If you’re thinking about starting up a florist business (or any business for that matter), be suspicious, don’t be fooled by the pretty flowers, the divine smells and the amazing colours and read some lessons I have learnt along my own journey.
First and foremost, decide on a style or theme and which end of the market you want to target. Do you want to sell other products to compliment your flowers; chocolates, soft toys or hampers? Next, check out the demographics in your area that suit your theme and preferred market.
Visit other florist shops. Take notes of the shop layout, flower display, flowers presentation; are they in bouquets, vases or water troughs, the amount of space the entire display takes up? Are their other products complimentary to the flowers? Think about the value for money per each bouquet and products, is it what you would expect to pay? Purchase a freshly made bouquet, chocolates and a bear and have it delivered to your home address. Critique your tick list for service, handling and delivery. Be sure to look for a niche or point of difference that other shops don’t have that you can supply, for example, I was only one of two Maori florists in NZ, so was able to cater for my people needs in a customary way.
Give thought to building an alliance with one of two other florists for those times when you need to borrow or swap supplies. Nothing worse than running out of wedding ribbon an hour before pickup or your greenery truck is stuck in traffic.
Once you have found a suitable location, try and get a feel for the landlord. What does their lease demand of you, read it with a very fine toothcomb. Do your homework: talk to the previous tenants and the owners and tenants of the buildings next door, other networks too. It’s a two-way agreement and you want to feel secure that communication between you both will be polarity free.
If you are going into business with your spouse, take time to discuss each partners skills and abilities and match them to set roles in the business. Do you both know your stress limits and are your goals for the business, the same or similar? Set some guidelines and boundaries to follow for times when business and personal become a blur.
Don’t assume that your bank, lawyer, accountant and insurance brokers you’ve had for years will be the most cost effective. Shop around, get quotes, talk to networks. Do the same with utilities and hire equipment for phones, power and POS systems. There is no room for loyalty in business.
Know your target market: age, gender, genre. Research surveys and questionnaires to see what market suits your personality and build a rapport with that market as soon as possible.
Study your business systems, organise them into manageable bites: front of shop, customer protocols, online, software, social media and staff and workshop needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for help to get your systems fit and ready.
Get a feel for the flower designs and products you want to sell and build good solid relationships with those suppliers and always, always set a budget prior to meeting a supplier. It is too easy to spend more than needed and suppliers will push if they feel you’re a pushover for cute stock. A budget marker will give you a limit to keep within.
Finally, always, always, always, pay your taxes, regularly and on time, no exceptions. If you can’t pay your tax, you can’t run a business.
Being in business is fun, exhilarating, stressful, lonely, exciting, creative and an amazing journey, a must on any bucket list. It’s a place to met extraordinary people, listen and share stories and learn a truck load of stuff about yourself