Starting a florist business

If you’re a creative person, perhaps with a qualification in floristry or in an equivalent field, you may feel you’re ready to go it alone. Starting a florist business can be a unique challenge for particular reasons, not least the ephemeral nature of the product you’re selling. Our guide on starting a florist business will help you get your business blooming in no time.

What’s involved in setting up a florist business?

A lovely bunch of blossoms communicates a lot. They mark every important occasion in our lives from birth to death, and carefully crafted arrangements enhance offices and homes throughout the UK. Few things are more thrilling than receiving a gift of flowers, and few things are more enjoyable than giving them. And behind every bouquet there is a skilled and creative person who has thoughtfully arranged them.

But there’s more to setting up a floristry business than throwing together a bunch of flowers and foliage, and beyond the essential creativity and skill, the success of a good florist depends on a solid business plan. A quick search will help you find some useful florist business plan examples that you can help to shape your own.

A business plan functions as your guide, steering your business in the direction you would like to take it. Beyond major floristry companies like InterFlora, the florist industry is largely made up of small businesses, which employ tens of thousands of people in the UK alone. The benefits of being connected to a larger brand are obvious, not least having the resources and network to send flowers to different locations, but also the option to adapt to changing market forces such as where blooms are grown for instance, indeed, there is no shortage of larger florists that prospective business owners can franchise to. There are a number of advantages to becoming a franchisee , not least the chance to adopt a ready-made business model and its ready-made marketing and identity, inherit its suppliers and become part of a network and infrastructure that is supportive in exchange for a fee.

However, with popular tastes erring towards the individual and original, there remain many successful independent florists. These florists either sell directly to passing trade or cater for corporate or private events, functions and parties.

The most successful of these smaller outfits have the support of sound planning and a stable structural underpinning. As well as the available online and free guidance about how to write a business plan, in some regions prospective small businesses and startups can get advice and mentoring from local government enterprise initiatives. A quick search will help you to find out where there’s provision near to you.

Starting a florist business without money

To set up a business that requires a high turnover of stock, or one that you must commit all your time to with no distraction from other employment, it’s probably necessary for you to have some capital behind you. If you have done your homework and you have a solid business plan, you can try approaching banks for a potential loan. But banks needn’t be the only source of funding. If your business model is attractive or unique enough it may be possible for you to attract investors. Be sure to network to draw interest to your proposition, or you could consider crowdfunding your initiative. With crowdfunding it’s usual to offer some kind of return to ‘investors’ although this isn’t necessarily in the form of material goods - it could be you name a type of bouquet after them!

In general unless you’re starting off by selling homegrown daffodils from outside your house and therefore your costs are kept to an absolute minimum, you should be aware that the costs of starting a business can be very high, and your investment isn’t guaranteed to be returned.

When writing your business cash flow forecast , beyond the cost of stock, some of the things to take into account are premises rental, utilities, insurances, business rates, staff, tools and equipment, and of course, your tax and insurance obligations.

Before you make a significant investment in all of these outgoings, be sure to research the area you intend to set up shop in. Is there likely to be enough passing trade or businesses in the area to cater for sufficiently? What’s the competition like? Are your flowers up against more affordable flowers from the nearby supermarket, or are you servicing a niche type of customer? These questions and more will need to be considered when you put together your business plan.

What else do I need to become a florist?

As a florist you’ll need to have strong design skills. Being good with the public is useful too as you may be responsible for furnishing big events such as weddings or funerals with your displays and people can be very emotional on these occasions.

Unless you can afford to pay professionals, you’ll need to feel confident tackling your own marketing and promotion, your accounts and bookkeeping, as well as developing your knowledge of your legal obligations and requirements as an employer. A degree of stamina is helpful too as you’ll be shifting heavy buckets of water with your blooms. If you don’t quite have the business know-how to tackle some of these areas then it might be worth paying professionals to undertake the work on your behalf, if so then this would be another thing to factor into your financial planning. For example, a copywriter with a good knowledge of search engine optimisation, can be indispensable when helping you produce the web content that will help you get your target audience in a particular area to discover you.

Though you can be, it’s not essential for you to be qualified as a florist, though if you feel prepared to set up your own floristry business then doubtless you will have developed your skill over several years already. Floristry classes are available through local education providers and some of these can lead to an NVQ in Floristry, but look out for other opportunities to pick up new floristry training and insight too.

Guarding your business’ future

A huge amount of time, effort and care goes into setting up a business, not to mention the emotional investment you make bringing that idea into reality. That’s why it’s important to look after that investment however you can. Contact us for a small business insurance quote to help guard the future of your business against the impact of possible costly claims.

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