QUESTION ON Starting a Home Based Flower Shop
I opened a flower and bouquet shop in my home. I have sent out newsletters, cards brochures, and coupons through the mail. So far nothing is working. I even tried a web site but I can not get it to publish and the web site company doesn’t help me. I have spent too much money and time to give up on this but we are drowning. I desperately need some help. Please give me some ideas or help if you can. The biggest reason we run the shop from our home is I can not afford to get a space for my shop. The spaces here in Colorado are outrageous. Hope to hear from you soon. If you want to see a sample of what I send out give me your address and I will send you some if you are interested.
Advice by Nach Maravilla
Don’t despair. It is always hard in the beginning and it is even harder when you are running out of funds. My former boss started selling a pail of roses, standing out in the middle of one street corner in Los Angeles, CA and sold his first rose bud for $1.50. His dream was to become the McDonalds of flowers. His capital was $500.00- money intended for his school tuition. With sheer determination, dedication, a lot of sacrifice — the business now has over 2,500 franchises all over the United States.
You are doing the right thing to promote your shop — e.g. newsletters, fliers, brochures, and mailing coupons. But, these does not really guarantee you immediate results. These takes time. If you are running low on funds, try telemarketing from your home phone. Give your friends some courtesy or “How Are You” calls. Then inject your business into the conversation. Ask them to drop by your shop, just for checking it out. Tell them you need advise on the set-up of the shop. Try to arouse curiosity. For some of your closer friends, ask them to help you promote your shop to their friends.
Visit some business establishments whose owners or managers you know. Ask permission to place your business cards in their counters or wherever, you feel their customers can get a glimpse and pick up one. Make cold calls to offices and leave a business card with receptionists, secretaries and whoever you meet in those buildings.
It really does not matter that your shop is at home. Get that complex out of your mind. Always think that you are better off than anybody else who maintains a shop downtown because you are not paying rent. Imagine, if you rent a space at the mall, say, $1,000 a month –how much sales you must have to make just to cover the rent? While at home–everything you sell goes back to your business. Besides, once people become aware of your business, they will come to you or call you every time they need flowers. The name you have chosen for your business portrays some kind of unique flower or arrangement which arouses curiosity and I believe it can work well for you.
However, you need to get your website up and running. More importantly, find someone who can help you make your website accessible to the search engines. Be sure to make the site optimized for local search, starting with a listing in Google Maps (through Google Places).
Join civic clubs and organizations in your area. If you have religious affiliation, join one of the groups that they have in church. Then keep on promoting your shop by word of mouth and business card distribution.
For your kind of business, it really requires exposure. Think of promotional activities for every special occasion that you can think of including National Holidays. Flowers instead of Fireworks on July 4th can create a new take on the celebration. Think about the other events and create a unique approach. People will always react to new kinds of presentation.
Also read the article Starting a Florist Shop Business and How to Market a New Local Business on a Shoestring Budget for more ideas on how to market your flower shop.
Nach M Maravilla
Recommended Resources on How to Operate a Flower Shop
- How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Florist and Floral Business Both Online and Off: With Companion CD – ROM
- The Flower Shop: Charm, Grace, Beauty & Tenderness in a Commercial Context
- Nobody to Somebody in 63 Days or Less – The Ultimate Guide to Business Networking and Word of Mouth Advertising
- The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing: How to Trigger Exponential Sales Through Runaway Word of Mouth
Article originally published in May 2002. Updated March 3, 2012