Let's face it, every thing costs money and to make money you have spend some. I recently read an article in Floral Management that really hit home with me. For anyone that may have read it, it's the one about the two guys from Bouquets who just won the Marketer of the Year award again. The part that really struck me was that they talked about the economy and how they had stepped up their advertising and marketing by spending more than they had in the past. We started doing the same thing about almost 2 years ago when the dreaded "R" word reared it's ugly head with a mention by Kevin at our 2008 "Employee Kick Off" meeting. How right he was and so happy am I that we also started spending more on our advertising. With that being said our sales have gone down but I agree with BJ Dyer who basically said he felt that sales would be even further off if he (and I) had not been proactive back then.
So, the point of this blog, is more than ever it's important to get your name out there, any way you can which brings me to the concept of Business Partnering and Barter. Every business has "business" friends and florists are no exception. There are services we need and services that we provide. Why not create partnerships with people who need what you have and can provide what you need? Barter is a great way for both parties to accomplish what they need to. For example, we provide flowers and balloons for our local double A Baseball Team and they provide us with a huge banner behind First Base all season. That's great exposure that might otherwise be too expensive for us. Bartering for advertising space is wonderful and most businesses that sell ads have some needs that require flowers. We currently barter ad space with at least 10 businesses and non profit organizations. It's a win for us and a win for them.
That takes me to Business Partnerships. This is what I consider your "friends" in business. These are the photographers that you see at your weddings. If you genuinely like their work, why not refer them and let them refer you. I currently have a huge network of businesses that compliment mine that I refer and they refer me. We even link to each other on our websites. Sometimes I provide them with flowers and they provide me with their product. An example might be a photographer that needs a floral display for their business trade show booth. I give them an arrangement and they print me some pictures from a wedding we worked on together. The key with this is to build a network of business people you like and trust. And remember, this works both ways. If they refer someone to you, their neck is on the line, just as your is when you refer a client to them.
Anyway, the point of this blog is that you need to get your name out there, anyway you can. Sometimes it's going to cost you and sometimes not. Now more than ever it's time to step up your advertising and marketing plan and when money is tight, consider barter and partnering. As Martha Stewart says "It's a Good Thing!!".