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How to start a flower shop and flower delivery business – interview

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In this article, I interview Jim Bloom, the owner of a few successful flower delivery shops in New York. Peter owns NYC flowers in the Manhattan area, Queens flowers in Queens, New York and Brooklyn flowers in Brooklyn, New York.
1) How did you get into the flower business?
About 20 years ago I started getting interested in gardening I always wanted to be something to do with flowers about 15 years ago I opened up my first store in Queens New York so history from there.

2) Did you open all your locations at the same time?

My first store was in Queens New York after that we opened up stores all up in the other boroughs Brooklyn and of course Manhattan and then Long Island.

3) What do you recommend anyone getting into the flower business?

Anyone getting into the flower business should be most concerned with how are they going to get new customers they should focus on retail to corporate accounts such as hotels, and other venues as well as event planning weddings and such these are all important.

4) How do you make sure that you have the best flowers?

All of our flowers come from areas very far away. They fly here on special planes with cooling systems to keep them cold once they arrive at airport, they are kept in cold storage untill they arrive to our stores. We make sure to order flowers on a weekly basis to keep our stock moving daily.

5) What was the hardest part of making your business successful?

There’s so many pieces to keep a flower shop successful. You have to worry about your retail. You have to worry about your staff. You have to worry about making sure that you can pay all the other bills that go with owning a business. It’s not very different than anything else the one good part is that you get to enjoy all the beautiful flowers at the end of the day and it smells good.
6) What do you do for marketing your flower shop?
Quality is the best marketing tool. We have the best flowers. People love our work, come back to us, and recommend us to their friends. Other than that, I make sure that my website is discovered when people search online.
We are also a part of the community where we do business. Any time there is a big event, we are present there, provide the most beautiful flower arrangements, people see the flowers, ask where such beautiful arrangements can be made, and take our business card.
7) What would you recommend anyone who wants to open a flower shop?
Be ready to work hard and love flowers. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I still wake up at 5am every day. The flower show will be your life. You better enjoy it.
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It’s All Appening, So Get In The App Business

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The future of business is digital. In fact, the present of business has been digital for a while, too. But more and more are finally getting on the bandwagon and seeing what the online world has to offer their company. There are plenty of fresh businesses being born in the digital age, too. A lot of them use apps to offer their customers a greater online retail experience, or to better organize their workforce, or to better deliver their services. Which means a lot of them need apps from developers just like you.

Photo by AJEL

Have the kind of presence they want

The skills of actually developing and delivering apps are essential, but they’re not the only skills you should have. Marketing is how you deliver the idea of those skills to the customer. If you want your ability to help businesses make their mark on the digital world to be taken seriously, you need a digital presence that can be taken seriously, as well. You need the website, the content, the social media presence, and even the app that shows you know what you’re talking about when it comes to the world of business online. If you’re not willing to invest some time and money in creating an online presence that looks truly professional, people won’t make good assumptions about delivering professional apps for them, either.

Find your market

If you’re having trouble finding your brand or finding customers, then you need to think more closely about the market that you’re going to target. As any guide to selling mobile apps will tell you, one of the best places to start is with the contacts you already have. You need to start building leads, starting with the real partnerships you’ve already formed. From there, look into people who are on your LinkedIn network or following you on social media. These are the people who are already interested and could be the easiest leads to convert. Take it slow working on prospects individually while you continue using tools like search engine optimization and social media marketing to build a steadier flow of inbound attention.

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Stay visible in the industry

Another great way to connect more solidly with certain kinds of leads is to focus on a niche industry. If you’ve worked on developing software solutions for other businesses before, think about the industry they work in and see if you can’t grow a more solid customer base from that industry. If you can get a testimonial from past clients and partners, even getting them to spread a bit of word of mouth amongst members of their industry, it can build roads to leads much faster than you would be able to, yourself. If you have those industries showing a strong base of interest, you need to keep yourself visible. Attend their trade shows, take part in conferences, hook up with them on LinkedIn groups and the like.

Be the solution provider, not the problem thinker

Giving the right message about what exactly you do can be tricky. But there’s a general rule to keep in mind in your marketing campaigns and when you have meetings with potential clients. It is not your job to think of problems that businesses might have that you are able to solve. It’s your job to listen to problems they have, maybe even the bare-bones of a solution they’re thinking of to fix that problem. It’s good to have an idea of what your apps can provide to them, in case they ask. But focus on asking them what they need, not what you can provide. Marketing this on your site can mean providing case studies of past work, leading with what they asked for you and how you delivered. If you start by offering to solutions to problems they’re not thinking of, not only does it show a lack of chemistry between developer and client. It gives the impression that you’re steering your services in that direction because your actual capabilities are limited.

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Keep it simple, stupid

One rule to always remember when talking to new clients is to keep the jargon on the down-low and start off speaking to them in their own terms. This doesn’t mean you have to assume that clients aren’t capable of understanding you. It’s about learning that effective communication means finding a shared language. Too many software and app developers pay too little mind to how well they’re being understood. If a client doesn’t understand what you’re doing for them, how can they be happy with it?

The ‘everyone wins’ pricing strategy

Developing an app is more than the delivery of a product. It should include ongoing support, open lines of communication, and regular reporting on progress. There are different levels of that service you can offer to appeal to a broad market. Small companies might not be able to invest in such a thorough process, so your pricing strategy should reflect different levels of service you’re able to offer. Whether this means throwing a pricing page with different packages on the site or offering a quote based on conversations with potential clients, flexibility lets everyone win out on a deal.

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Keep adding value

Keeping clients sweet is important. That’s why you should make sure that you have an ongoing relationship with them even when ‘app 1.0’ is complete and shipped off. For instance, the higher price packages or extra post-complete services can offer compatibility updates, ensuring that your clients’ apps will stay supported even after you’re done working with them. You can go even further, promising that their app will never be obsolete even if your business for some reason is unable to work on it. You can do that with escrow services that allow you to share the source code with them in the event you’re no longer in business. But it doesn’t share that code too soon, so you’re not giving away the tricks of the trade that allow you to produce such professional work.

Hopefully, the tips above give you the focus you need to start getting those coding digits typing away. If you have the business and people skills to go along with the software development, then there’s plenty of money to be made in the world of B2B app-selling.

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Train Yourself To Market Your Business Properly

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(Image link: http://bit.ly/2mmrfHt)

Many business owners spend a fortune on marketing & advertising. It’s understandable, after all, you need to promote your company as best as you can, and get it seen by so many people. The main issue is that they don’t know how to market their business, and have to hire lots of help.

However, you can save a load of money if you learned how to market your business properly. So, instead of paying for someone to do it for you, why don’t you try and train yourself? Here are a few ideas that can help you do just that:

Visit Marketing Websites

The easiest way you can train yourself to be a better marketer is by viewing loads of websites online. Bookmark a host of marketing sites that provide you with tips and tricks on how to improve the way you market your business. If you use Google Chrome, then some sites even let you allow notifications for updates. So, you could be browsing the web and get a notification of a new marketing post for you to read. The good thing about getting info online is you can usually find stuff that’s easy to digest and not too technical or complex.

Listen To Podcasts

Another way you can consume free marketing knowledge is by listening to experts talk about the industry on podcasts. Find yourself a marketing talk show podcast with great advice that you can listen to whenever you have a moment to spare. Podcasts are great for learning new things as good ones will cover a whole range of topics and include different views from different experts. Plus, they’re so easy to consume – pop one on when you’re in the car driving somewhere, or replace your music with a podcast when you’re in the shower.

(Image credit: http://bit.ly/2mmkXHU)

Watch Instructional Videos

You may not realize this, but YouTube is an exceptional way to gain marketing knowledge. There are loads of instructional videos or tutorials explaining certain aspects of marketing like SEO or email campaigns, etc. What’s great about watching videos is they’re easier for you to understand as the person talking can demonstrate actions for you. Also, a nice little bonus of YouTube videos is the comment section. No doubt it will be full of marketers sharing ideas relating to the topic of the video. So, it’s a great place to ask a question and get lots of advice.

Go On Courses

If you want to be a bit more proactive and spend some money, you can always go on marketing courses. A quick look online and you should be able to find all manner of courses in your area. Sometimes, there are ones you can complete online at home too. A course will help you learn more about business marketing and teach you how to apply your knowledge in the real world. This is a good idea for someone that’s serious about marketing their business and wants proper technical training.

Train yourself to be a better marketer and take control of your business’s marketing strategy. Now, you’ll spend less money, meaning you have leftover cash to put to good use.

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In Business, You Should Never Be Reliant

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Not business is an island, out there alone on the sea of the economy. There are systems you’re apart of, businesses with whom you have a mutual understanding and common cause. You’re a small player, no matter how successful you are, in a game much bigger than yourself. Together, the economy is bigger than the sum of its parts. Still, that doesn’t mean you should go too far in the other direction, and neglect to see yourself as a business that stands on its two feet. You should never become too reliant on anything else, be it another company, system, or star player. Here are a few of the pitfalls to watch out for.

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Source: Pexels.com

That One Customer

Now, we all know how exciting it can be to receive that one big order that pushes you into the next level of business. After toiling away for several years, your hard work is beginning to pay off and you’re finally beginning to post some serious numbers in the profits box of your accounts. Well done! Nothing too bad in that, on paper at least. But you should be wary of putting all your eggs in one basket. If you stop putting in the necessary level of effort for your other smaller projects, or stop going after them altogether, then you’re setting yourself up for a fall. What if your one lucrative client accounts for 30% of your revenue initially, but soon down the line they’re accounting for 50%, and then more? You’ll be in trouble should they decide to pull out and you haven’t got any more clients lined up to replace their orders. No matter how attractive a client is (and some will be: Google? Yes please!), you should never be a subsidiary of them.

Keeping Things Small

Consequently, you should try to keep your contracts small but plentiful, especially in the early days. If you land one big order before you’ve got the systems in place to handle that order and go after new clients, then you’ll be in over your head. You might do that one job really well, which will lead to other clients down the line, but you’ll most likely be limiting yourself too much if you stick to just one. Grow organically, naturally. If a client feels like it’d be too much of a step up then it probably is, and may do you more harm than good in the long run.

Your Infrastructure

It’s not just clients that you can be too reliant on. You can also be too reliant on the systems that allow you to do your job. For example, if there’s a piece of licensed software that becomes indispensable to your business, then what happens if the software company goes out of business and no longer provides the software? If this sounds like it might be a concern, you should solicit software escrow services, which would enable you access to the source code should they go under. Similarly, take another look at where your important documents are. Are they on a hard drive? What would you be able to do if that hard drive failed (and eventually, it will)? You should look at cloud storage. Even then, be careful: some people do wake up to find their cloud storage accounts deleted for some perceived breach of the terms and conditions. It’s best to back up everything, over multiple platforms and devices.

Marketing

There are too many companies out there who treat Facebook and the rest of the social media big players as one of their only ways of marketing to new people. This is fine for now – social media is a terrific way to get the word out. But never forget that these systems will one day be obsolete. Facebook won’t be here forever, no matter how confident you might think otherwise. You should always be exploring new ways to market your product or service. Keep it diverse: a video here, Facebook post there, a blog and newsletter, and so on. If you build up a strong Facebook following only for your account to be deleted, then you’ll have many other tools to fall back on. Don’t put your success in the hands of just one giant corporation!

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Source: Pexels.com

That One Genius Employee

Everything we’ve talked about so far has been mostly about external factors. But there are a few internal considerations you should bear in mind too. This applies especially to those companies who are more reliant on one employee delivering the goods than they should. Instead, you should build systems within your company that play to the strengths of your MVP, but which would also be able to manage should he or she depart. Think of it like a sports team. An OK team with a star player may challenge for all the big titles, but the second that star leaves they’ll quickly start sliding down. A great team with a superstar player, meanwhile, will still be great after the player leaves.

Things Staying the Same

Things are going well, the economy is ticking over nicely, the whole country seems to be in a state of perpetual happiness. This echoes back to the boom years of the nineties. And what happened after that? Everything fell apart, and too many businesses were ill equipped to deal with the massive downturn of fortunes. Never, ever take for granted that the way things are now are the way things will be forever. Innovation is happening far too quickly for things to stay the same for any significant period of time. Have plans, be adaptable and open to change, and be quick to react to changes in the atmosphere.

Play the Game

Essentially, running a business is akin to “playing the game”. There are frameworks you have to work within, but there’s still plenty of room for autonomy. The only thing your company should be reliant on is its success; it’s up to you to set it up so that it’s able to achieve this as independently from other factors as possible.

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Why Every Business Owner Should Hire Advisors

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No-one is an expert on all things business related. Even the biggest entrepreneurs have got to where they are by paying for advice along the way. Here are a few ways in which you can use professional advisors to better your business.

Understanding legislation

Every business has to abide by laws. But the legal system can be complex. For big steps along the way such as initially registering your business, hiring your first staff or selling your business, it’s good to have a lawyer or legal advisor that can guide you along the way. Specific areas may have their own specific legal advisors. Companies like Byrdadatto exist specifically for the healthcare sector. Similarly you’ll find business lawyers in areas such as finance, marketing and HR. Invest in these where you are unsure of the rules to avoid accidentally breaking the law.

Saving you money

Cutting costs means more profit. Financial advisors can inform you of various ways to lower the costs of your business. This could include expenses that you didn’t know you could declare, cheaper tools and services that you could be using and insurance schemes that could be more profitable.

Independent financial advisors are easy to find, although you’re best using a comparison site such as Unbiased to find one that’s reliable and tailored to your business. Always read testimonials and ask about their previous clients, so that you know you’re working with an expert. Many accountants may also be able to double-up as financial advisors.

Identifying risks

Advisors can be very useful for identifying risks of all kinds so that you can act on them quickly and nip any problems early in the bud. When moving into a new office, hiring a building surveyor may notify you of any structural damage that may need to be repaired later down the line. Health and safety advisors meanwhile may be able to help you plan an effective fire escape plan as well as notifying you of any risks in your office such as sharp objects or asbestos that could injure any employee or at the very least result in a lawsuit. Security advisors meanwhile might be able to advise you on how to protect your business from burglars, whilst IT consultants can prevent viruses, bugs and hacks, allowing your digital workflow to remain undisturbed.

Saving time

Some jobs can require a lot of painstaking research, in which case hiring an advisor can speed up the process so that you can come to an informed decision quicker. Insurance brokers for example may be able to find your business the best insurance scheme, rather than you having to spend hours shopping around on various insurance sites. When entering a foreign market, a foreign advisor might be able to tell you of the best way to market your product to their standards without you having to read up on customs yourself. By saving time, your business can focus on the more pressing tasks at hand.

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Helping Your Small Business Compete With The Big Players

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It can often feel like your business has no hope when there are other larger companies in your field. But it’s not the time to give up. In fact, you could be the company others are talking about in years to come. However, there are some things you should do if you want to stand out alongside the big boys. Therefore, here are some ways you can help your small business compete with the big players.

Make your price competitive

You need to firstly work on the price if you want to ensure you can stand out from everyone else. Decide what the most competitive price you can go to is without leaving you short. If you do go for a great price for your work, you are bound to find clients flocking to you. And the more work you do, the more chance of further work and recommendations. And as you become more known on the block, you can start increasing your prices. After all, you will have more experience and will be able to offer a better price. But for now, start small to ensure you are an attractive company to clients.

Work on your marketing

If you want a shot at standing alongside the big boys, you need to make sure you work on your marketing. After all, this is going to bring the work to you in the long-run. And it will make sure your name is on everyone’s lips before the year is out. You can attempt to do the marketing yourself if you are short on cash. Just work out a plan on how you are planning to start the marketing. And remember that marketing online is just as important nowadays to make your business a success. In fact, all of the big players will have a good digital marketing strategy in place. Therefore, ensure you spend time on this to ensure your message gets relayed to clients worldwide. And if you are struggling to find a chance to work on things like marketing and advertising, it would be a good idea to get someone on board to deal with this. Therefore, you can concentrate on making your product or service work while they get everyone to know about you.

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Show up to all the big events

It can be a challenge to make yourself known in the world of business. After all, it’s likely the big players will dismiss you as another new startup which will fall short in due course. To make them aware of you, you need to make sure you are showing up to key dates in your industry. For example, trade shows are essential if you want to get your business on the map. As well as meeting the key players, it’s an excellent way to meet potential new clients. And it’s also worth going to networking events so you can get your name known. And don’t be afraid to hold your own product launch for your company. After all, it’s a great way to get your company out there, and it may prove a great opportunity for media coverage.

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And remember that if you want your business to compete with the big players, you need your idea to be unique. Bring someone new to the market which gets other companies nervous and makes clients excited.

 

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Get A Thunder Of Feet To Your Business

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If you’re running a high street business or any type of company that functions in the real world, you need to think about foot traffic. Foot traffic is, perhaps obviously, the number of visitors that you get to your business address. For shops and commercial companies that rely on clients walking through the doors, foot traffic is essential. As such, you do need to look at ways to encourage foot traffic and hear the thunder of approaching feet near your store. There are lots of ways to do this but let’s start off online.

Local SEO

First, we need to think about local SEO because you can use web optimisation to make sure you get visitors to your site nearby your location. You can do this by using regional words and identifiers on your site with the help of a professional marketer. There are also a lot of cool local SEO tools and resources to use as well. For instance, you can set up a profile on Google Business. With Google Business, it is possible to make sure that when customers are nearby they find your company.

When setting up local SEO you probably do want to check out mobile website optimization. You want to make sure that your site is viewable on mobile devices for one key reason. Around forty percent of internet users are on mobile devices. And, that percentage is probably a lot higher for local companies.

Make A Splash

You should also think about dressing up the outside of your company. You can do this with different signs, banners and marketing materials. For instance, if your business is in a little known area you can use signs that have directions pointing to the path towards your company. If you’re looking into fabric banner printing think about images that are aesthetically pleasing. For instance, a car seller might use a fabric banner with a complete image of a car. This could take up an entire wall of a building and will attract a lot of interest from passers by. The bolder the image, the better the effect will be.

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There are lots of different types of marketing materials that you can use like this. It’s all about selecting the ones that you think will have the greatest effect. For instance, if you want to attract customers from far away, you may want to add some flags to your building. When these blow in the wind they will certainly be eye catching.

Renovate

Finally, you may want to think about renovating your business building. By doing this you can make it look new fresh and exciting. You can even add some new decorations outside and make it a place that draws people’s interest. Don’t forget, that customers are always going to be excited by companies that look modern and fresh. An image like this suggests you’re selling products that they would be crazy not to buy.

We hope you see now how easy it is to increase business foot traffic. With a little imagination and a lot of hard work, you can double your customer numbers.

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How To Build A Healthier, Safer and Stronger Business

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As a business owner, making sure your business is safe for all your employees should be one of your number one concerns. If you don’t do this, not only do you put them at risk, you put the entire company at risk as well. While every business has very stringent policies that they are supposed to follow, it’s amazing the number that still cast these to one side. It’s only when disaster strikes do they sit up and take notice. Insurance is important for giving you peace of mind, so you should make sure you have appropriate public liability cover. As the old saying goes: prevention is better than the cure. So, take a look at these simple ways of making your business safer.

Manual Handling

A huge number of workplace injuries are caused by manual handling, which covers everything including lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling objects. Everyone should go through proper training to make sure that they are well versed in the correct ways to do all of these things. A lot of injuries are caused by trips, so just keeping the floor free of any debris will go a long way towards preventing accidents.

Overloaded Shelves

Something as simple as stacking too much on a shelf can cause injury as people try to get things down. While you will have a couple of designated health and safety officers in the office, it should be the responsibility of everyone in the office to make sure that everything is kept in order. All staff should have regular safety briefings so they understand their responsibilities to themselves and others.

Fire and Evacuation

As well as having dedicated fire officers and clearly marked emergency exits, there should be a designated spot where everyone meets in the event of a fire. It is likely that you will be required to have a certain number of fire drills every year, but you may want to hold these more often so people are fully aware what they need to do. Though they may seem boring to some, they can end up being life saving.

First Aid

As a minimum it is required that you have a well stocked first aid box, an appointed person who is in charge and clear information distributed out to all employees. As a responsible employer, you may want to go beyond this by having all your employees go on a first aid course. If an illness or accident occurs, your whole team will then be in the best position to handle any problems.

Keep Up To Date

Health and safety practices change all the time, so you should always keep on top of these and make any adjustments to your business that you need to. As well as this, your business is constantly changing, and you need to think about any additional risks that have been added. As your team grows, so do the risks. Be prepared to adapt and change and your business will be in a strong health and safety position.

 

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“Eventuality”: Promoting Your Event

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Pic: publicdomainpictures.net

Promoting any event requires a lot of pre-planning. Whether it’s a live event, or a trade show, or you run a business organizing speed dating, the basics are the same, you need the marketing campaign to run along the right grooves, and you need to get enough people to fill the event so it becomes a profitable affair. But with the amount of modern tools to get people to events, do we even need to worry about attendance anymore? In short, yes.

The pre-production stage of any live event is all in the best few marketing methods available. Many companies would wage out an all-over attack on the senses by getting their promotional materials onto as many different platforms as they can. This can cause a sense of annoyance for the casual customer seeing the same ads pop up on their newsfeed, and can turn them off the event. By choosing just a few select channels to promote your event, and to the right target markets, it will prove to be a more effective approach in the localities of where the event is due to take place.

The supplementary materials for promotion can help to gather interest because of the personality it gives you. A video or vlog are a dime a dozen, but it’s an essential part of promoting a live event now. Even theatre productions have online trailers, which is mixing the message across different platforms. If you work with local sponsors, this can be a good way to get some funding to create a better quality of promotional material. But you can always take the rustic approach and work on a poster design or two. Using poster maker software now means that even the least artistically inclined among us can knock out a poster that carries some swag, and with the amount of online promotional materials, it is refreshing to see something in the flesh on occasion!

Marketing the event on the day itself is a totally different beast to the build-up prior. This is where your marketing campaign has to go into overdrive and the tweets need to be flying out thick and fast, and social media has become such a fantastic tool for real-time updates, making an event hashtag and adding photos and videos adds to the anticipation for an event. While you may be in overdrive getting your event ready at the last minute, there are programs like Hootsuite you can use to schedule your social media updates. As much as an event is about being there in person, there could be many that are unable to attend but are able to view it via their phones, which is why live streaming is such a popular method to take now, so if you are looking low in numbers on the day, you may make up for it by having people view it online. Although the feeling of a live event is totally dissimilar to viewing it on a computer screen, that obstacle can be overcome somewhat by having a team film the event to a high standard.

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Los Angeles based SEO consultant and agency

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I recently worked with a client who ran an SEO agency in Los Angeles. We talked about how to promote such a business, and I wanted to share some of the tips in this blog post.

Take a look at their website so you can follow along with my points on it.

What I like about the site is that they practice what they preach, and themselves do SEO and content marketing on their site. What I would have liked though is a slightly less magazine feel to the site, and a slightly more emphasis on them as an agency for hire.

If the site was positioned more as a direct agency or consultancy, it would have made sense to add more social proof to the home page, case studies, and other things to build authority for them as the best SEO agency or consultancy in Los Angeles.

What I would also suggest doing is focusing on local Los Angeles area search through Yelp, Google Business and local map, YellowPages.com, other local listing websites, YouTube marketing and YouTube SEO. You could also create a local meetup group for small business owners and teach them about SEO. Once you teach them, many people will realize that they can’t or don’t want to do it on their own, and they will want to hire you to do their SEO for them. Events can be a great way to collect payment revenue for attendance and at the same time have the attendees become leads for your SEO business.

Lastly, you must to linkbuilding for your website, and make it more authoritative in Google so that it ranks higher in Google search. Some popular ways to build links are asking business contacts, networking within your topic area and with other small business owners online and bloggers, appearing on podcasts (try radioguestlist.com) because someotimes the podcasts have a show notes page on their blog from which they can link to your site, and answering HARO (help a reporter out) queries. A pro move to build links is to befriend a journalist or an article writer so that they can link to your site whenever the opportunity presents itself. If you run events, you can post the links to your event pages that are on your site on the event websites, and get links that way as well.

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