If you own your own florists shop, or help manage one, then you probably struggle with some very common small business issues, mainly:
• how to get everything done without losing the plot
• how to make a tidy profit while you’re at it.
These issues relate to the idea of florists wanting to “grow your business”. If your business grows in a healthy way, you would suppose, then you’d be able to hire staff to help and you’d be able to sell enough flowers to make that cash register sing (or Eftpos machine, if you will).
2. The Rock Star Florist ModelI would hazard a guess that, when it comes time to do the actual work involved, so-called “right-brained thinkers” (creative, big picture, intuitive) will resonate more with the Rock Star Florist Model, whereas “left-brained thinkers” (analytical, systematic, detail orientated) will generally be attracted to the McFlorists Model. This is a gross generalisation though, I should point out.I would also hazard another gross generalisation and guess that most florists are “right brainers” but in order not to peak to early, I am going to concentrate today on the McFlorists Model, and get to the Rock Star fun next week.
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Would You Like Foliage With That?
We’d all like to have loads of money and run a really successful business right? OK, maybe not everyone sits up at night dreaming and scheming, some of us just want to work for ourselves and keep the pressure to a minimum. Trouble is – there’s sometimes nothing more stressful than having a small, moderately successful business.
It’s nice to have customers, but if you are working all hours running the show yourself and barely covering expenses let alone being able to pay staff to ease the workload then (I am guessing) this is not less stressful than running a bigger business. Even if running a bigger show does mean introducing some scary things like increased debt – how bad can it get? Whether you’ve borrowed 10 thousand dollars or 1 million, you can only fail as much as anyone else – bankrupt.
The fact is we live in a meritocracy and if we don’t get out there and sell something efficiently then (unless Mumsy is loaded) we are going to have to endure the stress of struggling to make ends meet. So because of this, various clever people have come up with systems and methods to help you grow your business and rise above the boring things like how to find enough time and wondering if there’s going to be enough left over at the end of the year to take the kids on holidays.
The McFlorists Model Explained
And so to the McFlorists Model – this model is all-pervasive and is spelled out particularly well in the very popular book The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. It’s all about creating systems so that eventually (in theory) the business owner removes him or herself from the day-to-day running of the business nitty-gritty and instead works “on” the business instead of “in” it. An example of what this might mean is instead of personally setting up the shop in the morning, you systemise how it is to be done and get an employee to do it (your way) while you have a long hot bath and read the paper.
No! That was a joke – what I meant was “while you sit at your desk and work on refining your business systems to grow your floristry empire”.
Basically that’s what this model is all about – building a business empire built on systems. If you’ve ever hired a business coach to help you with this then you will probably have been spoon-fed this model. It is all based around McDonalds and similar franchised businesses whose basic modus operandi is to systemise and “manualise” every little detail about the business so that they can open up more and more “turn-key operations” that anyone with enough work ethic and common sense can run.
So if you aspire to build up a chain of florists, or even just a couple of shops, then this is probably the way forward. It has certainly made a squillionaire out of more than one business owner.
Trouble in McParadise
Having said that I have worked in a couple of such organisations and I noticed some glaring flaws in the theory when put into practice.
One is that it reduces employees to mere cogs in the machine. Basically you hire people at the lowest possible price to wear the t-shirt and the hat and just follow the manual. Individuality and playfulness may be given lip service at the ubiquitous team building sessions but at the end of the day you are employed to be a robot – and only because they haven’t built a robot good enough and cheap enough to do what a human can do. This leads to the kind of endemic discontent that no amount of pizza-and-bowling nights and viewings of Fish! can cure.
The other problem is that it actually requires a whole new skill set from you as the business owner. You will be dealing a lot less with flowers and customers and a lot more with systems, staff and your accountant. This may suit some, but for many creative people, dealing with spreadsheets, “human resource management issues” (i.e. staff letting you down) and bean counters is probably about as much fun as being boiled alive.
So this leads us to the other model that may suit you more, The Rock Star Florist Model and we’ll go into that next week, meanwhile, don’t you have flowers to water? ;-P
Written by Seamus – Tesselaar’s website manager and marketing nerd.Photo by Scootie
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