The Value You Bring to Your Flower Customers

Have you ever stopped to consider the value you bring to your flower customers?

I never did until I started to see how much I was missing the mark on obsessing over pricing...and completely ignoring the fact that we florists bring a huge amount of value to the world.

But, truth be told, we all downplay the value we bring to our clients. Although we all feel that intrinsic, real, emotional tie to flowers...the same connection humans have had with flowers for 5000 years...we "feel bad" for charging a premium.

The underlying reasons for this typically stem from one of two storylines:

  1. The starving artist persona – a.k.a. making money is bad and rich people are evil
  2. Our customers don't want to pay a premium –  a.k.a. I'm going to project my scarcity money beliefs onto my customers

I've navigated both of these experiences and battled my own demons when it comes to untangling my self-worth and scarcity money beliefs. For me, shifting the narrative and reframing the value equation is one of the best opportunities for personal growth (and revenue growth).

The concept of "value" is probably one of the most commonly misunderstood concepts in our industry because (a) nobody openly shares the expertise and attention required to create a flower arrangement and (b) the industry-proven approach to pricing is focused on stem counts and wholesale inputs.

It's time to park those two things and step into a new way of thinking.

Value Versus Price

When it comes to deconstructing the value you bring to your flower customers, it's helpful to distinguish between the value and the price.

(Yes, they are two different things.)

Here's a quick definition that I love:

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.

Warren Buffet

When it comes to understanding the value v/ price concept, I find it super helpful to look to the big wig multinational companies for inspiration, education and a quick reframe.

Let's talk about that fancy pants phone you have. Have you ever stopped to wonder how much the company paid for the inputs to make that phone?

Apparently, it costs Apple about $600 to make an iPhone. They sell it for at least twice that amount. But the real question is, what is the value you place on that phone – the benefits it provides you and the convenience factor of having it all in one place?

That's the real shift in perspective required. Nobody cares that it costs Apply $600 to make their iPhone. What we really want to know is, what can it help us do? And how much would you be willing to pay for those benefits?

This, my friend, is the difference between value and price.

I'm also going to interject here and point out for all of you that look at Apple's wholesale inputs and go 'That's only a 100% markup – the floral industry markup is way more than that.'

You're right! It's super helpful to remember that phones don't have as short a shelf life as flowers and that particular phone can get sent in the mail pretty easily...plus very few people will be disappointed if the phone arrives on a random Tuesday or Friday in March.

Floral design, on the other hand, has way more layers and complexities to it. PLUS the layers of meaning and emotion tied into our work.

The Value You Bring to Your Flower Customers

One exercise that was really helpful for me as a struggling florist was to sit down and write down what needed to go into the process of making a super simple bouquet.

Even if you take a pretty standard 12-rose arrangement...grab a pen + paper and write down every single step that needs to happen in order for that perfectly crafted arrangement to reach your customer.

Here's a great place to begin:

  • Order flowers from the wholesaler
  • Pick up flowers from the wholesaler
  • Process the flowers
  • Keep them cool and out of sunlight until the order date
  • Make the arrangement
  • Wet wrap + gift pack the bouquet
  • Write the card
  • Deliver the bouquet
  • Make sure the recipient is at home

Now, all of that depends on also being able to make sure you get found by the customer (i.e. website, Google Ads, Instagram hashtags, Google Business listing), make it easy for them to place their order and you have a facility to take payment, gather the delivery info and know what date the flowers need to be delivered on.

Once you get into all the details, it's easy to see the steps involved in making what seems like a super simple arrangement, right?

But here's where the magic lies in this experiment...what is it worth to the customer? What is the value they place on having a beautiful bouquet of roses delivered to their loved one on the right day, crafted with care and professionally designed?

The penny dropped once I realised that the industry-proven approach to pricing was just a starting point. Once I decided to value the care, expertise and attention that go into making this work happen (and reminding your customers that every time out) it become super easy to command a premium for our work.

If you wanna dig into this even further, shift your perspective and feel more confident in your sales process, jump into this week's podcast episode – The Value Chain (What are you actually selling as a floral designer?)

Inside This Week's Podcast Episode You'll Learn:

How to sell yourself on the value of your offer

My super simple solution to overcoming self-doubt and uncertainty so you can raise your prices and make more money

The real secret to getting out of your own way and pricing with confidence as a Flower Boss

Easy ways to win your customer's trust and pro-actively demonstrate the value you provide

Listen to the full episode here

 

Full Episode Transcript

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#1 Mindset Tip For Florists Who Struggle With Confidence

Looking for mindset tips for florists? You're in the right place, my friend!!!

But, before I pass along my #1 mindset tip for florists who struggle with confidence (and wanna stop feeling like a total imposter), there's one little itty bitty bit of insight I want to provide so we're all on the same page.

Why Being a Business Owner Feels So Awkward...

Here's the thing nobody tells you when you make the decision to start a flower business:

You're in charge.

On the surface of it, this doesn't seem like such a big deal but it is everything. Like yeah, E–V–E–R–Y–T–H–I–N–G.

It's this one thing that makes us feel like a fish outta water.

Every one of us has spent years, decades, being told by other people what to do. We grow up with our parents telling us the rules. Then we go to school and have teachers and advisors telling us how things need to be done.

Then we go to university or get a job...and there are more people telling us what to do.

Then, somehow we get this crazy idea to start a flower business and get our paperwork sorted and...NOBODY TELLS US EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT.

But everything is different.

When you're the head honcho, the Flower Boss, the CEO, you are the one calling the shots, making decisions and need to take charge.

And that sh*t is awkward.

Being in charge, calling the shots, is not our normal way of being.

But that's OK. It's not a problem.

The secret to making it work is focusing on mindset tips for florists. (Also, if you're anything like me and you like a little positive voice in your head, cheering you on, be sure to check out my weekly Podcast #ForFlorists – it's a great resource to feel supported and know you're not alone.)

I Wish I Had Known...

The truth is, starting a business is actually super simple. You fill in some paperwork and check some boxes. Maybe you pay for some sort of formal registration. But really, it's all super standard stuff. It happens every day. Ain't no thang.

But nobody tells us the identity shift that is required. There is no popup box or 'please check here' to confirm that you understand that you are now the one calling the shots.

Nope.

And because nobody talks about this stuff, we all walk around feeling like total imposters and complete frauds (waiting for the flower police to show up and tell us we're doing it wrong.)

If that sound familiar, I'm here to tell you it's totally normal.

You are not broken. You are a human being with a human brain and that human brain of yours is working just as it's programmed to work.

That fear, doubt and uncertainty, it's to be expected.

Particularly when you make the decision to start a business.

Personally, I just wish someone had told me that the day you decide to start a business is the day that you're signing up to be a CEO – a Flower Boss – and that requires you to learn a whole new set of skills (way more than just what's in season and how to get good at design).

Mindset Tips for Florists

Here's the one thing I've learned in +10 years of running my own business: it's OK that being a CEO + Flower Boss feels awkward.

Feeling awkward is OK.

Feeling awkward is not a problem.

Seriously. It's not.

If you dig beneath the surface and do an itty bitty little bit of research on your favourite leaders, creative entrepreneurs and CEOS, you'll quickly learn that none of those people came out of the womb knowing how to do all the things.

Literally, they knew so little about what was "right" and what was "wrong". They just decided to show up, kept putting in the time and energy and figured it out one step at a time.

At the end of the day, they are no different to you and me.

They are human beings with a human brain. They also have moments of doubt, fear and uncertainty. That's a normal part of the human experience.

And yeah, when you show up to work today, you will have moments of "WTF am I doing here?"

If you struggle with confidence, you're not alone. That's precisely why I created Flower Boss Academy. Join today and get access to a supportive community of flower fairies, jump into live classes and get access to private 1:1 coaching every single week. Click here to learn more.

No doubt, those moments happen when you need to step up and be the CEO. And then you'll have moments of 'Hey this is kinda fun.' That's more likely to happen when you're designing, doing the flowering thing and being an employee in your own business.

This distinction is really really helpful – knowing there are times when you'll need to be a CEO and time when you get to be an employee. And learning how to jump between the two is one of my favourite shortcuts for making progress. In fact, you can use these two personas as a great hack for creating more confidence.

The truth is, this has been one of the most powerful mindset concepts I've ever adopted – and I use it in so many different areas of my business. It started with pricing, but since then, I've adopted the Employee v. CEO Mindset shortcut in almost every other area of my business.

If you wanna dig into this even further and get more mindset tips for florists, jump into this week's podcast episode – CEO v. Employee Mindset 2.0

Inside This Week's Podcast Episode You'll Learn:

Why you need to think about being a good CEO and a great employee in your own business

The real reason we stay stuck in overwhelm and confusion as business owners

My #1 tip for conquering pricing, not overbuying at the market and staying consistent on Social Media

My easy shortcuts for knowing when to step into the Employee role versus when to be the CEO

Listen to the full episode here

 

Full Episode Transcript

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Establishing a Relationship with a Floral Wholesaler: 3 Tips To Make It Easier

Not quite sure where to start when it comes to establishing a relationship with a floral wholesaler? I'm here to help.

If you haven't been to the Sydney Flower Market, you need to make a plan to go. It's gotta be one of the most magical flowering places on the planet.

And the most stressful. (As a florist, it's kinda like walking onto the set of Mean Girls right in the middle of that scene where the jungle fight breaks out.)

It's super intimidating. Everyone walks around looking like they know what they're doing (and you feel like you're the only one wondering WTF is going on). In addition to all the pros lookin' like pros, the general public is allowed in and you're fighting for a parking space and elbow room just to get in the doors

The place is massive. There are more than 150 wholesalers spread out over a few acres of space. It's all set within a massive warehouse, filled with the season's best. Buckets are spilling out of every corner, ballooning with the best blooms. For us florists, it's the literal 'kid in a candy store' experience.

Yes, it is a sight to be seen.

But it also kinda makes you wanna run screaming in the other direction, questioning your life choices and wondering how the heck does a wanna-be-florist go about establishing a relationship with a floral wholesaler?

The worry is compounded when you count up the number of well-established florists who have been working with wholesalers for years and even decades. What's a girl to do? (Panic and run screaming in the opposite direction...heading straight back into the corporate world and back to a desk job??? Yes, I did contemplate that many, many times during the 3:30 am alarms.)

So, I thought it might be helpful to pull together my top three tips when it comes to establishing a relationship with a floral wholesaler.

If you're brand new, this blog post will give you an insider's scoop on the florist + wholesaler relationship.

If you've been in business for a few years and want to take your flower business to the next level, this blog post will give you a few unexpected surprises, spark new ideas and give you a few secrets to ensure you separate yourself from the competition.

Why Establishing A Relationship with a Floral Wholesaler Matters

In the world of cooking, one of the best principles to follow is "Start with good ingredients." The same thing goes for flowers.

You'll be so much happier with the end result of your flower arrangements if you start with fresh, high-quality ingredients. In fact, one of the ways we created a loyal customer base in our flower shop was to make sure we focused on offering the highest quality, longest-lasting flowers.

I remember one year when a woman came in to tell us that her Mother's Day flowers lastest three weeks. Now, that's certainly not the norm, but it's always stuck in my mind because when you source quality ingredients and educate your clients on how to care for their flowers, they'll be so happy they'll tell their friends. And that extra word of mouth helps to grow your business and your bottom line.

As a floral designer with grand ambitions, having access to – and building relationships with – growers and wholesalers who have high-quality products (and quality customer service) can make all the difference in your success.

Investing the time and energy into building relationships with your floral wholesaler takes time but it can be one of the magic bullets to building a loyal following and growing your bottom line.

PRO TIP: I remember one of my flower school teachers told me "Cheap flowers are cheap for a reason. Don't ever expect them to get better." That piece of advice has always stuck in my head and I truly believe when it comes to whoelsaler flowers, you do get what you pay for.

How to Approach Floral Wholesalers

Here's the most important thing to remember: your wholesalers are running a business. Their list of to-dos and sh*t to sort through is just as long as yours.

Even with that being said, never underestimate the power of being professional and polite. The art of great customer service is lost on so many business owners but it's one of the secrets to building any B2B relationship.

For example, you know how when you walk into a business and get a kind smile, a professional greeting and the staff actually make eye contact with you. Yeah, I mean that kinda "back to basics, treat humans as humans" sorta professionalism.

The same thing applies when it comes to establishing a relationship with a floral wholesaler. So, whether you've been working with your wholesaler for years or are just starting out, Rule #1: be kind to your wholesalers.

And yes, be kind, even if they don't give you the time of day.

Remember, it's totally normal for wholesalers to be working all hours of the night, not sleeping and running on empty. So don't be surprised if they can barely string two words together. Don't forget: your wholesalers are running a business and you are not their only customer or concern.

If I could go back and tell my old self one thing about establishing a relationship with a floral wholesaler, it would be this: no one knows who you are and that is your best secret weapon.

If you're anything like me and feel like a total imposter and fraud, walking into a busy wholesaler brings up all of our insecurities and 'who do you think you are' storylines.

But let's flip that story on its head. The fact that your wholesalers don't know who you are is a great advantage. It means you can be a total noob and no one is paying enough attention to remember you.

So you can go ahead and ask all the dumb questions, get embarrassed and get through all the awkward 'first day of school' tremors. Then come back again next week and do it all over again.

Remember, No One Was Born Knowing All The Things

Read that again...

Maybe even write it down somewhere you'll see it every day.

This one thought has served me so well when walking into super intimidating, scary, new situations.

Because yes, quite literally, no one was born knowing how to do anything. We've all had to learn stuff and make mistakes and ask heaps of questions to get to where we are today. That means you get to do the same thing.

In fact, when it comes to building relationships with wholesalers, I actually like to just go all in, be brave and default to asking wholesalers and growers heaps of questions.

I do this for two reasons: (1) they know a lot about flowers – like a lot a lot, way more than you and I could ever know and being able to glimpse just 1% of that information is super helpful for you and your business.

And (2) it gives you a taste of what their long term customer service is going to be like. Wholesalers who cannot be bothered to acknowledge you, answer a couple of questions and don't see you as a valuable, paying client...they may not be the kind of partner you want to have in your business in the long run.

I use the word 'partner' very intentionally. Your wholesalers and growers are your partners in crime. Choose them wisely and then invest the time and energy into building, growing and maintaining those relationships – you never know when you'll need them to come in and save the day.

PRO TIP – If you need help sorting out how much to order from your growers and wholesalers, be sure to check out this super helpful blog post: Learning How To Create A Floral Design Recipe

Don't Forget, Local Growers Are All Around You

Yes, bigger more established wholesalers are awesome. But so are the growing number of boutique flower farmers popping up all around us. It's very possible you have access to some of the best, freshest ingredients around – it might be a few KMs down the road or literally down the street.

Do some digging. Jump on Google. Search Instagram hashtags and see if any local growers pop up. You never know who you might be able to connect with and what sorts of magical ingredients are being grown in your neighbourhood. And it could be that you get exclusive access to something amazing and build a whole network of local growers who will grow alongside you.

For example, my most favourite dahlias growers set up their entire business about 3km from my house. I was astounded to see their operation and set-up and I loved being able to support their family-run business.

Plus their dahlias are unlike anything you've ever seen. In peak season, we'd be going through 50-60 bunches per week and it was so awesome to have access to this quality product.

I loved these dahlias. Our clients loved these days. It was so incredible!

Many times, these kinds of growers may not be able to work with the larger wholesalers because they don't have the volume to support their structure. But that makes it a perfect opportunity for you.

Again, don't be shy. Reach out. Make a connection. Be kind. Be professional and be polite. They won't bite. (Just remember their to-do list is just as long as yours is – probably even longer.)

More Tips To Help You Build A Better Relationship With Your Wholesalers (FREE resource)

In this week's podcast episode, I'm digging more into the world of wholesaler relationships.

I'm sharing a few funny stories about what it's really like to shop at the Sydney Flower Market, with all the famous florists as well as passing on my best tips for building better relationships with your floral wholesalers and local growers.

Inside This Week's Podcast Episode You'll Learn:

5 tips to help you build better relationships with your wholesalers, even if you're brand new

The three most important things to know when it comes to wholesaler and flower grower relationships

Why the relationship you have with your wholesalers matters so much

How to approach new wholesalers and growers and quickly win their trust (so you can get the best flowers!)

Listen to the full episode here

 

Full Episode Transcript

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Wedding Florist Enquiry Process – Our Exact Approach

Looking for an insider's guide to the wedding florist enquiry process? Here's our exact approach.

If you're a wedding florist, your enquiry process is one of the most valuable assets in your business.

Quite literally, that process is worth money.

As per my usual approach, I'm here to bust through the secrecy and give you a run down on our EXACT approach to navigating wedding enquiries. Yep! Yep and more yep!

How I Created Our Wedding Florist Enquiry Process

When I first started as a baby florist, I fell into the trap of thinking that I had to do fancy proposals, custom quotes and face-to-face consults.

I think with my very first wedding enquiry, it took me more than a week to get her a quote. That was after the hour-long consultation. I spent hours on that proposal, trying to make it look at fancy and legit.

Man oh man, I'm so surprised she stuck around but since that experience, I have learned SO much about how to effortlessly navigate wedding enquiries.

The key to figuring it out? I paid attention to what wasn't working.

In 2018, I remember looking back at my calendar and seeing how many hours I had spent on consults. My close rate was disastrous and I was wasting hours every single week meeting with prospective clients...which got me $0.

Talk about a waste of time (for me and the people who didn't book with me).

But that year was also revolutionary in my business.

I could see how much time I was wasting on these enquiries and in-depth consults.

I just knew there had to be a better way.

But, instead of trying to follow the traditions of our industry, I put my blinders on. I decided to create my own way. From scratch.

I literally threw out everything I thought I had to do and got focused on creating a system that was easy for me and super efficient for my clients.

Why? Cause I knew I had to shake things up. I couldn't afford to waste so much energy on non-money-making activities. It was, quite literally, the definition of inefficient.

So, I went through the process of completely overhauling our wedding florist enquiry process. And yeah, I kinda have broken every rule in the book.

Jumping right into the myth-busting bit...I don't use fancy proposals. I don't do custom quotes. I don't do consultations. And I don't use expensive software solutions.

I keep it bare bones.

Why? It allows me to focus on what matters most to my clients – being quick and being helpful. And, I can sort through new enquiries in a matter of minutes, rather than days (or weeks).

Wedding Florist Enquiry Process – Here's Our Exact Approach

Here you go. This is the step-by-step summary of our approach.

Inside Flower Boss Academy I go through this in itty bitty detail and I give you all of my templates + shortcuts. So, if you wanna get my exact approach and shortcut your progress, come join us today.

Let's start at the very very very beginning...well before the client even contacts you.

  1. Share helpful tips in your marketing. Yep. BEFORE the client even enquires, be open with your guidance and share your wisdom. Do this on social media, your website and anywhere where your clients might be on the lookout for a wedding florist.
  2. Be proactive about talking $$$. This is the fastest way to get rid of the budget clients. The first solution I created was a simple blog post that gave a breakdown of key price points (i.e. $2K, $5K, $10K, $20K). I later then discovered a free WordPress plugin that allowed me to create an online calculator. (That was an awesome innovation for us and our clients!)
  3. On your enquiry form, ask them two seemingly unexpected questions (1) what is your budget and (2) what are you looking for in a floral design team. This gets the money piece on the table early and it changes the dynamic of the relationship (less "master > servent" and more "partnership")
  4. After they respond, send them a template email with a few points of personalisation and point them to (a) the budget blog post or online calculator and (b) your top 10 tips for wedding flowers. Also, make it clear what the next step you want them to take if they're happy to continue.
  5. At the bottom of this email, point them to an online form (a Google Doc is good enough). In this form, ask them to give you all the info you'd traditionally get in a consultation (yes, this form will be long!)
  6. Based on what they have supplied in their Q&A, put together a very simple email with two pricing options (a) their wishlist and (b) your recommendation based on their budget. No matter what your client's budget is, their wish list will always cost them more (that's why it's called a wish list!). They will love that you're giving them both solutions. It gives them a helpful point of view and valuable insight to make an informed decision.
  7. After a little back and forth, (no doubt, they'll have questions) wait until they say the magic words "How do I go about booking you in?" That's when you jump into doing up the formal quote, getting the contract together and adding in your notes.
  8. The client pays 25% to secure your team for the date. And shazaam...another beautiful client booked!

My goal in sharing the above process is to give you an idea of what's possible when it comes to navigating new wedding enquiries. But know that it's not the only way to make it happen.

No matter what you end up doing with your wedding florist enquiry process, just know that you get to create a system that works for you. Lean into your strengths and create a system that is easy for you and helps you get to the goal of booking one in four enquiries (without wasting hours and hours of your time or your client's time).

If you wanna dig into this even more and get more juicy tips from me, I'm passing along more helpful insights in this week's podcast episode – Optimise Your Wedding Enquiry Process – 3 Quick Wins

Inside This Week's Podcast Episode You'll Learn:

My best lessons learned from navigating more than 2,500 enquiries

My best shortcuts for optimising your enquiry process

Three common mistakes many florists make when they're navigating new enquiries

Super simple solutions for dealing with price shoppers and budget brides

Listen to the full episode here

 

Full Episode Transcript

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How to Increase Florist Sales

A few weeks ago I put a call out on Instagram, asking y'all to send through your questions and 'if we were to sit down and have coffee, this is what I'd want to ask you' questions.

Here's one of my favourites: Kathleen, if you could only do one, which is better: paid Instagram placements, Facebook ads or Google Ads?

Great question.

Different Ad Strategies for Different Offers

One thing I didn't really appreciate early on in my business is that different audiences go through dramatically different sales processes.

For example, a couple getting married at a big hotel will go through an entirely different research process compared to someone looking to getting flowers delivered to the local hospital. I totally didn't even pay attention to this in the first few years of my flower business.

I kinda thought that all things were equal and I just needed to get more followers to get more customers.

I spent years in that thought process until I finally sat down one day and asked myself, "If I was getting married at XYZ Venue, what would I do to find a florist?"

I did the same thing for flower deliveries: "If I was a son living out of town and wanted to send flowers to mum to wish her a speedy recovery at the local hospital, what would I do to find a florist?"

Putting yourself in your customer's shoes is one of the most powerful exercises you can do – and it's one thing we never really spend much time on (I was too focused on my own insecurities and worried about being called out as a fraud that it never even occurred to me to shift my perspective and put myself in my customer's shoes.)

At the end of the day, the marketing priorities in your flower business and understanding how to get more florist sales depends entirely on your niche.

Narrow down your niche and get clear on your ideal customer and you'll start to gain much more clarity in terms of where to focus your time, energy and money to grow your business and get more sales.

How to Increase Florist Sales: Daily Flower Deliveries

Even if you have a flower shop and are able to attract a steady stream of walk-in customers, I've found that the volume game is won online.

More and more customers are getting comfortable ordering flowers online and this is one of the greatest opportunities we have when it comes to figuring how to increase florist sales.

In fact, no longer is having a physical retail shop a 'must have' for a successful flower business. So many florists these days are launching their businesses from home, investing the time and energy in growing the volume and then a few years in, making plans to open retail shop space.

The truth is, profitable flower deliveries is all about playing the volume game. And being online is the name of the flower game in 2022.

And, when it comes to being online, your website and, more specifically, your online catalogue offering, is super important. I used to believe that more choice was better. But having tested out a few different strategies in a few different cities around the world, it's clear to see that's not the case.

In fact, having a core offering of 12 products is my go-to recommendation. It gives you just the right number of options to cover a range of prices, including a mix of hand-tied bouquets and designs in a vase as well as offers a mix of colour palettes. (It really is a great mix and just like Goldielocks said "It's just right".)

Once you have your online catalogue set up and sorted through a seamless checkout experience, now it's time to focus on getting that order volume through the door.

We spent years testing out different options – offering up free arrangements to local businesses in the hopes that exposure would turn into paying customers; paying for expensive print ads, boosting posts on Instagram, setting up Facebook Ads and sorting through Google Ads.

For us, Google Ads was where the magic happens. In fact, these days, I wouldn't even spend a penny on any other form of advertising when it comes to increasing florist sales for daily flower deliveries.

The targeting available on Google, the volume available, and being able to set up conversions, makes Google Ads one of the single best options for florists. And no, doubt some huge percentage of potential customers immediately jump to Google when they want flowers delivered.

So, if you're wondering: Kathleen, if you could only do one, which is better: paid Instagram placements, Facebook ads or Google Ads? My answer is obvious: Google Ads. No doubt about it.

4 Google Ads Tips for Florists

Be warned, the Google Ads interface is super complicated. But that's why we've just hit publish on a brand new, step by step training inside our Flower Boss Bootcamp Study Vault. We've mapped out the exact ads to start with, how to get your conversions set up and the exact steps to follow to get your first campaign off the ground.

If you've already started playing around with Google Ads and you're not seeing much progress, here are four pro tips to help you refine your approach:

  1. Make sure your delivery area is included in the search terms. By default, Google is going to offer up your ad to anything who types in "flower delivery". But, if you only deliver to Cambridge and a customer is looking for delivery to Chicago, there's no point in paying for that, right?
  2. Negative Keywords. This is one of those quick shortcuts to getting better results on your ads. Inside the Google Ads interface, you can start to flag 'negative keywords'. That is, words that people might include in their search phrase that are a definite no and mismatch for your business. It's a good practice to go in every week or every other week and refine that negative keyword set because it will give Google a better guide on who a good customer is a who isn't worth any $$$$
  3. Set Up Conversions. A conversion is a fancy bit of code that give Google the signal that someone who clicked on your ad eventually purchased. That bit of code is super helpful for Google because then it will show your ads to other people who have similar search behaviours as the people actually purchasing your work. I find the easiest way to make it happen is to find someone on Fivrr.com – they can get the whole thing set up for in a matter of days and probably less than $100. So worth it!!
  4. Play the long game. Google Ads is not an overnight solution. It takes 2-3 weeks for Google to start to figure out who your ideal customers are and, even then, you need to be willing to invest the time and energy to continually refine and optimise your ads and campaigns. But it is by far the fastest way to get that order volume up. Over a matter of weeks, you'll start to see a difference and, if your online catalogue is set up correctly, you'll start to see the order rollin' in more consistently!

Let's Go Deeper: Get More Flowers Order Faster

Being stuck with a cooler full of flowers feels awful. Knowing you're a good designer with a great product to sell your customers, while just not having enough customers or getting enough order volume is so disheartening.

Don't fret! We're here to help.

In this week's podcast episode, I'm digging into more nuts and bolts and specific tactics to help you grow your flower business.

Inside This Week's Podcast Episode You'll Learn:

How to set a sales target in your flower business

The right strategy to follow when you're setting up your online catalogue and focused on in creasing order volume

The easiest way to get customers to spend more money so you can increase your revenue and profitability

That fastest way to increase your order volume and where to focus your time and money to get more orders in the door

Listen to the full episode here

 

Full Episode Transcript

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Profitable Flower Business: 10 Steps to Setting Up Your Flower Shop

Looking for a step by step guide on how to set up a profitable flower business? Here's my 10-step guide to getting your flower shop set up and running.

Hitting Reset to Create a Profitable Flower Business

I'm not gonna lie, I've been thinking a lot about the idea of going back and having the ultimate 'do over'. The idea of being able to take all of my experience and expertise and go back to Day 1 of Little Bird Bloom. It's so fun to think about and I thought it might be helpful for you too.

Feel free to use this post as a guide, a roadmap and a blueprint for setting up a profitable flower business. And no doubt, it will be helpful if you're brand new. But it might also inspire those of you who are a few years (or decades) into slinging flowers for a living.

In this blog post, I'm going to map out my 10-step plan for setting up a flower shop from the very very beginning.

One caveat before I get into the details: I'm not going to talk about any of the accounting, legal or insurance details because that is 100% dependent on your state and country requirements.

Enlist the help of a professional to help you walk through all the details and don't be shy about Googling all your questions to familiarise yourself with business structures and terminology. (I found this bit really helpful cause it takes some of the intimidation and "I don't know anything" out of the equation.)

Profitable Flower Business: Basic Business Plan

Now, y'all know I'm all for keeping things simple.

It's so easy for us to get overwhelmed and inundated with details – but as helpful as some business plans are, I also find they miss the mark in their purpose. It's easy to get wrapped up in the details and miss the big picture.

Now, I ain't no mathematician but I do find a little bit of math in the early stages of business planning is super duper helpful to paint the picture of where we're going. It's my #1 way of setting the goalposts and bringing focus to our efforts.

If I'm honest, when we first started Little Bird Bloom, I wish I had done more math. I wish I had done this one equation to help me understand the scale and scope of what I was trying to create.

Also, this exercise is particularly helpful if your goal is to earn a full-time better-than-average income from this work.

Here's my super simple approach to basic business planning for florists:

  1. What do you want your after-tax personal income to be?
  2. Multiply that by five to get your business' revenue goal.

Yes. It can be that straightforward to map out a plan forward.

So, for example, let's say you want to bring home $100,000 in after-tax income. That means your business' revenue goal needs to be $500,000. If you want your after-tax personal income to be $50,000, then your business' revenue goal is $250,000.

From there, we can take that revenue goal, divide it by an average order value and that gives us a sense of how many orders we need to generate in a year to reach our sales target.

So, if we take that $250,000 and assume our average order will be $150. We need to generate 1667 orders a year or 139 orders per month (or 32 orders per week).

(Please remember, this isn't formal financial advice. This is just a simple bit of math to help us paint the scope of our task ahead. Talk to a financial planner or accountant for expert info specific to your needs.)

The thing about this one bit of math that I find so helpful is that it shows us how big we need to be thinking.

When we first set up Little Bird Bloom, I was excited when we got a handful of orders per week. But this one bit of math shows me just how small I was thinking. Showing up with the goal of creating 32 orders per week creates a totally different energy as compared to my "I'll just be grateful for my 2-3 orders per week" and trying to convince yourself day after day after day to be grateful for what you've got.

How to Set Up a Profitable Flower Business: 10 Steps to Success

OK, so with that bit of math under our belt, we can start to map out an action plan, go through 10 steps to getting those orders, getting customers and making it happen. In order, here's exactly what I would focus on first:

  1. Name Your Business – check out URLs, explore Instagram handles and do your research to see if your preferred name is available. Then, go in and claim all the social media handles, buy your domain name etc.
  2. Google Business Listing – as soon as you have your name sorted, go in and set up your listing on Google Maps. It takes a few weeks to have your listing verified by Google so jump on this one early (and yes, you can have a listing without a physical shop front).
  3. Define Your Vibe + Get Your Branding Sorted – if you're part of my Flower Boss Bootcamp, you know how powerful your brand is in attracting high-value clients. Your brand board sets the foundation for your visual identity, packaging, and overall vibe for your business so I like to start on this early in the process because it makes the rest of the decisions really simple.
  4. Visit Your Wholesalers Regularly – no doubt, they're not really going to pay much attention to you but I find getting in the habit of going every week is really helpful. It gets you more comfortable with the experience, gives you the opportunity to see what's in season and gets you in the routine of the commute there and back. The more often you go, the less intimidating the whole experience will feel.
  5. Set Up Your Website + Online Catalogue – inside Flower Boss Bootcamp we give you the exact framework to follow, SEO guidelines and talk you through the product strategy for your catalogue. (Yep!! It's all there waiting for you to join us). Or, you can follow this blog post as a place to start if you're looking for tips on getting your online catalogue sorted.
  6. Photograph Your Designs + Capture Content for Social Media – this is going to take you a long time in the beginning. Trying to figure out lighting, photo editing and all the things is another set of skills to master, but I promise you, it does get easier (and more enjoyable) the more you do it!! Give yourself lots of time and room to figure it out.
  7. Push Your Website Live + Set up Google Ads – Google Ads is how you're going to get the volume you need to reach that revenue goal. Along with the right online catalogue offering it's the best way to increase your order volume.
  8. Set up Instagram Shopping – most website platforms make this bit really simple but don't be shy about using YouTube to learn how to do this (that's how I've learned everything I know about building websites). I've learned so much from random strangers on YouTube when it comes to website stuff.
  9. Research Relevant Hashtags for Instagram – the magic with Instagram is that it's not your followers who are going to be your first customers. It's people who find you through relevant hashtags. And, because you've got your online catalogue set up on Instagram Shopping, you'll increase your conversion rates because you're making it really easy for your customers to buy from you.
  10. Post to Social Media Regularly – Make it your goal to stories 5-6 days per week and post to your Instagram feed 3-4 times per week. Be sure to include your hashtags in your posts as this is how you're going to get found by the right customers at the right time.

Need help getting started with your website? Check out this tutorial on YouTube: Getting Started with WordPress https://youtu.be/n_NuZsjJoHA

Another Note about Setting Up a Profitable Flower Business

I used to believe you had to have a physical shopfront to run a legitimate flower business. Turns out that's not true at all (particularly these days, given the last two years of changing customer behaviour).

If having a retail space is on your wish list, that's awesome! If it's not, that's awesome too.

Either way, I'd still suggest you go through these 10 steps before you get too far into the logistics of getting a short front sorted. (That's what I wish I had done so y'all can learn from my mistakes.)

These days, your online presence is how you're going to get the volume you need to reach your revenue goal and getting that sorted before your pour your heart into a shot fit out is really really helpful.

I know there is a lot to think through and that's why, on this week's podcast episode, I'm going through all of this in more detail, talking through the exact steps I'd follow if I could back to the beginning and start a profitable flower business from $0.

Inside This Week's Podcast Episode, You'll Learn:

What to prioritise when it comes to setting up a profitable flower business

The biggest mistakes we made early on in our business and what I would do if I could hit 'reset' to start over in 2022

My exact approach to setting up a profitable flower shop – starting from $0

The right order to navigate these 10 steps and how to make it easier to take action

Listen to the full episode here

Full Episode Transcript

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Flower Shop Operations – 4 Tips for Managing Your Cash Flow

Looking for guidance on navigating flower shop operations? You're in the right place. In this post, you'll find my four tips to help you manage your cash flow and maximise the profitability of your flower shop operations.

Don't own a flower shop? Don't stress. These four tips will help you with or without a retail space.

Are you brand new to floristry? That's OK too. No doubt, this post will pave the way and show you what matters most when it comes to setting up a flower shop and flower shop operations.

Whether you work from home, have a cute studio set-up or are navigating full-on hectic flower shop operations, having a plan or a basic framework to follow is super helpful.

Real Talk: Flower Shop Operations

The truth is, most florists get stressed AF when we talk about cash flow and managing flower shop operations.

Most humans don't wanna talk about money and most florists don't wanna look at the numbers. It's kinda like, you know you're not making enough money but you don't want to sit down and look at the numbers – it feels painful and it's like rubbing salt into a wound, right?

That's because, if you're anything like me, your brain is offering up stories about how bad it's going to be. As if sitting down and coming face to face with your finances means we'll finally need to admit "It's not working."

The truth is. You already know it's not working. Now it's time to do something about it.

The reason we put it off for so long is that we don't want to feel the shame, guilt and dread. You'll do anything you can to avoid the discomfort of sitting down and feeling nauseous, right?

Or maybe you're like so many of my Flower Boss Bootcamp students who like to stay in the story of "I'm not good at math" or "I'm not good with money."

If that's you, you're in exactly the right place.

The fact of the matter is when you make the decision to start a flower business, sorting out flower shop operations and understanding numbers is part of the game. It is your job to learn these things. That's part of what you signed up for. And the sooner you realise it's your responsibility to learn the numbers, the better off your business will be (I promise!).

I'm here to make sure it doesn't feel nearly as scary or overwhelming as it needs to be.

If you're not a numbers person, you're in the right place. If you're not good at math, you're in the right place. If you're here just to learn how to get good at managing your cash flow, you're in the right place.

Tip #1: Face the Facts

Here's the thing. The numbers don't mean anything.

Whether you're $20,000 in debt or have an extra $20,000 floating around, the numbers are just innocent characters, random numbers floating around in the stratosphere. It's our human brain that makes the numbers mean something.

And we all have these internal narratives that we tie to the numbers. We, the humans, are the ones that make the numbers mean something.

It's our internal narratives that stop us from facing the facts, from taking the time to sit down and taking charge of the situation. Making the decision to sit down and look at the numbers isn't going to change any of the facts – it's not going to make the situation any worse and, in fact, it can only get better, right?

And that's precisely what I want you to do. Embrace the discomfort. Feel the tight chest, woozy stomach, or the numbness in your shoulders and come face to face with the facts. Grab a pen + paper and simply write down the current state of the nation for your cash.

Quite literally. Don't overcomplicate things. Just taking the time to write out the current figures is one of the most empowering things you can do.

Don't put it off.

Do it now.

Literally.

This blog post will still be here when you get back and you can jump right into Tip #1.

Tip #2: Get your pricing sorted

The most common reason florists aren't able to cover their expenses is because their pricing isn't sorted.

That was totally me.

For 3 years I walked around talking myself out of raising my prices. I knew I was undercharging but I was so scared of the reaction of my customers if I raised my prices.

NEWS FLASH: All the horror stories I had running around in my brain...none of them came true. Literally. None. Of. Them.

So if you're anything like me and know you should raise your prices but keep finding dumb reasons not to do it, stop it. Stop lying to yourself and have a moment of truth. Embrace the discomfort and know that most of your customers aren't paying enough attention to even see there is a price increase (And for the 1% that do, it's OK. There are lots more customers out there who want your new, premium offer.)

(If you need help understanding the right pricing models to follow, check out this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/R5-fN3vCNJM)

Tip #3: Set up a separate bank account for your taxes

It's so easy to forget about our obligations to the tax office. We start to see the money coming in and get super excited.

But I've heard so many horror stories of florists who get slammed with $30,000 tax bills. Don't do that. In fact, do your future self a favour and start planning your cash flow to account for tax obligations. (If you're an Australian florist, throw your Superannuation into this pile too.)

Cause when you run a business, the tax office will always find out about it. Always.

If you're focused on subscriptions or daily flower deliveries, once you have the second account set up, go into your banking details and sort out an auto transfer. Transfer a percentage of your weekly revenue over to that second bank account and set it up so it's done weekly. (The percentage you set is going to vary so talk to your accountant, but a good place to start is 15-20%.)

If you're focused on events and weddings, every time a client pays an invoice, go in and transfer a percentage of that payment to your tax account. Then, when your accountant does your taxes and your tax bill come up for payment, you already have the money set aside (and possibly even more than you need).

And yes, this works if you run a corporation, a partnership or are a sole trader. And yes most banks offer up a fee-free or low free second account for little to no monthly fee.

Tip #4: Track your expenses for 30 days (or more)

There's an old adage that goes something like "What gets measured gets managed."

One of the things I wish I had done sooner was to pay attention to how much money was going out the door. I spent years just mindlessly paying bills, buying stuff I didn't really need and yeah, there were some weeks I just hoped we had enough cash in the bank to cover all the invoices.

I knew I had to get my pricing sorted but the second thing I did was start to really pay attention to where I was overspending at the wholesalers and when I was buying sh*t I didn't need. For example, I used to buy all the fancy vases and containers well before I even had a booking that I might use them for. I also had a bad habit of buying too many expensive things at the wholesalers and buying all the ribbons in all the colours.

In hindsight, I realised the power came from just paying attention. Instead of telling myself, it didn't matter, I told myself to behave like an employee in my own business and I had a responsibility to pay attention.

Once I start to take charge and began to track our expenses, I noticed I paid way more attention to what I was actually buying. I started to see where all the money was going and with a few tweaks here and there I saw a major change in the $$$ that stayed in our bank account.

Let's Go Deeper: What About Setting a Minimum to Help You Manage Your Flower Shop Operations?

Setting a minimum order value can really help increase the profitability of your flower shop operations. And I think it's safe to say, the decision to set a minimum is a pretty personal decision. Every business owner has their own priorities and logistics to navigate and there are lots of details and personal preferences to take on board.

No matter what, whether you set a minimum is 100% up to you. Just because your flower bestie has a set minimum doesn't automatically mean it's right for you too.

And, because you're the CEO, you get to decide what decision-making framework you want to follow and which math formula you want to use to determine what that minimum is.

Over the years, I've learned to look at the practicalities of setting a minimum in a few different ways, giving you the tools to help you set a minimum that works for you and your flower business.

When it comes to setting a minimum and managing your cash flow, I want you to go in with your eyes wide open and feel empowered to make the best decision you can for yourself and your business.

That's why I've recorded a podcast episode diving deep into setting minimum in your flower business and passing along three different frameworks you can follow to help you determine if a minimum (and what minimum) is right for you and your flower business

Inside This Week's Podcast Episode You'll Learn:

What a minimum is and why it can help you manage your cash flow

The strategy behind setting a minimum and a few different pros and cans to consider

Examples of minimums and how different florists use them in their business

3 different ways to calculate a minimum in your flower business

Listen to the full episode here

Full Episode Transcript

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Flower Shop Operations – 3 Tips for Increasing Profitability This Week

Let's talk flower shop operations and profitability!!! It's one of my favourite topics!

Here's the thing. Running a flower business is hard work. And, like every other business on the planet, it's really easy to not make money.

It took me a few years to really settle in and find my grove for all things flower shop operations and now it's one of my most favourite areas of floristry to teach about. It's unsexy AF, but it really does make the difference between riding the struggle bus and setting yourself up to run a thriving business.

There are three big things we did in our flower shop operations that really changed the game for us, and instead of you feeling like you need to create all your own systems + processes from scratch, staring at the blank page and just feeling so overwhelmed by the idea of having to create more processes, I wanted to distil it down into three easy actions and simple ideas to get you real results faster.

In economics, there is a guiding principle that states: 80% of the output is driven by 20% of the actions. This is called Pareto's Principle.

It definitely applies to flower shop operations and it's one of the lessons I come back to time and time again, believing that 80% of your business can be run if you get 20% of your systems sorted.

It's just a matter of making sure you know which systems are more important than others (cause y'all don't have time to do it all, right?).

Very specifically, when it comes to flower shop operations and how to use systems to increase your profitability, here are the three places I'd focus on first:

  1. Staffing
  2. Wholesale Orders
  3. Maximising Product Usage

(If you're struggling with the basics, and want to get your pricing sorted, be sure to check out these two resources (1) Flower Pricing Worksheets and (2) How to Price Flower Bouquets – YouTube Video)

Flower Shop Operations Tip 1: Smart Staffing Solutions

One of the biggest challenges (and opportunities) of living in a small town is that you don't have access to the same talent pool as in the big city. In hindsight, I now see this as such an incredible blessing because it forced us to look at our staffing totally differently.

We had to get creative with who we hired and how we staffed our flower business. We didn't have access to dozens of highly trained, experienced florists and that required that we look at our structure differently.

As we were sorting through our staffing challenges, I realised that not all tasks in a flower shop are created equal. For example, writing out card messages, processing new flowers from the market and sweeping the floor don't require special training or qualifications.

Yes, you need to train staff on your expectations and how things need to be done but with the right attitude and hiring for cultural fit, many of our day to day flower shop operation tasks can be passed along to a capable, inexperienced lovely human.

I vividly remember pausing one day, taking a little time to look at what each one of our team members was doing and seeing how disjointed it was. We had our most talented designers doing things that others could do and we had team members who were awesome at customer service stuck behind the workbench all day, not engaging with customers at all.

It all came to a head one Mother's Day (this is like when all the holes are put under the microscope). I remember sitting down and thinking, "I have to plan this differently." So we decided to shift our perspective and divide the tasks into 'front of house' and 'back of house'.

Rather than have a designer handle an order from the phone call, to ingredients selection, design and on to packaging and delivery, we broke the whole process down into smaller steps. This gave us the opportunity to get the best people on the job doing customer service and taking orders and have your best designers, designing. Then, you can set up a system for wrapping, packaging, writing cards and organising deliveries.

It's kinda like in a restaurant. The process of making a meal is broken down into stages and you have a mix of staff members, support resources, and chefs navigating a specific series of steps to make it easy for the whole team to follow. The person who takes the order from the customer isn't the same person who makes the meal and probably not the same person who cleans the kitchen.

In short, we flipped the traditional model to flower shop staffing on its side and came at it from a totally different perspective. This allowed us to hire a range of staff, fill the gaps where they needed to be filled, level up our training processes and maximise our profit.

It meant we were no longer doubling up on expensive staff at all hours of the day and we could hire more junior employees, train them up and deliver a great experience to our customers.

Tip 2: Better Wholesale Ordering Processes

When you run a flower shop it's easy to spend a lot of money on product that just ends up in the bin. It's like a long, roundabout way of taking cash out of the ATM throwing it in the trash.

Yes, we all get sucked in by the new, beautiful flowers showing up at the market each week and get tempted to buy a little bit too much of that or too much of this.

It's like the impact is x100 when you run a flower shop because you're bringing in new flowers every day and/or every other day (or at least once per week). $100 overspending with each wholesale order adds up really quickly when you're buying at this frequency.

When it comes to sorting out better wholesale ordering, I started out by creating a system for tracking product wastage (i.e. a piece of paper where we wrote down what was going in the bin).

At the end of each week, I could tally it up and see just how much wastage we were creative (and how much money was going in the trash). That one exercise compelled me to come up with a better process for ordering flowers.

What I ended up doing was, rather than staring at a blank page and coming up with a brand new wholesale order each week, I looked at what we ordered the previous week, cut down on the order depending on how much wastage we had and plan more strategically.

(I even took it so far as to write out my order and then go back and shave off 20% of the flowers, just to see how little flowers we needed to navigate the week. It's a remarkably eye-opening exercise that has a dramatic impact on your bank account.)

The results were amazing and as I did this, over the course of just a few weeks, I started to see that there really was a 'standard order' I could place with our wholesalers and then add in a few delights here and there.

This one system had a knock-on effect for so many areas of our business because it also made pricing was so much easier (no need to keep supplying new price lists to staff with all the new flowers we were getting in every week) and the designs that were going out of our shop were so much more consistent. It was a total win-win!

Tip 3: Maximising Product Usage

One of the super simple systems we put in place to help increase profitability for our flower shop operations was to create an 'orphan bucket'. As we were unpacking the cool room and cleaning up each night we'd gather the stray stems, the random one snapdragon here, the two last roses here and pull them together into a bucket.

We'd place that bucket on the workbench and whoever was starting orders first would work through that orphan bucket, using up loose stems as they worked through the pile of flower orders.

This one process really helped us maximise product usage but it also turned it into a game for all our designers. Yes, there was something to celebrate when we finished up the orphan bucket but what was even more fun was the challenge of being able to still create something lovely with 1 snapdragon and two miss-matched gerberas.

It pushes your design skills but also helps increase your profitability.

Another Awesome Shortcut: Create Floral Design Formulas

One of the best shortcuts we created in our business was to come up with "a formula" for our floral design.

Yes. You read that right.

I spent so much time spinning my wheels, second-guessing all the things and staring at the blank page (or empty workbench) thinking I had to create brand new designs from scratch every time out. I wasted so much time but it also meant we didn't have a consistent 'look' to our designs.

That experience is double stressful when you have customers standing there waiting for their order, the pressure seems like x100. Time just slows down to a molasses pace and you feel like every pair of eyes is just staring at you, right?

And then even as you're designing, trying to stick to your costings, we're all tempted to over-stuff, add in more ingredients and just keep adding in more stems because we want it to meet our expectations.

The idea of creating a flower formula is one of the easiest ways to cut through the overwhelm and make it easier to a create a consistent look. It's like being able to bridge the gap between your vision + design aesthetic and the final recipe or wholesale order you place.

I go through the process of creating flower formulas on this week's podcast episode, giving you my step by step, a how-to guide for you to take this concept and implement it in your business.

I'd love for you to take this concept, put it to work and make it your own peoples!

What you'll learn from this episode:

What a floral design formula is and the exact process to creating one for your designs

My #1 tip for scaling your design work and making it easier to train new staff

How to stop over-stuffing and set up a system to make it easier to manage profitability (with every order!)

Real-world floral design formulas and frameworks you can use in your business

Listen to the full episode here

Full Episode Transcript


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How to Run a Successful Flower Shop – My #1 Secret for Making it Work

I've been spending some time looking back at the early days of my flowering career. As much as it makes me want to cringe and I'm embarrassed by a lot of what I was doing, I've found it really helpful to reflect on all the mistakes I've made and see just how far I've come – particularly when it comes to learning how to run a successful flower shop.

I am on a mission to share as many of my epic failures and lessons learned as possible, with the goal to help you move forward and progress faster. It's like we all get to learn from the mistakes I made and then you'll be 10 steps ahead. Isn't that fun?

When it comes to learning how to run a successful flower shop, the list of mistakes we made is long. There are so many things I wish I had known and so many 'a ha' moments to share.

Even now, in 2022, florists are operating on a lot of misinformation about how to make a flower shop work and I want to help simplify this process. I want to fill the void of information and make it easier for you to get real results (and make more money).

At the end of the day, there is a lot to think about when it comes to how to run a successful flower shop. There are all the logistics around operations, insurance and retail leases. Then all the technology, POS and systems. Plus staffing and shop fit-outs.

And that's all BEFORE you even have a customer calling or coming into the shop to even get into the flowering and fulfilment.

I've put together this blog post to help cut through the overwhelm and help you get focused on what matters most. Because your time is precious. Your energy is limited and I don't want you to waste money on sh*t that doesn't work.

My #1 Secret for Making it Work: How to Run a Successful Flower Shop

I wish someone had told me, way back when I became my own boss, that I get to decide what success looks like to me.

I spend five years chasing someone else's definition of success and it was awful. It's like mindlessly climbing Mount Everest and then getting to the top, only to wonder "WTF is this? This isn't what I wanted?"

So let me save you from all that toil and trouble and lay it out for you as simply as possible: when you make the decision to start a business, you are signing up for being the person in charge. The head honcho. The person who holds that sign says 'The buck stops here.'

Most of the time, it's a scary place to be. It's new and unfamiliar and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it perfect.

But being a business owner and flower boss is also one of the most empowering experiences a human can have. (I share more of this on Instagram, so be sure to follow along.)

I believe being a business owner really teaches us, as human beings, how to truly LIVE into the fullness of the human experience. To feel all the feelings and work through so many of our fear-based, scarcity-driven limiting beliefs.

So, if you're at a loss on what to do in your business and what direction to go, one of the most helpful exercises you can do for yourself and your business is to get clear on what success means to you. And be super literal and specific in your definition.

If you look up the definition of 'successful' on the interwebs, you get this: accomplishing a desired aim or result.

So, with that definition in mind, what is YOUR desired aim or result? Remember, you get to decide for yourself what you want success to mean and you don't need to pay attention to what anyone else is telling you "you should do".

Maybe you're like so many many of the florists inside my Flower Boss Bootcamp who want to have a beautiful shop front with a collection of giftware, home decor and a cute little flowering space.

Or maybe you're navigating a totally different path and only want to do 4 weddings a year, all with big fat 6-figure budgets.

Or maybe you're somewhere in between.

At the end of the day, you get to decide. You are the CEO, the woman in charge and this is your business. You get to define the outcome for yourself. (And no, you don't need to 'work your way up' or 'start small'.)

Being In Charge is Awkward

Yep. There you go. I said it.

Being a leader, being a CEO, being a Flower Boss doesn't come naturally to most of us.

We're very comfortable having someone else tell us what to do. When we're kids, our parents are in charge. Then we go to school and have teachers, principals, professors leading the way. And then we get our first job and, as an employee, we are still following someone else's lead.

Then, we make the decision to start a business and we bring all of that 'not in charge experience into our own work and inevitably 'outsource' the "being in charge" authority to others.

This is particularly true when we're wondering how to run a successful flower shop. We really like to tell ourselves there is a "right" way and a "wrong" way.

So, on our hunt for answers (and when we lack confidence), we might give our customers or clients the power to tell us what to create. Or we might have team members and staff who push us around. (I've experienced both.)

Here's the thing though: it's not your fault. You are not broken. You are a human being running a business and for most of us, no one sat us down and told us how intense this experience feels. No one has told us that when you own the business you get to decide what is done, how things are done and where the business is going.

It's OK that it feels new and awkward. It's OK to feel overwhelmed and confused. There is a lot to sort through.

You can do this. You can do hard things, right?

Go Deeper: My Flower Boss Success Formula

At the end of the day, your success is 100% up to you. No one else is going to come along and do the work for you.

You don't need to wait for permission. You don't need more qualifications and you definitely don't need more Instagram followers.

But you do need to decide you want this and you will make it happen. And then get to work.

Friend, it's time to double down on YOU. To recognise how capable and smart you are. This flower dream of yours was planted in your heart for a reason. I feel it in my bones.

It's time to step up and share your love of flowers with the world.

And no, you don't need to figure it all out on your own. In this week's podcast episode, I'm sharing My Flower Boss Success Formula.

Yes. Quite literally, I'm giving you the formula for showing up with more confidence, more clarity and giving you the inside scoop on how to embrace the discomfort of being the boss of your business.

What you'll learn from this episode:

The real reason we play small, stay small and talk ourselves out of massive action

The #1 secret to being intentional, mastering your mindset and showing up with more confidence

My 4-part framework for feeling successful (even if you're new and just getting started)

The value of hitting 'reset' on your business and coming back to basics

Listen to the full episode here

 

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How to Improve My Florist Business – My #1 Sales Strategy

One of the things I wish someone had told me early on in my floral design + creative entrepreneurship journey is that when it comes to marketing + sales, one of the best things you can do is decide ahead of time what you’re selling.

When you’re first starting out, it’s tempting to think you need to offer up lots of choices and lots of options – that you need to cater to customers across all sorts of styles and aesthetics.

That sounds OK in practice but in reality, it leads to a lot of confusion and total overwhelm – for us and our customers.

This is exactly how we ran our flower business for years. And it was hard work – hard on the customers, hard on our business and hard on me, as a designer. It took me a long time (and a lot of money) to learn there is a better, easier way, a strategy we can follow that helps our customers and helps us.

It’s Time To Step Up and Take Charge: How to Improve My Florist Business

One of the biggest mistakes we designers make is not getting clear on exactly what they’re selling, handing over all your power and authority to your customer.

It’s kinda like if you decided to start a restaurant but, instead of deciding on a menu or cuisine, you just brought lots of different kinds of food and then waited for your customers to approach you and tell you what to make.

Could you imagine walking into your favourite cafe and, instead of the server handing you a menu, he looked at you and asked, “What would you like?” (leaving it entirely open-ended and expecting you, the hungry customer, to have come preferred with a recipe or cookbook).

This is exactly how we're taught to run our flower business. We are trained to have our customers tell us what to create, give us a reference picture and we're expected to know all the techniques and mechanics to be able to just make it.

When we do that, we're setting ourselves (and our customers) up for so much frustration. This approach requires your clients to have the same level of experience, expertise and flower knowledge we do, putting a huge amount of pressure on them.

And, for you as the designer, it leads to creative burnout and often requires you to spend hours and heaps of $$$ learning all sorts of different mechanics and styles. Plus, most of the time you don't even like the work going out the door (that was me!).

Over the past few years, I've heard similar stories from florists around the world, having been advised they need to cater to lots of different tastes and styles in order to grow their business. Philosophically, it makes sense. Practically, from a marketing + sales perspective, it’s an absolute nightmare.

The Paradox of Choice

Have you ever had that experience, where you’re trying to sort through making a decision and just feel overwhelmed by the options available to you? Maybe at the wine shop, looking at the 100s of options available. Or possibly in the chocolate bar section at the convenience store? (That was totally me as a kid!)

In the world of sales, there is a common anecdote that goes: “ A confused mind always says no.” As in, too much choice leads to overwhelm and confusion leads to the customer walking away.

One of the best sales studies I’ve learned about is called The Jam Study. Two psychologists set up an experiment, testing out their hypothesis on selling jars of jam. They wanted to see how sales were impacted by the number of options available to customers.

In one scenario, they set up the experiment with 24 different choices. In the second scenario, they limited it to 6.

Common sense might lead us to believe more choice is better, right? Turns out, the exact opposite is true.

When it comes to learning how to improve my florist business, there is such a thing as too much choice. In the case of the Jam Study, the psychologists found that sales increased when there were 6 products on offer (as compared to 24 options).

We floral designers can learn SO much from this one study. Our customers need us and want us to narrow down the choices and simplify our offer.

A Real-World Example: Apple iPhone

I often think about what a disaster it would be if we, as customers, had to walk into the Apple Store and were presented with shelves of wires, plastic screens, microchips and lenses as opposed to working phones and computers. As if the staff at Apple expect us, the totally tech ignorant customer, to come along and be able to tell the engineers what we wanted to made.

For me, I'd be in a spiral of confusion and overwhelm so quick I'd run screaming out the door. Me, the non-engineer type, has no idea what’s even possible when it comes to this sort of tech. I don't even know where to begin.

Apple has, in fact, does us a massive favour by limiting the number of decisions we iPhone customers need to think through. As of this moment in time, we can decide between basic things like (1) memory (2) colour (3) size (4) version. The rest, the amazing team at Apple have done for us.

We, floral designers, get to do the same thing in our flower business. You and I both know there are an infinite number of solutions when it comes to flowers. And, instead of relying on your customer to tell you what to create, it’s time to take charge and refine your offer.

Step #1 is to decide ahead of time what you think looks good, what ingredients you want to use and what formats you want to offer.

Simplification is the Secret to More Sales

One of the places I really saw this strategy work was when it came to table arrangements. A client would send us one of those generic emails that reads, “I’m having lunch for nanna’s 80th birthday next Thursday. And I’d like something for the table.”

Early on, we’d go back and forth with the customer for days, giving them heaps of options and overwhelming them with decisions and details.

In the end, when I saw how much time my staff was spending on all this back-and-forth, I realised I needed to find a better way. I’d have one of my best designers trying to sort through this for hours – in some cases, navigating the enquiry would take far longer than actually making the arrangements. I had had enough.

We sat down and decided OK, what do we want our go-to table arrangements to look like. We came up with a very simple framework.

  • Mini arrangement $85
  • Standard size $195
  • Premium $350

Rather than using a reference picture as a literal ‘please make me one of these chef’ directives, we started to use the reference pictures as a guide for colour palette, textures and overall vibe. We used it as a tool for communication, rather than a literal set of instructions on what to make.

It finally occurred to me that our clients were sending us reference pictures because (1) they thought they had to and (2) they didn’t know the words to describe what they liked.

PRO TIP: Looking for guidance on pricing your floral arrangements? Jump over here and grab my FREE pricing worksheets.

In the end, this new, simpler sales strategy changed the game for us. It cut down on 90% of the back and forth and streamlined our approach dramatically. Our clients loved how simple we made things and that helped us close more sales with less effort.  Better yet, it ensured that every design that went out the door met our standards. Win-win!

How to Effortlessly Sell Your Dream Designs

When you're looking for ideas on how to improve my florist business, keep this sales strategy in mind: stepping up and taking charge is the best way forward.

On a very practical note, remember that this sales strategy works for many different areas of your business. In fact, it applies to anything – ceremony features, funeral work, corporate arrangements, subscriptions.

If you're tired of saying yes to whatever is coming your way and feel totally embarrassed by the work you're being asked to create, you're not alone. That was me. 100%. Over the years, I've learned to flip the entire process on its head. There is an easier way!

It's time to put yourself back in the driver's seat and take control.

And that's precisely what I'm teaching in this week's podcast episode, passing along my exact approach to effortlessly sell your dream designs and giving you my best advice on how to improve my florist business.

What you'll learn from this week's podcast episode:

Why we're all taught the exact wrong approach to get orders and navigating event clients

My super simple solution to quoting designs you love and how to make it easier to close more clients

How to put yourself back in the driver's seat of your business and start making work you love

Streamline your wholesale ordering process and stop all the second-guessing

Listen to the full episode here

 

Full Episode Transcript

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