You’re ambitious, capable and want to start your own flower business. But knowing where to start is overwhelming.
Or, perhaps, you’ve already started a business but it feels like you’re pushing sh*t uphill. It’s harder than you expected and you’re not making progress.
In either case, you may be thinking: how is it that everyone else makes it look so easy? What am I missing? How did they know how to start their flower business?
The information Black Hole
It’s shocking how little information on how to start a flower business is available. Lots of florists seem to be successful, but how do they do it and where did they go for help?
Or did they magically pop out of floristy school already knowing all the secrets?
It’s all so hush hush and secretive, ain’t it? Even finding out answers to basic questions like how to price flowers for sale to customers is nearly impossible.
“Needle in a haystack” comes to mind.
How do I know? Because that was me. When I started, I searched high and low for any information on business and flowers. I signed up to all the workshops, did all the programs and took all the courses.
But I was still lost and overwhelmed.
It was as if everyone else had a secret handbook, a magical roadmap to success, that no one else would share.
My 4 steps to starting a successful flower business
So after doing hundreds of weddings, serving thousands of customers and making millions of dollars, I wrote my own handbook for how to start a flower business.
My magical roadmap to follow if I was to do it all over again, which I’ve condensed into the four simple steps in this handy little diagram.
Step 1. What are you selling?
And don’t say “flowers”. That’s like saying every restaurant just sells “food”. What I want you to think about in this question is: what kinds of designs do you make? Which formats to you offer? Do you make boxed oasis arrangements or strictly vases? What sorts of ingredients, and packaging do you use? Do you offer bridal consultations? Online ordering?
Get specific. The more detail the better. If it’s helpful, imagine that you are a restaurant owner and are creating your menu. What’s on it? What ingredients go into each dish? And equally important, what’s NOT on your menu?
It’s up to you to decide what sort of flower business you want to start.
Step 2. Who are you selling it to?
You don’t want to cater to every potential customer in every floristry niche. And, in reality, you can’t cater to every customer in every niche.
Many florists (and especially those just starting out) make this mistake because they fear they’ll be missing out or limiting their potential customer base.
As a result, they try to get the word out that they sell high-end weddings, low-cost weddings, wedding packages, subscriptions, everyday flowers, funeral work, premium arrangements, low-cost bouquets, workshops etc.
The result? They wind up not selling anything.
The job in this step is to simplify. More than likely there is only ONE of you. So define your niche and go ‘all in’ on marketing just that ONE. You’ll see faster results.
Step 3. How will they find out about you?
Asked another way, “Kathleen how do I get more customers?”.
The answer is always marketing. And that’s true if you’re just starting your flower business or have been doing it for 20 years.
More specifically, it’s understanding where your customers are actively searching for floral design services and making it easy for them to buy from you.
This is the reason I tell you to focus on one floristry niche — it will bring focus to where you spend the limited marketing time and money that you have.
Don’t assume where you like to hang out is where your customers are searching for floral designers. Stop for a moment and think: where do your customers actively search for floral designers? That’s where you want to focus your efforts, that’s your marketing plan.
Step 4. Why will they buy from you?
I’ll give you the answer to this one: customers will buy from you because you are the most helpful.
They know you can solve their problem and they love your phenomenal customer service, easy sales process and how open you are with your expertise and know-how.
In contrast, your floral design skills are not the most important reason for choosing you. Don’t get me wrong, you need to have adequate technical & design skills but they can be just that: average. Because in floristry, she who is the most helpful will make the most money.
Be open with your guidance and and make it easy for your customers to buy from you.
What then? Rinse + Repeat.
Once you’ve answered these four questions, I have one other piece of advice: Keep. Going.
This is the single most challenging thing for any florist, new or otherwise. You gotta have the mental stamina to keep going. Everyday. To continually pull yourself up and find the motivation to move forward, even when you don’t feel like you’re making progress.
In fact, every business owner should be coming back to these four questions. Either for the first time, or refining and honing their answers as their business grows.
The wrong way to start a flower business
Okay, perhaps that’s a bit dramatic to say as there is no one “right” or “wrong” way to run a business.
However, many new florists jump into business working under some not-so-great assumptions in the quest to be seen as a legitimate business:
- “I need a retail shop”. Nope. In fact, these days more than ever, your website is likely going to be your #1 salesperson.
- “I need X,Y or Z floristry training“. All learning is useful and will serve you well. But it won’t make you better at running a business.
- “The best designers are the most successful“. Again, nope. You can be an average designer and do very well indeed by learning as much about business + marketing as you can (like you’re doing now 😀)
- “New florists can’t charge full price”. You should be charging the right prices from Day #1. Find out how in my Free Pricing Guide #ForFlorists.
If any of these ring true, you’re not alone. But if you work through the four steps in this process, I can guarantee you’ll be focussed on what matters and the rest will fall away.
Help with your flower business
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 help starting your flower business, check out my 1:1 Business Masterclass here.