6 Steps for Starting a Floral Business
Roses are red, violets are blue. You’re a savvy business owner, and a talented one too. When it comes to starting a business, you want to make sure to choose a profitable industry. The U.S. floral gifting market is projected to about $16 billion in revenues by 2023, so there is plenty of money to be made in selling pretty blooms. But before you dive into arranging your first bouquet, you’ll want to brush up on these six steps that will teach you how to start a floral business.
How to Start a Floral Business in 6 Steps
Starting your own floral business can be a challenge, but it’s one you can tackle if you have the right tools and knowledge at your disposal. While it can be tempting to dive right in and begin focusing on whether peonies or poppies are the right choice, you should take some time to really plan for success.
You can learn how to start your own floral business by reviewing the following six steps, all of which are designed to help you stay on track. Not to mention, they’ll help you cover your bases legally, logistically, and marketing-wise.
Step 1: Write a Business Plan
When you dreamed of starting your own floral business, chances are your head was swimming with images of brightly hued orchids and sweet-smelling jasmine, not technical business plans. Writing a business plan won’t be the most fun aspect of starting your business, but it can be one of the most important steps you’ll take. This process gives you a chance to combine your analytical and creative skills. Taking the time to write a business plan at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey can be invaluable, but even if you’ve already launched your business, it is worth circling back to create a business plan.
The floral market is a saturated one, so you’ll need to make sure there is demand for your business. Crafting a business plan—specifically the market analysis portion—will help you determine whether there is a need for your business, while also scoping out your competition to see how you can offer better services.
Your business plan should create a concrete roadmap of how you’ll take your business from a concept to a real—and profitable—operation. Not only will you benefit from the guidance a business plan can provide, but it can also help illustrate your value to potential partners, lenders, or investors. A business plan is an ideal way to introduce important aspects of your business to other key players in your entrepreneurial journey. If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of creating a business plan from scratch, utilize a business plan template or business plan software.
Choose Your Business Name
Carve out some time to find a catchy business name that is memorable and feels on-brand for your floral business. You’ll want to have a few potential name options at the ready because you’ll need to double-check which ones are actually available to you.
Before you order that bulk pack of business cards, you should confirm that your business name is available for use through your secretary of state’s website. You can also do a quick Google or trademark search to ensure your business name is not already in use. If your name is free and clear, hop to it and secure your domain name and social media handles before another savvy entrepreneur snaps them up.
Choose Your Business Entity
During the process of writing a business plan, you’ll choose a legal structure for your business. The tax and legal ramifications of choosing a business entity are not something to take lightly, so weigh the pros and cons of your options before making a decision. A few of the more common forms of business entities are sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.
If you’re unsure which business structure is the right fit for your floral business, you can consult a business attorney or a tax expert. While those upfront costs may sting, hiring a professional can help save you stress, and money, down the road. Once you’ve chosen your business entity, make sure you register your floral business with the proper federal and state agencies.
Define the Products and Services You’ll Offer
There are an array of different products and services a floral business can offer. You could focus on making bulk arrangements for events such as weddings, funerals, or parties. Or you could provide bouquets that locals can pick up on their way home from work, alongside floral accessories like corsages. Perhaps you don’t want a storefront at all, but instead, want to start a home-based floral business with a delivery service. Consider your options and then carefully define exactly what products you plan to sell or what services you intend to offer. Identify what needs you’re filling in your market while you’re at it.
After you wrap up your business plan, you can reference back to it while you learn how to start a florist business from home or from a storefront.
Step 2: Obtain Necessary Licenses, Permits, and Insurance
When you start your floral business, you need to make sure you’re obtaining any necessary insurance policies, permits, or business licenses that both your local and federal government require. If you’re unsure of where to start this process, the SBA and your local chamber of commerce have some helpful resources.
If you plan to hire employees, you’ll want to get your hands on an employer identification number (EIN), which is required for tax purposes. There are some benefits of getting an EIN that are worth considering even if you don’t plan to hire in the near future. In regards to business insurance, get ready to review your options for workers compensation, unemployment, disability, general liability, and commercial property coverage.
Step 3: Determine Where to Sell Your Flowers
Depending on what type of floral business you decide to start, you may need a venue for selling your flowers. If you plan to open a brick-and-mortar business, you can sell your wares out of that location; however, starting a florist business from home means you’ll need to get more creative.
You can, of course, utilize an ecommerce platform to sell your flowers online. You can also sell floral arrangements, or flowers for DIY arranging, at a local farmers market or crafts fair too. Point being, you have a variety of options and you’ll want to consider them all carefully.
Step 4: Get Your Hands on Small Business Funding
If you need a little help in the finance department, don’t let that get in the way of starting your dream floral business. The following funding options may be available to you and are worth considering.
- Business lines of credit are more flexible than a standard business loan and give you a set amount of money that you only draw from as you need it, which can save you on interest payments.
- Business credit cards can be more attainable than a loan. A 0% intro APR credit card is ideal, as it is akin to having an interest-free loan, as long as you pay off your balance before the introductory offer is over and a variable APR sets in.
- Startup funding options like SBA microloans, business grants, or crowdfunding can get you some of the funding you need.
Once your floral business is really rolling, you’ll want to keep your personal and business finances separate from each other by opening a business bank account. You can also obtain an accounting software program to help manage your business financials if you’re not ready to hire a professional accountant.
Step 5: Find and Organize Necessary Floral Supplies
Flowers can be pretty pricey, so if you want to profit off them, you’ll need to find a wholesale supplier, not just for the actual flowers you’ll sell, but for all of your required supplies. Buying in bulk from a wholesale supplier is one of the best ways to save money on supplies.
Some floral business supplies you might need are:
- Vases and ribbons
- Clippers, scissors, and wire cutters
- Delivery vehicles
- Floral tape and foam
Once you’re ready to place orders for supplies, consider how much inventory you will need and how you plan to keep it organized. An inventory management app can help you keep your supplies organized.
Step 6: Market Your Floral Business
You’ve built your business and your brand—now, it’s time to develop a plan for how you’ll find customers.
Start by defining your unique selling proposition—what sets your business apart from other florists in the area? Do you have the most affordable prices? Can you handle servicing large events like weddings? Is your delivery time faster than all of your competitors? Do you offer flowers no one else does? Make sure your customers are aware of the advantages of choosing your business.
If you’re looking for an affordable place to start your marketing efforts, turn toward social media. Create an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and maybe a Pinterest account to share your floral designs and also give your potential customers important information about your business, like your location, hours of operation, contact information, and more. You can also take advantage of having a captive audience to share your latest product launches, coupons, and other promotions.
The Bottom Line
With the right amount of passion and a touch of style, you can build a floral empire that will knock the socks off your happy customers. Success can be achieved in many ways, but by taking the time to write a great business plan, get your legal ducks in a row, and create a killer marketing plan, you’ll put your floral business on the fast track to success.