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Showing posts from 2010

Society of American Florists Convention

Society of American Florists
Originally uploaded by Georgianne at Monday Morning Flowers It's been awhile since I've written a blog for Speaking Florally but it's not for lack of something to say! First off, I want to thank both Rick Canale and Mandy Majerik, AIFD for sharing the stage with me at the Orlando Conference last month. It was not only wonderful for me to pass on whatever tips I had about Social Networking for Florists but it was wonderful to learn from them as well.

Ok, which brings me to the point of this blog. What a wonderful time at the Conference I had. Kevin and I met so many amazing people and how inspiring they were! People that I have read about for years in the pages of floral magazines became real people to me. If you are in the floral industry and you are not a member of SAF, then you must become a member right away. I'm not going to twist your arm I'm going to let you find out for yourself. Visit their website at http://www.safnow.org/ to s…

Build a Spreadsheet by Georgianne

Dreaded words - build a spreadsheet. Well, at least they are dreaded by me but certainly not my husband, he's a whiz at those. Thank goodness I dragged the guy into working with me full time because I don't know what I'd do without him. Ok, back to the dreaded spreadsheet comment.... Actually, I love spreadsheets. I have no idea how to build them but man, I don't think I could live without them and so the inspiration for this business blog.
What spreadsheets do I use and love? Well, the hubby has built me a spreadsheet that I use for ordering wedding flowers. I put in the items needed such as bouquets, corsages, centerpieces, etc along with how many of each are needed. I fill in the flowers to be used, determine how many go in each and magically I get a grand flower total. As long as my math is good on giving the bride the correct number of flowers to fit the budget and I order that many flowers, everything works out perfectly. When the time comes to create each piece,…

Incorporating a Little Kaizen by Kevin Vinicombe

A few weeks ago I made a point of discussing our Toss/Work Loss percentage with our Design Team. Over the summer months I noticed that our percentages had been "creeping" up. Basically when those percentages go up it could mean that we are “stuffing“ the arrangements with unpaid for flowers, tossing out too many flowers (perhaps proper rotation methods are not being followed) or we are purchasing too much for our current sales volume. I was trying to find a different approach with the staff and started thinking back to similar situations in my pre-floral career. I remembered the "Kaizen" concept I learned back in college. Kaizen was a concept I had used many times before in my previous corporate life.

Loosely defined Kaizen is the Japanese word for "Improvement" or "Change for Better". It's an ongoing, continuous process that never stops and teaches us to always look for a better, more efficient way to conduct our business. The process of co…

Employee Incentives - Yes or No?

Honestly, Kevin and I were very resistant to giving our design and sales staff incentives over the years but a recent visit to a floral conference had us rethink the concept. We thought - hey, they work for us, we are good to them, our employees should do whatever is in the best interest of the company, right? Well, human nature doesn't work that way.
Let's face it, as business owners, we have a big incentive each and every month to have our sales be as high as possible and our expenses and low as possible - it's called paying the bills. If you don't do what needs to be done, you can't pay your staff, yourself or your bills. Each month as owners we stare at that check book and know we need to get out there and sell effectively or die trying!  
Sometimes even the best employees in the world could use a boost and why not reward them for their efforts, right? This past year we revisited the concept of incentives, first for our sales staff and then for our designers. Fo…

Who's the King? By Kevin Vinicombe

It's an old business saying but so true - "Cash is King". As an accountant, my profession has all kinds of financial and accounting techniques that make adjustments to results of a company's operations. These adjustments can increase or decrease the profitability of a company "on paper". Don't misunderstand, the adjustments are necessary and most times required when preparing acceptable financial statements or tax returns. Nevertheless, when managing a business the true test of success is cash flow, measured monthly, quarterly and annually. At the end of the month, quarter and year do you have enough money to pay your bills? A company can appear to lose money because of non cash related transactions such as depreciation and amortization but still have positive cash flow and be viable and healthy.
I say "Cash is King" because it's the clearest and most definitive way of running a business but, the Retail Floral industry is unique when measur…

Take A Picture and Post It!

If your shop is anything like ours, it a very busy time right now, not to mention exciting. Wedding flowers every weekend, graduation, communion and anniversary parties galore! I love the month of May not only because is it good for business, it's usually good for company morale. I have found that when florists are busy, they are happy!!

We all work so hard and we love what we do, so why not document our wonderful business by taking some photos. I love taking pictures at the shop, especially when we are having fun. Take photos, post to your website, on flickr, on your Facebook Fan page, show the world what a great place you have. Show them the fantastic work you do. Let them know you are an independent business, family owned and operated. Make copies for your staff so they too. You'd be shocked at the response you'll get. I've had staff send them home to their parents. Why? Because it makes them proud. It's a way of showing their family what they do and they will …

Shop to Shop

A lot of talk is happening right now in our industry about wire services, order gathers and the general condition of the flower business. I have many opinions on where we were and where we are going but this blog really isn't about that. My main concern right now is being able to handle my customers outgoing flower orders.
Truth be told, this past Mother's Day holiday became a nightmare. I know for sure, that there were nice, hard working shops out there that really wanted us to fill their orders and we wanted them to fill ours. The problem? Order gathers and even FTD.com completely choked up our computer systems by sending us orders for product that we did not have, below our stated minimums with unrealistic timelines. Yikes, we had orders coming in quicker than we could see if we could even do them to the point that my FTD mercury machine ended up being suspended for a good part of the holiday (not to mention that my modem broke and FTD was not able to get me a new one until…

Have Fun!

hehehe, I laugh when I look at this picture because it's so typical of my two employees Sheryl and Melissa. Prompted by me to do something funny for the camera, they looked at each other and said "Let's skip" and off they went laughing and skipping. 
Ok, so the point of the blog and what the heck does it have to do with owner or managing a flower shop? Well, we all know in this business that we work hard and most likely for fairly low pay. Why would anyone want to work at a flower shop? Well, maybe as small business owners we have flexibility to create fun work environments. We work daily with beautiful flowers, making people happy. Yes, we run businesses and we have to run them as such but who says that we can't have fun doing it, right? The whole point of this blog is to have fun. Let your employees have fun. Encourage them to be friends and to laugh together. Play music, dance, take funny pictures, dress up for Halloween or treat them for fast food after an ev…

Are You Corporate Friendly?

A friend of mine that owns a flower shop in another state asked me how we get so many corporate orders. Of course,  the topic had come up because of Professional Administratives Day (or Week as I like to refer to it) is next week. As I told her we already had quite a few orders and many of those were multiple arrangements going to the same business. Gosh, you have to love those, right?
Well for us, our corporate orders are a very large part of our client base and it's not easy task keeping them happy which got me to thinking about this blog. Are you a flower shop owner that would like to have more corporate orders? If so here are a few things I think you need to consider when going after that business. Do you have convenient hours of operation? Many of the companies that order from our shop start calling us at 7 or 7:30 am. Wow, you wouldn't think they would but by 8 am for sure, our phones are ringing. Are you still operating with traditional retail hours? If so, you might be…

Tracking Your Toss

Recently I was talking to another flower shop owner and I asked him if he tracked his toss. "Oh yes, I sure do" he replied. Being curious as I usually am (I know, it's such an annoying trait to those around me) I asked him how he did this. You see, the way we track toss at our shop is anything that gets thrown out gets recorded on a toss sheet tracker that we have created. Pretty much the drill is, if you can't use it and we paid for it, it gets recorded. So, of course, I was wondering if perhaps he had a better way to track his work loss then we did. When I pressed him further as to how he tracked it, he did not have an  answer. Oh boy, that means he thinks he's tracking it but actually he wasn't. Not a good thing. Below is how we track it, what we do with the information and why it's important.
How do we track it? Each designer has a toss bucket at their station. If the flower is not sellable (past it's prime, broken, whatever) it gets tossed in the …

To Do or Not To Do - That is the Question

It's a Monday morning. I arrive to work early, about 7 am, like I usually do. I help with prepping flowers, getting the sales area organized, give some direction to the staff and then head up to the office to get my own work done and that gets me to thinking. Once I am able got get up to the office, I start by reviewing my To Do List. I look at what's been done, what needs to be done and add any items that I now know need to be done. I've tried putting my list on the computer but the truth is I love the act of writing it down on paper. It just makes it more real to me. And so, the inspiration for this blog!
I'm a big believer in To Do Lists. For me, they help me organize my thoughts and prioritizes my responsibilities. If you own a flower shop or any small business for that matter, you probably walk around feeling overwhelmed. Why? That's because as a small business owner it's easy to get sucked into the vortex of day to day operations and depending on the size…

What Do You Expect?

What do you expect? It's a phrase we often hear but in business it's so important. Your customer expects to get what you promise them. Your employees expect you to pay them but what you expect from them? Have you made it clear what each employee must do for you in order to maintain their employment? If you are like me, I'll bet you have a hard time with that part of the management equation.
Last year Kevin and I hired a Consulting company to come in and analyze our business and remember, you don't do something like that unless you are hurting. Yes, the economy was making for challenging days at the shops but mostly we reached out to this consultant because we were having "employee" issues. We love our employees and they appear to love us but that does not mean that everything goes smoothly.  We had employee procedures in place but we knew that they were not always following them. We had expectations but that they were not always being met. We had problems but…

Help Wanted

The foundation of our Industry and our businesses should be obvious - the people! Machines don't design and deliver our products, people do. Recently my wife and I attended the Northeast Floral Conference allowing us the opportunity to meet so many wonderful and amazing people in the floral industry. The outstanding service that people provide truly separates the full service florist from the other Market Channels that sell flowers. That's easy to understand, the tough part is finding the right person for the position.
One of my previous careers, prior to joining the floral business full time, was Executive Recruiting. I spent 5 years recruiting and though each industry has it's own unique requirements and needs there are hiring commonalities that all share. Most business owners understand the importance of hiring people who are trustworthy, come to work on time, and have the ability to do the job. When you need to hire someone to "hit the ground running" there…

Make It About the Experience

Everyone knows that making a purchase, no matter how big or small is partly about the experience. Yes, sometimes you shop because you have to but isn't it true that you shop where you have the best experience? Ok, I'm going to get on my Florist soap box and shout my usual mantra of floralisms. Hm, is that a word? It is unclear to me at the time but on with my rant....Flower Purchases are About the Floral Experience!!

As a Florist I understand that people may be coming into my shop for fresher flowers than they might find at the Supermarket. They may be coming to us for flowers for their wedding. They may be coming in to have flowers delivered to a friend but chances are, if they are coming into my flower shop to buy flowers they are here for the Floral Experience.

What, pray tell, is that? It's the wonderful experience that they should have of coming into a clean, organized, well stocked place of beauty. They are coming in for the selection, the freshness, the customer se…

Thank You, More Please!

Have you ever noticed that when you say "Thank You", you seem to get more? Sometimes it's just a smile from a customer you just helped or perhaps it's waitress who is a bit more attentive to your order. You'll notice the more you say thank you, the more you receive.  Appreciating what is given to you opens up the possibility to get more. Want more? Say thank you more often! Want more orders at your flower shop? Sure, we all do!
At our shop we've developed a pretty cool direct mail marketing campaign that  works. If someone is a brand new customer and not found in our data base, right off the bat, they are assigned a customer number along with a record of their transaction.  Once a week we run a report of the brand new customers. Each one gets a personal letter, signed by me as the owner, thanking them for being a new customer. Sent within a week of their order we include their customer number, information about our shop and a gift certificate good for $10 wor…