they're not booking you? They don't see a difference between you and the other girl who is heaps cheaper.

Your potential clients are comparing apples with apples. That's a sure sign it's time to level up your brand, set your sights higher and show the world you're a banana (or a kiwi or a pineapple...or maybe even a cute little lychee).

(Also, be sure to check out this YouTube video for more on Branding + Your Flower Business. And if you're struggling with your pricing, check out this blog post – How to Price Out an Event.)

#3 You're doing everything right and nothing has actually gone wrong

I know, you didn't expect that, did you? But the truth is, if you're booking one in four enquiries, you're on track. Booking one in four also means three of the four are going to say no.

Of course, they might not actually tell you 'no', which means it's possible 75% of the humans are gonna ghost you. That means you're doing it right. Seriously. Where we get ourselves into real trouble is spending hours and hours and hours on enquiries that go nowhere (psst. this is the real problem to solve).

Now, if you're getting ghosted a lot, what can you do about it?

You're here cause you want answers. You're frustrated and irritated and a wee bit disillusioned with the world of flowers + navigating enquiries, right?

My friend, you're in exactly the right place. Remember this one thing: at the end of the day, it's up to you to create a sales process (that's what your enquiry system is), that works for you and your business.

If I could wind back the clock and go back to the beginning, here's what I would tell anyone who feels like they're pushing shit uphill with wedding enquiries...

  1. You're not going to book every enquiry that comes your way. In fact, 3 out of 4 people are going to reject your offer. Yep, it's very possible that if you're one of the many wedding florists getting ghosted, you're doing it right. But, with that in mind, it means your priority is to create a system that makes the process easy, fairly effortless and ensures you're not spending heaps of time on stuff that's not bringing in the $$$.
  2. What works for your Flower BFF might not be the right solution for you. Seriously. Just because that person does it a certain way, remember, this is your business and you are creating a custom approach to fit your needs and your client's needs.
  3. At the end of the day, your clients only have two questions (1) What does my budget get me? (2) How the heck does this whole thing work? Now's the time to forget everything you've ever thought about navigating new enquiries, the song and dance you think you need to go through and get back to basics. Start talking about budgets on Instagram and write a set of helpful blog posts to give your client's guidance and expertise that they can find at a time that is convenient to them (like 11 pm on a Monday night, rather than waiting for you to wake up on Tuesday and email them something). Make your process seem super simple and share it on all your marketing materials (social media, website, create a phone script for you and your staff). And most importantly, take control of the conversation.
  4. Consultations aren't for everyone. Literally. Some clients don't want them and lots of florists don't do them. So don't assume they are a must. Many clients are happy to book in, pay their initial payment, without ever having met you. So set up a system that addresses your client's core needs and is easily scalable for your business. On the flip side, if consultations are your thing and they help you close the sale, keep going, baby!
  5. Make it your priority to simplify your process. Yes, you can systemise, streamline and template a huge amount of the process. But remember this: Job #1, get back to your clients with a quick quote and recommendation on how to allocate the budget. Ideally, something more helpful than a general pricelist (humans are so lazy they don't even want to do the math).
  6. Keep adjusting and refining. Every new enquiry is an opportunity to test out a new idea. The more you keep playing around with new ideas, paying attention to what's working, the less time you'll be wasting on enquiries that go nowhere.

In the end, wedding florists getting ghosted is normal. It's part of the process. Your job is to create a system that frees up your time and energy and makes it easy for your clients to say "Yes, I'd love to work with you, magic flower fairy!"

Make today the last day you stay stuck and start tweaking your approach. Put yourself in your client's shoes and get creative with your thinking. Then start tracking your data.

Your goal is to get to the point of booking one in four enquiries...and if 75% of the humans who enquire ghost you, that means you're doing it right. Keep up the good work!