Florabundance News

Tom Bowling 2011 > SHOP CHECK UP

November 21st, 2011

Take a quick look around your store…all the displays are fresh, well stocked and ready to greet your customers – check. All the lights are in working order – check. All the sales staff has been properly trained to handle the customer’s needs –check. All the delivery vehicles have been properly serviced; have been cleaned both inside and out – check. Hard goods have been delivered, unpacked and ready to be used – check. It sounds like everything is in good order and ready for your busy holiday season of business. It is good to make your list and check it twice for many reasons, but the best reason is to maintain efficiency during the busy times. Being disorganized makes the experience frustrating for both the customer and the staff. It is important that your customer’s are efficiently guided through the purchasing process and feel that their time was honored and respected during the season when time is our most valuable commodity. The same can be said in regards to the staff persons at the flowers shop. No one wants to spend needless hours working in circles when there is so much to do outside the work environment. Also, shop owners need to be cognizant that inefficiencies cause additional costs and quickly siphon profits.
Since the design room is the heart of your production, let’s start with a quick examination to see if it is beating efficiently. It’s a quick 3 step examination that requires a minimal amount of time to establish 3 points of interest.
First goal is to have design work produced faster. A production line or assembly line is your best business model to increase the shop’s output. During the holiday season, up to 75% of orders can be produced in this efficient manner. Think about how many centerpieces will be sold this season – some with candles, some without, but most have similar characteristics. They can vary in price, small, medium, and large, but still be produced in a design line and by predetermined recipe. Vase work, floral stylings designed in foam, preparing blank backgrounds of greens and dressing blooming potted plants can all be executed in this fashion. It is important to make sure everyone understands their contribution and they have all the components and tools necessary to execute their part of the design. A good quality control person is important to have at the end to evaluate the design work to make sure it is A+ and reflects the integrity of the shops reputation.
Goal #2 is to work smarter. This translates into working from recipes. Recipe designs can be stylish and best made in multiple price points. Small, medium and large with upgraded materials as the price point increases. There should be a distinctive look between the price points, not just more of the same variety of flowers and foliages. Keep in mind all the component selections; container, foliages, flowers and any trims or accents. All need to be cost efficient and time efficient for maximum output. While Bear Grass woven with colored wire may look attractive, it probably would not be the best choice for production work. Save those bells and whistles for your custom designs where you can charge more for your time and creativity. Check to see what the national wire services are featuring as well. Designing a compliment is a good way to use the national advertising dollars they spend to help feature your in house stylings.
Goal #3 is to make more money. Keep an eye on your cost of goods sold (COGS) to make sure they are not over 33%. If you can get them lower; somewhere between 28% and 30%, you will make even more profit. This is another reason to work from recipes. Double check what goes into each styling and make sure that is all that is being put in. When you overstuff an arrangement, you lose valuable profit dollars. Now do that times the amount of production during the holiday and it can really add up to some serious dollar losses for everyone! No guessing allowed when it comes to pricing. Whether product is sold by the stem, bunch or weight, everyone should know exactly how much to charge for the product.
With a smart check up, this season of selling stands to be your most time and cost efficient ever. Now your biggest challenge just may be what to do with the extra free time and extra profits made by being efficient!

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