You've turned your dream of opening a flower shop into reality, but now that you've opened your doors, how do you make sure your flower shop is a success? According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, "roughly 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first five years." The keys to running a successful flower shop require more than selling flowers and a knack for floral arranging.
Analyze your sales records. Review three months of records and scale back on items that don't sell well. This is especially important for flower shops, where inventory is perishable. Keep careful records and revise your orders so you aren’t left with too much dead stock at the end of the week.
Examine your inventory. Many flower shops also sell stuffed animals, greeting cards, balloons, live plants, seasonal items and mugs. Offer merchandise that enables customers to complete their shopping in one location, but don't have so much merchandise that your shop looks cluttered. "Up sell" when possible--suggest a stuffed animal to go with a baby shower arrangement, for example--but be careful not to seem pushy.
Advertise. Place ads in your local newspapers and newsletters. Barter with businesses. For example, a beauty salon may agree to let you place a large flower arrangement at their reception station each week with your card available for their clientele to see. They benefit from the attractive flowers and you benefit from the advertising. Tell everyone you know about your flower shop and offer a new customer discount. Pass out business cards to parents at school functions, church and soccer games.
Excel in the art of customer service. Make your flower shop stand out from the rest by offering services others might not, such as after-hours deliveries. Add special touches to your arrangements, such as a Mylar balloon that’s not expected with a large order. The balloon costs mere pennies to your business, but the customer satisfaction can be priceless.
Train your employees in customer service. Keep your shop tidy and free of dust and grime. Offer discounts to local businesses that have a logical connection to yours, such as mortuaries and wedding planners.