new year, new younew year, new you

Ten resolutions to make your business better in 2013.

By Teresa P. Lanker

In business, each new year brings hope for the better. Better sales, better profits, better performance—the list goes on. Often, business leaders seek to do better by changing what they do rather than how they do it. Improving how you do things, however, often will have a tremendous impact on what you do. In the spirit of the new year, consider these 10 resolutions to make your flower shop better.

1. Focus on flowers. Make sure your business focuses on flowers as its primary product line. Strive to offer a wide variety of blooms, and keep only the freshest stock on hand.

2. Put customers first. Make a commitment to topnotch customer service, and communicate your “customers first” motto to both your staff and clientele. Post a quality-service guarantee at your sales counter and work stations. Print your commitment on receipts, invoices and sales fliers.

3. Support the staff. Motivate your employees to maximize their performance with encouragement, incentives and recognition. Let your staff know your expectations, and then highlight performance that meets or exceeds them. Focus on the positives, and handle the negatives privately.

4. Enhance your image. Be clear about what type of florist you intend to be and what clientele you want to attract. Avoid attempting to be the florist with every product for every need and price point. Clearly define your image so as not to be confused with your florist and nonflorist competitors. Then repeat this image message in every aspect of your operation, from display to advertising to packaging.

5. Buy smart. Spend the time necessary to accurately forecast inventory needs for daily, holiday and event work. Order flowers and supplies well in advance to ensure availability and to take advantage of early-order discounts. Uphold a first-in, first-out policy for flower usage to minimize dumpage.

6. Price right. Stop guessing and start calculating so that prices are a true reflection of the cost of goods, operating expenses and labor required to do business. Be sure to factor in a reasonable profit margin as well, so prices are fair for both you and your customers. Resist the temptation to add extra stems to spruce up arrangements, or your profit will be a washout.

7. Market consistently. Send regular and consistent messages to established and potential customers about your products and services. Don’t wait for holidays to advertise who you are and what you have to offer. Use a broad range of marketing approaches including dynamic displays and super sales incentives to bring in a steady stream of year-round business.

8. Update technology. If your business has a Facebook page, designate someone to update it regularly. Check your shop’s website and make sure the information on each page is current. Use email to send birthday and anniversary reminders or to inform customers that deliveries have been made. Offer digital photos of recipients with their flowers to senders of daily orders.

9. Add some spice. Keep current with the latest design techniques, and incorporate them into your floral offerings. Spice up everyday arrangements with keepsake gifts or tasty treats. Provide add-on options, such as roses or chocolates, that encourage more look for the money. Replace your routine floral designs with exotic bouquets, European trends and fun novelties that will appeal to your clientele and show your style and sense of humor.

10. Set some goals. Plan ahead for the direction you want your business to grow. Include employees in setting long-term goals and short-term objectives to help get you there. Measure your progress regularly, and share the results with all concerned. Celebrate small milestones, and look forward to the day when you can trumpet your success loud and proud.

Teresa P. Lanker is assistant professor and chair for the Horticultural Technologies Division and coordinator of Floral Design and Marketing at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute. Contact her at

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