Floristry business lessons from a shocking year

It's not surprising that most people don't want to spend much time reflecting on the last 12 months. However, this can be a hugely valuable exercise as there are valuable floristry business lessons to be learned.

In fact, making a conscious effort to reflect on what's happened in our business, and glean the lessons it has to teach us, is one of the key reasons we were so successful.

Because you make progress by learning from what you've done. Every year you’re going to try new things — some will work, some won't but that's the whole point. Those efforts provide the insights and lessons into running your floristry business.

Albert Einstein had the best definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

So, here are the five key things I learnt about running a business in 2020 — perhaps you'll find them helpful lessons for your floristry business.

1. You can do hard things

So the first floristry business lesson 2020 taught me was how to answer three tricky questions:

  1. How do you navigate running a business amongst bushfires? Where do I draw the line between personal safety and the need to deliver on a contract?
  2. How do you navigate being a business owner during a global pandemic?
  3. How do you navigate being a business owner while worrying about your family overseas?

And the short answer to all three of these questions came down to this: have a plan and make one decision at a time.

So, make sure you have your extreme weather plan in place before anything happens. Make sure you have comprehensive set of Terms + Conditions that anticipates all the scenarios that could happen. The floristry business lesson here is to spend time NOW preparing for the what if's.

2. No one cares

Let me clarify this one right away; you'll have lots of people in your life who care greatly about you.

However, no one cares nearly as much about what you do with your business than you think. And yes, even those special people in your life don't care too much what you do with your business, they care about you.

We like to tell ourselves all sorts of stories:

  • What will my customers think if I…
  • Will my friends think if I…
  • What will my family think if I…

In reality, no one cares as much as you do and being attached to these 'what will they think' stories holds us back. They feel real, they feel important but they actually lead us to avoid doing something important.

I spoke to so many florist who radically changed their business in 2020 — pivoted to everyday flowers, closed a retail shop, opened a retail shop, overhauled their pricing, overhauled their designs — and none of their 'what will they think' scenarios came true.

3. You can change your mind

Floristry business lesson #3 was really simple: I can change my mind anytime to do what's right for me.

As soon as you let go of the idea that someone else will be judging the decisions you make, a world of possibilities open up. You are in charge, you are the CEO. And, yes, this can feel like an uncomfortable place to be.

However, think back to March when every restaurant on the planet had to change their business model almost over night — take away, curbside pick-up, home delivery etc. They all had to pivot their offer to adjust to changing market conditions.

Now the changes that took place in 2020 were admittedly extreme but they also taught me a lesson: the market is always evolving, pandemic or no pandemic. And, you have the right to change your mind at any time and not owe anyone an explanation.

4. All decisions are made in uncertainty

Every day we operate with imperfect information. We have an idea, we take action, we evaluate the results and we adjust. And the floristry business lesson from 2020 is that every decision we make in the future will be made with uncertainty and doubt.

The key is to accept this reality and still take action — because doing so requires you to lean into the discomfort and continue to move forward even when you're not sure (which will be always).

We approached our business like one big experiment. We had lots of ideas that we didn't know would work or, more likely, we didn't know how to make them work.

So, after every major event, we made a point of conducting a review to ensure we were learning from what we just did. For instance, after every key retail event, like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, we would sit down and document these things:

  • The plan. Detail EVERYTHING that happened: sales volume, # of deliveries, staffing, wholesale orders, timing etc.
  • What worked well? Are there things should we repeat for next year?
  • What would we do differently? What should we avoid or change for next year?

The business lesson for your floristry is this: take action despite the uncertainty but learn from what you did.

5. 2021 will also be hard. And good. But hard.

And this is true regardless of what happens with the pandemic. The reality is that running a business, and life in general, will span the entire range of human experience — joy, exhilaration, frustration, achievement, disappointment. All of it.

So, 2021 is going to be a challenge. And it’s also going to be a lot of fun.

But the floristry business lesson to take away from 2020 is that you are in charge and get to decide what to do.

And it doesn’t matter what you’ve done up until this point. Only you can decide what's right for you in the future.

More floristry business lesson help

And finally, learning about business and marketing doesn't mean you need a university degree or fancy-pants corporate experience. I do have these things and am happy to share everything you need to know.

If you want to learn more about my 1:1 Business Masterclass and see if it's right for you, sign-up for a free 20 minute Mini-Session with me.



P.S. I've done a podcast on this topic which you may like. Find it on Spotify here or listen on the player below.

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