Do you know your dahlias from your delphiniums and your carnations from your chrysanthemums? Ever thought about turning your flair for flowers into a budding business?
So far in our “How to start a” series we have discussed the intricacies of starting a range of businesses including a starting a B&B, a bookstore business and a warehouse business and this week in honour of summer (well, what’s left of it!), we have decided to examine how to start a florist’s shop!
At this point it would be wise to consider:
What type of florist do you want to set up? Will you focus on supplying to events such as weddings or will you rely on passing trade? Perhaps you plan to do a mixture of both?
Where will your florist be located? If you will be relying on passing trade a high street location may be essential, but if not would somewhere less prominent with lower bid-rent suffice?
Do you plan to be a completely independent business or work as a franchise of a company such as Interflora? What are the potential pros and cons of this?
Is there a need for another florist in the area you plan to locate? Are there any florists currently operating close by? Remember that most supermarkets now offer a wide range of floral displays.
Who will your main competitors be? How much do they charge? How busy are they?
Are there any other locations where you could sell your flowers i.e. markets or wedding fairs?
What will your florist’s shop be able to offer to make it stand out from the competition? Unique designs/unusual species etc.
Is the business likely to suffer from seasonality? If you are supplying to weddings you will certainly notice a slump during the winter months, how do you plan to keep your business ticking over during these times?
Do you currently have all the necessary skills to run the business? Do you have any experience of flower arranging? Will you need to complete any additional training?
Customers’ tastes in flowers are changing all the time, so how do you plan to keep up to date with contemporary trends?
Where will you source your flowers from? Do you have knowledge of the seasonal variations in produce that will be available? How will these changes affect the business?
Do you plan to offer a flower delivery service?
Do you plan to trade only from your shop or is there potential for a website and online ordering system?
Are there any grants or start-up business grants available where you live to support your business?
Planning and Development
If your market research is coming up roses then it’s time to start pruning your idea into a profitable business model.
Have you written a business plan? If not, is there anyone that could help you with it ?
Have you found a premises for your florist’s shop? Does it fit your requirements? Is there easy access for deliveries/dispatches? Does it have enough space for displays, storage and preparations?
Will you be able to have on-street displays to encourage passing customers?
If you will rely on passing trade, does the surrounding area get good footfall ?
If you plan to have a dedicated website who will create and maintain it for you? How much will this cost?
If you plan to deliver flowers how will you do this? Will you need to purchase a vehicle? How much will this cost?
Think about the equipment you will need for the store; a till, floral display units, refrigeration equipment, a computer?
Will you need to hire anyone else to assist you e.g. a delivery driver or customer service assistant? How much will you need to pay them? How do you plan to recruit them?
Do you plan to work full time in the florists from the get-go or will you begin part-time?
Think about what kinds of businesses in your area require a regular supply of flowers e.g. hotels, restaurants etc, how could you best establish a professional relationship with these businesses?
Do you have any existing contacts within the area that could assist you with getting started?
What are you going to call your florist’s shop? Remember to consider who your target market is - a catchy play on words is fine to attract passing trade but may not be appropriate for supplying to funerals.