Your Floral Quest...Is it a Hobby or a Business?Aug 04, 2021
I’ve got this...right?
When I first started my business I wanted to just design...be creative! I loved flowers, I loved art and my family was entrepreneurial so I thought it would be the perfect combination.
I wasn’t thinking strategically. I mean, did I need to do that? I was making some money and paying the bills.
(A bouquet from my early days circa 1992)
One weekend, my grandfather came into town and my family went over to see him. He was the entrepreneurial giant of our family. He owned several furniture stores, land, and several commercial properties that he managed. He created a legacy that has surpassed his lifetime. As a young child and into my teen years, I always saw him as a bit intimidating, but I still loved listening to him and his wisdom.
On this particular occasion, he looked at me and asked…”Christi, how is the flower business going? Your mom tells me that you are doing well.”
I excitedly told him about all the classes I was taking and how I was loving designing flowers. Gushing about the beautiful blooms we are able to get and the styles I loved to create.
Then, the real questions came…”How are the numbers? Are your sales good? How are you looking to grow it as a business?”
I pretty much just stared at him. I didn’t know any numbers. And I certainly didn’t have a plan about how I was going to grow it! All I knew was that I wanted to be able to have a storefront and sell flowers.
I answered that I didn’t know, but that I thought it was going really well. And, that I was paying all my bills. I looked at my mom as if she could help me...I mean she was my sidekick in this endeavor. She just looked at me and smiled. She knew what was coming…
My grandfather looked at me and said, “Sounds more like a hobby to me? Is this something you are really serious about?”
I am, I said. I was excited about the possibilities of what I could do. It struck me then and there that I wasn’t looking with a plan in mind. I was just loving what I was doing and expecting they would come...the buyers, that is.
I was just creating floral arrangements and hoping they would sell! Hoping that the clients would love it and ask for more. I was depending on them calling me or that I would have an open house in my mom’s house for the holidays where every nook and cranny was decorated so the people that I invited would see potential in spaces for floral designs and want to buy.
What ensued was a transformative time for me in that I started to talk to him more. Pick his brain about what I needed to do to make it a real business. He would guide me and send me encouraging notes (which started a thing for me...I created a “Warm Fuzzy” file folder where I would put handwritten notes I would get from anyone, including clients).
And the one thing he did for me that was the most important, was he would give me space to be intrigued, stretch my mind of what I could do. Not always give me the answers, but ask the right questions for me to go find the answers for myself.
I figured out...
- I need to know how much my profit was going to be on a single floral arrangement.
- I need to know how to forecast what I want for the year, the quarter, the month.
- I need to know how much a wedding is going to cost me, I mean REALLY cost me. Can I do that wedding again if I were paying rent, utilities, labor costs and still make a profit?
- I need to know the strategy that I’m going to use to bring in more clients to my physical/virtual door.
- I need to know how I want my brand to be perceived in the marketplace. How are people going to view my business when they see my logo or land on my website or see my van driving by.
This is what it meant for me to own a business. I was responsible for knowing these things. Not just knowing how to design and that I loved working with flowers.
Working and designing with flowers was just the tip of the iceberg. We all know it’s what’s beneath the iceberg that makes it what it is...the immense strength it has.
This is the part that makes the business run--that part of the iceberg that rests below the surface is much greater than what people see on top of the water.
How big is your iceberg?
Is it solid underneath?
Essentially, are you running a business or just playing with flowers as a hobby?
At the end of the day, we all need some reality moments to have us take a look at what we are doing. Questioning the norms of what we do and how we are growing.
Let’s grow together!
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