Do you want to start a flower shop online? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a flower shop business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample flower shop business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample flower shop marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for flower shops. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a flower shop. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Flower Shop Business Online?
If you have an eye for colours, as well as a penchant for beauty and decoration, then you may want to think about opening your own flower and gift shop. The market for both fresh and artificial flowers has continued to soar from generation to generation.
And it will continue as long as we still have weddings, funerals and other special events taking place all around us. As insignificant as most people think a flower is, it is still a major requirement for weddings (Bouquet for the brides), burial designs (wreath), love gatherings, design and decoration of event centers and even worship centers.
No doubt if you are interested in making brides happy on their wedding day or adding colour to people’s events, then you should consider starting your own flower shop. It is indeed a profitable venture especially if you know how to roll with big-time event and wedding planners.
One beauty about this kind of business is that you can to specialize in either artificial flowers or natural flowers and you can also decide to specialize in both. With natural flowers, you can even start by growing them in a garden in your compound if you have enough space and also you can order your artificial flowers and flower pots directly from the manufacturer at a cheaper rate if you know how to bargain.
Before launching this type of business, it will pay you carry out your market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your flower shop business, it will not take you long before you break even and start smiling to the bank.
So, if you have the desire to start your own flower shop business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped.
Starting a Flower Shop Business Online – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
A flower shop is a place where flowers are retailed. The florist industry or flower shops basically retail cut flowers, floral arrangements, potted plants and artificial flowers. Industry operators purchase these goods from domestic and international flower farms and wholesalers, and then sell them to the general public. This industry excludes operators that primarily function as electronic shopping websites and mail-order companies.
The Florist industry has been on a downward spin over the last five years. Bad economic condition during the recession period reduced disposable income, dissuading households from making discretionary purchases on flowers and plants. So also, intensified competition has worsened declining demand; discounted prices for comparable goods online and in supermarkets have led consumers to buy fewer flowers from traditional flower shops.
The Florist industry is a thriving sector of the economy of the United States which generates well over $60 billion annually from more than 35,343 outlets scattered all around the United States of America. The industry is responsible for the employment of well over 83,208 people. Experts project the florist industry to grow at a 1.4 percent annual rate. No single florist store can boast of having a lion market share in the industry.
The Florist industry has minimal barriers to entry with low start-up capital and no specific licensing requirements. The majority of flower shops operate as non-employers and the cost of establishing retail outlets are not substantial relative to many other retail industries, such as department stores.
On the other hand, the high level of competition and market saturation in a declining industry can prove challenging to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own flower shop business. Most players in the florist industry are small to medium size establishments that cater to the local community.
With this kind of business, if you want to start on a small scale, you can choose to start as a part time business from your home. All you would need are contacts, business cards and your catalogue. However, if you intend starting it as a full-time business, then you should consider renting a shop in an area that is prone to high human and vehicular traffic.
The good thing about ensuring that your flower shop is visible to all is so that people may easily walk into your shop to make inquiries even if they aren’t buying at that moment. With that you will be able to build your potential client list that you can use of for marketing purposes.
The Florist industry will continue to blossom because people will not relent in purchasing flowers for various purposes. Despite the fact that the industry seems over saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own flower shops in the United States of America.
Over and above, the florist industry/flower shop is a profitable industry and it is open to any aspiring entrepreneur to come in and establish his or her business; you can choose to start on a small scale in a street corner like the average mom and pop business or you can chose to start on a large scale with several outlets in key cities.
Starting a Flower Shop Business Online – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who purchase flowers cut across all genders; male and female, people from different religion and ethnicity and people with different financial means hence the demographic composition for flower shop business is all encompassing.
So, if you are thinking of opening your own flower shop business then you should make your target demographics all encompassing. It should include event planners, churches and other religious centers, funeral homes, households, bachelors and spinsters, corporate executives, business people, about to wed couples, expectant mothers, sports men and women, students, tourists, corporate organizations, socialites, celebrities and every adult in the neighborhood where your flower shop will be located.
List of Niche ideas Within the Flower Shop Business That You Can Specialize in
It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to the flower shop business. Every player in this line of business is usually involved in retailing cut flowers, retailing of fresh and artificial flowers, retailing floral arrangements, retailing potted plants and retailing complimentary gift items.
On the other hand, it is important to state that some flower shops may decide to do home delivery of flower purchase. This is applicable to those who have online platform where they market their flowers and other similar products.
The Level of Competition in the Florist Industry cum Flower Shop Business
The competition that exists in the florist industry goes beyond competition between flower shops in same location. You will be expected to compete with gift shops, supermarkets et al that also retail flowers. So, it will be right to say the competition in the florist industry cum flower shop business is tough.
The truth is that, no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you stock your shop with good flowers and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several flower shops scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own flower shop business in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competition from flower shops, gift shops, and supermarkets that also retail flowers within your business location. Besides, there are larger flower shops that determine the trend in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Flower Shop Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time and so are known for that, while others are best known for how they treat their customers.
These are some of the leading flower shops in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Wabash Valley Flower Shop
- Carmel Flower Shop
- Grow With US Florist & Produce
- Swannanoa Flower Shop – Asheville Wedding Florist
- 1st in Flowers!
- Pocahontas Posey Patch Florist
- Prevatte Florist
- Garden Gate Florist & Ghses.
- 1-800-Flowers | Flowerama Ames
- Osteen’s Flowers & Baskets LLC
- Dugger’s Florist & Gifts, LLC
- The Flower Factory
- Mickey’s Flower Shop
- Country Memories Florist
- Dyess AFB Flower Shop
- Reggie’s Flower Shoppe
- Luling House of Flowers
- Sherri’s Floral Shoppe, Inc.
- Yadkin Flower & Gift
- 1-800-Flowers | Flowerama Cedar Falls
The flower shop business is not a green business; as a matter of fact, you will come across several flower shops when you go shopping for flowers and gifts in your neighborhood. So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey of what is required to rent a shop, the amount needed to stock your shop with assorted flowers and gifts and also the cost to successfully run the business.
If you are considering starting a flower shop, your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a shop facility and stocking your store with assorted flowers and gifts, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profit in the business.
Starting Your Flower Shop Business from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing how to start your business. You should be guided by your overall business vision and mission statement.
If you are looking towards starting a flower shop business, you would have to start from the scratch simply because you can hardly get a franchise of a flower shop business to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.
Please note that most of the big and successful flower shops around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own flower shop business brand to become a successful brand with customers scattered all across the length and breadth of the United States of America if you choose to open chains of flower shops all across the United States of America.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Flower Shop Business
If you decide to start your own flower shop business today, one of the major challenges you are likely to face is the presence of well-established flower shops, gift shops, and supermarkets that retail flowers and gift items. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Other challenges and threats that you may face are economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, businesses such as flower shops and the likes usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers. Unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your flower shops. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
Starting a Flower Shop Business Online – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
When considering starting a flower shop business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow.
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability Company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as flower shop. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale flower shop especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start-up capital in a small neighborhood. But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons.
As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and have chains of flower shops all across the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
For example, setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your flower shop business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for a Flower Shop Business
If you are considering starting your own flower shop business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Natures Delight™ Flower Shop, LLC
- Betty Quest Flower & Gifts Store, LLC
- 12 Baskets Flower & Gift Store, Inc.
- The Peoples Florist Store
- Pretty Princess Flower & Gift Store, Inc.
- Temple Gate Flower & Gift Store, Inc.
- Ashely Linda Gifts & Flower Stores, Inc.
- George Paulite Gifts & Flower Store, LLC
- Lilly Rose Florist Stores, Inc.
- Becky Allison Gifts & Flower Store, Inc.
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your flower shop business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own flower shop business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
If you are considering starting your own flower shop business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Flower Shop Business Online?
Aside from the assorted flowers and gifts that are available in your shop per time, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some florists cum flower shop owners stand out. If you want to make an impact in the florist industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards acquiring if you want to run your own flower shop business;
- American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) Certification
- Certified Florist/Certified Floral Designer
Please note that the higher your qualification and experience (expertise), the easier it is for you to attract high profile corporate customers. It is important to state that you can successfully run a flower shop without any professional certification.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Flower Shop Business
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your flower shop business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Health inspection Certificate
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
Financing Your Flower Shop Business
Starting a flower shop business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running a small flower shop in a street corner within your neighborhood. Securing a standard and well-positioned store facility and stocking your shop with assorted flowers and gift items are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start-up capital. If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale flower and gift shop business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first and perhaps major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start-up capital for your flower shop business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
Choosing a Suitable Location for a Flower Shop Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your flower shop, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for the product as well as easy access to wholesale purchasing of assorted flowers and gift items. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your flower shop, it will give people easy access to your shop.
It is important to note that a business facility in a good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for a business such as flower shop business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your flower shop.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your flower shop, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours cannot be ruled out. This is why it is very important to gather as much facts and figures before choosing a location to set up your own flower shop
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your flower shop;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for flowers and other gift items in the location
- The purchasing power of the residence of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The numbers of flower shops, gift shops and supermarkets that also retail flowers in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security
Starting a Flower Shop Business Online – Technical & Manpower Details
On the average, there are no special technologies or equipment needed to run this type of business except for Point of Sales (POS) Machines, shelves, and software applications. You will also need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regard leasing or outright purchase of a shop facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you can go for a long term lease or outright purchase of the property.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard flower and gift shop business, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer/Chief Florist (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Merchandise Manager, Store Manager, Sales and Marketing Officer/Sales Girls and Boys, Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 3 to 6 key staff members to run a small scale but standard flower shop business.
The Business Services Process Involved in a Flower Shop Business
When it comes to buying and selling stuffs, there are no hard and fast rules about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandise manager to help the organization/store stock goods (assorted flowers and gifts). They go out there to source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they do not only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profit, but also ensure that they purchase flowers and gift items that are in demand in their business location.
Once the flowers and gift items are bought, they are properly arranged in the store for customers to see and purchase. On the other hand, they are also expected to wrap and deliver flowers and gift orders made by clients if such services are available in their flower shop.
It is important to state that a flower shop may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated flower shop business process is not cast on stone.
Starting a Flower Shop Business Online – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a flower shop business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well-known brands determining the market direction for the florist industry.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your flower shop business;
- Introduce your flower shop by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to event planners, churches and other religious centers, funeral homes, households, bachelors and spinsters, corporate executives, business people, about to wed couples, expectant mothers, sports men and women, students, tourists, corporate organizations, socialites, celebrities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your flower shop is located.
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across, so that those on the social media or those who read blogs can know where to go when they need to purchase flowers and gift items within your location
- Create a basic website for your business, so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your products
- Engage in road show in targeted communities from time to time to sell your products
- Join local florist cum flower shop owners associations for industry trends and tips
- Provide discount days for your customers
- Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing
One key factor that will help you sell your flowers and other gift items at rock bottom prices is to purchase your items directly from the manufacturers in pretty large quantities. The truth is that the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from the manufacturers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you retail your flowers and gift items at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
Strategies to Boost Your Flower Shop Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a flower shop business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of flower and gifts shops and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is a dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a business that is profitable.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and a create corporate identity for your flower shop;
- Advertise your flower shop in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- List your flower shop in local directories/yellow pages
- Contact event planners, churches and other religious centers, funeral homes, households, bachelors and spinsters, corporate executives, business people, about to wed couples, expectant mothers, sports men and women, students, tourists, corporate organizations, socialites, celebrities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your flower shop is located informing them about your business and the products you retail
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Engage in roadshow from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your flower shop.
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your products
- Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and health magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your flower retail shop is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo.