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I’ve received some great feedback and questions from readers after my initial post. Several of them gave specific information about their business successes and dilemmas. In the true sense of community, I wanted to share those responses and my suggestions for getting over those hurdles. I am creating a “Beyond the Launch” series that will be generated solely from reader comments. Many of these situations can relate to any industry and I hope that everyone finds some benefit from the posts. If you would like to share your business dilemma to be discussed on the “Beyond the Launch” series, please feel free to comment below. I look forward to hearing from you! Subscribe to my blog here.
Q: Karen writes… “I have been doing floral design for many years and after much prompting from fellow workers in my corporate job, decided to open my own business working from my home. Lady Slipper Creations-Innovative Floral Design is slowly coming together although I have yet to receive any significant orders.”
A: Hi Karen! Here are some of my suggestions….
Have you offered your services to local interior designers? In exchange for including your arrangements in their room designs you could provide a sales commission for the pieces they sell to their clients. I’m not sure what the standard is in the floral or design industry, but a typical gift sales commission is 15-20%. This set-up would also work well with funeral homes wanting to offer their customers permanent floral arrangements for gravestones and “home staging consultants” in the real estate market. Local furniture stores are great opportunities as well – you could even offer the arrangements on consignment to help build exposure in the beginning. Once you have a portfolio and a solid list of customer referrals behind you, try approaching local malls, hospitals, retirement homes, restaurants, etc. about their floral needs.
Also, what are some high traffic areas in your town? Offer to provide an arrangement in exchange for them displaying your business cards in front of the piece. By creating a win-win situation, you make the offer hard to refuse. When they accept your offer, include a “new customer” discount on your business card with a location code on the back. This way, when the cards are redeemed you will know where the lead came from. If all the cards are coming from the beauty shop (for example) then you will know that’s a good place to find your target customer. You can then focus your marketing efforts in that direction.
Your marketing mentions they are great for allergy sufferers….Generate PR by writing a press release titled “Pollen-Free Petals that Pass the Sneeze Test”. Quote yourself as you explain the benefits of faux flowers and submit it to your local newspapers lifestyle editor. Let her know that with the pollen levels in your area going through the roof you thought her readers might enjoy a story about how they can enjoy the beauty of flowers without pushing their allergies over the edge.
Are their “Home Shows” in the area that you can attend or possibly give a workshop on “Care Tips for Faux Flowers” or “Great Display Tips for Going Faux”?
Grow your Business…
Have you contacted wedding planners about their needs for faux flowers? Planners often have tight budgets and are constantly looking for ways to cut costs when needed. Maybe offer some of your arrangements on a rental basis? The planner and bride can have the floral arrangements of their dreams, but without the price tag of fresh flowers. You will have a product that can bring in continual revenue with minimal labor. With the economy tightening, this might be a great time for you to offer this type of “rent a flower” service!
As you start to build a customer base, be on the lookout for ways to gain additional revenue streams…perhaps offer service plans such as monthly cleaning and refreshing of arrangements.
I hope some of these tips prove helpful and I wish you all the best! Let us know how you are coming along!
All the Best,
Heather Nolte is the founder and CEO of www.Glamajama.com. Glamajama creates glam-studded clothing for children- clothing they can wear “from the crib to the catwalk”. The company has been featured on The Today Show, The Early Show, Oprah, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, USA Today, Star Magazine, Parents, and Working Mother with celebrity clients including Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Angela Bassett, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Lisa Rinna, and Jessica Alba. Contact her at [email protected]. (Watch me on CBS News)