“Follow even a few of these tips, and your business will boom in the new year.”

The new year is off to a fresh start, and with every new beginning comes an opportunity to either start over or build on past successes. You can make 2020 a great year for your floral business by making some simple, straightforward tweaks. From honing your leadership skills and upping your social media game to personalizing service for every single customer, we have some solid advice to help your business shine in the year ahead.

Choose at least two or three of these ideas and make them priorities for your business in the coming year. Do it now – get started this week or this month! But you don’t have to do it all yourself. Brainstorm with staff about how to make these priorities happen, and consider assigning a staff member or two to spearhead the accomplishment and implementation of each priority you chose. They will feel a sense of inclusion, involvement and investment, which can only add to your chances of success.


Tim Huckabee, founder and president of Floral-Strategies (floralstrategies.com), says one of the best ways to get customers to spend more is to simply give them options to do so. Upselling, add-on sales, finishing touches – whatever you want to call it; you must have options available, offer them to the customer and let the customer decide. For example, rather than offering only a dozen roses in a vase, also have a premium option (or two) nearby – with premium decorative greenery, branches, flowers, balloons, candy, etc. – that may get them thinking about upgrading their selections and spending more.


Similarly, time-worn strategies such as engaging customers in conversations, finding out more about what they need (and who the flowers are for) by asking simple probative questions and having appropriate accessories near the checkout – like gift cards, candy, candles, etc. – can go a long way in helping you suggest what other things might go great with what they are buying.


In this day and age, florists who don’t offer e-commerce options to their customers are leaving money on the table. Customers don’t always have the time or desire to go into shops; they sometimes need (or prefer) to purchase flowers online from their computers and, increasingly, from their mobile devices. Make sure you’re ready for them with a website that’s not only robust and engaging but also that is easy to navigate and makes online buying and sending flowers a breeze. Your website also must be mobile friendly or mobile optimized to accommodate the increasing legions of shoppers who buy products using their mobile devices.


Believe it or not, some floral businesses still schedule their employees to work on an informal, almost as-needed basis. This can not only lead to confusion and missed shifts but also create a lapse in the quality of service you offer. Huckabee suggests that something as simple as a paper calendar for employees’ schedules can bring a necessary dose of consistency to your business; however, for an even better, more technological approach, a range of apps are available that make scheduling and tracking hours much more convenient and effective. Options include Ximble (ximble.com), Humanity (humanity.com) and Planday (planday.com).


Think you can grow your business without growing your people? Think again, says speaker and business coach Donald Cooper. “To truly embrace a program of ongoing employee education and development, keep in mind that there are many different kinds of training,” Cooper writes on his blog.
Ongoing education and training of your employees is key to keeping your business strong and moving forward. Cooper offers an array of areas that are important to focus on in training, whether that’s educating new employees about the history and culture of your company, making sure everyone’s trained on the latest processes and policies, and even teaching employees the duties of other roles should the need for their assistance elsewhere ever arise. Learn more at donaldcooper.com/?s=employee+training.


Technology is everywhere these days, and it’s important to harness the right technologies to make your business flourish. But how to find the right ones?
“As you look to technology to give you the competitive advantage you need, it will be useful not to lump ‘technology’ into one big confusing mess but rather to examine how technology can help you in each specific area and function of your business,” Cooper explains.
It’s also helpful to think about all the different ways tech can help your business, whether that’s in marketing, logistics/delivery, point-of-sale systems, inventory tracking or other areas. Size up what you have – and what could be improved through a new software system, app or other technology.


People want to feel special and people who are made to feel special will return to those places that make them feel that way. “Today, consumers want personalized products, service and experiences,” says Robin Lewis, a business and retail consultant, in his blog, The Robin Report (therobinreport.com). “And, if you can’t provide it, they will simply cross the street to another store that provides such personalization.”
In the floral business, personalization can be as simple as remembering a customer’s name or favorite flower. But also be sure to offer accessories and other options that people can add to their orders to make them unique and, yes, personal.


Any company without solid leadership is likely to flounder, so take the time to improve your own leadership skills for the good of your company. Jon Gordon, a leadership consultant and author, is a big fan of leadership that’s positive and inspirational to employees.
“Positive leadership is powerful, real and practical,” he writes in a recent edition of his newsletter. He says that positive leaders are those who demand but don’t demean and who unite their teams while also connecting with their people on an individual basis. Take the time to get to know your employees so you can identify the strengths they can bring to the team. Get great specific tips and advice at jongordon.com/useful-tools/newsletters.


If you own a brick-and-mortar flower shop, make sure it looks like one. “I walk into so many flower shops, and it’s like, ‘Where are all the flowers?’” says J. Keith White, AIFD, an FTD education consultant and design expert. That doesn’t mean you can’t have accessories and other nonfloral items on display, but be sure to showcase your specialty: flowers. White also says it’s important not be too cluttered with excess inventory. Even more key, however, is to have a place where customers can sit down and consult with designers. Not only will they appreciate the focused service, but it also invites people to linger longer in your store and, possibly, buy a little more.


If you’re not already on social media, get going. There’s no easier or more affordable way to market your brand and business than starting an Instagram and/or Facebook account. Start small, with just occasional pictures – and videos – of nice designs, especially your wedding work; new products; interesting shots of your store; behind the scenes of staff processing flowers and creating designs; and staff member profiles, bios and short interviews. Interact with folks who comment on your posts, and follow other designers, shops and industry pros to build your online presence. Many designers have expanded their businesses by connecting with people from around the world – relationships that lead to speaking gigs, business partnerships and other professional opportunities.
“People want to be able to connect with you and get to know you better,” says Bianca Rosen, an artist who paints colorful floral paintings and has grown her business wildly through the use of Instagram. “Be passionate about what you do, and share things with your audience regularly about what you’re working on whether by story or post.”


Business coach Donald Cooper says that to make 2020 your best year ever, you have to get real about which areas of your business need clarity, focus and improvement. To do that, you have to understand where you are now.
A quick and effective way to determine where you are now is to download Cooper’s “Business Key Challenge Audit Sheet,” which takes just four minutes to complete. You can download it for free at donaldcooper.com/business-key-challenge-audit-sheet.
Once you’ve determined what needs “fixing” in your business, Cooper advises, create an action plan, and commit to its effective implementation. For each action item, agree on and document specifically what will be done, by whom, by when, at what cost, with what outcome, measured how and rewarded how. Then, commit to following up religiously, reward progress and deal with nonperformance.
For more insight on what needs improving in your business and how to do it, Cooper recommends sitting down with a few of the best minds and hearts and courageous truth-sayers in your business, and investing an hour or so answering the following 10 simple questions. He notes that although the questions are simple, some of the answers will not be. Where necessary, he says, allocate homework and research assignments to members of your team to gather more info and more innovative thoughts.

1. What extraordinary bottom-line profit do you commit to deliver in 2020? Your profit is something you commit to and plan for – not something that you just hope for. Hope, is not a strategy.
2. What is your sales commitment for next year, and what are the three or four most important things that you and your team need to do to achieve that 2020 sales commitment?
3. What are three things that you do that confuse or tick off your customers, and what will you commit to do to fix them so wonderfully that they become part of your competitive advantage?
4. What are three or four important things that any of your competitors do better than you, and how will you improve and become the competitive leader in 2020?
5. What are the five biggest expense items on which you can save some money in 2020, and, specifically, how will you do that?
6. What are four things you can do to become “greener” in 2020 and beyond?
7. What are three or four things you can do to improve internal communication and improve clarity about your commitments to customers, to each other and to your bottom line?
8. What improvements in marketing, promotion and advertising will you commit to in 2020 to tell your story more effectively? There’s no point being the best if you’re also the best-kept secret. How will you create more customer intimacy, be more responsive to and interactive with customers and prospects? How can you use social media more effectively to achieve this?
9. What are the three most important new technologies that you need to bring into your business in 2020?
10. You can’t grow your business without growing your people and your team. What training, development or mentoring does each person on your team need to help them grow? How do you commit to grow as a leader and manager in 2020? What new talent, skills or experience must be added to your team to compete successfully in 2020 and beyond?

NOTE: Add a few of your own key questions to these 10. Ask each employee to come up one idea to grow or improve the business next year. Give them a week to come up with their ideas. You’ll be amazed what some of them come up with.