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I May Be Hard to Keep Up With But I'm Already Behind!!

Oh boy, that makes me laugh when I say it but in business it’s so true. A few years back, I was having a talk with a trusted employee who was a bit frustrated with me. His complaint was that he was feeling a bit off balance. “Every time I think I know what you want me to do, you ask me to do more or do it better. You are impossible to keep up with”! My response was, “I may be hard to keep up with, but I’m always behind”. He looked at me thoughtfully and told me that he had no idea what I was talking about.

As a business owner, how much stuff are we hit with day in and day out? I don’t know about you but I’m not only stimulated, but I’m over stimulated with things I have to do, things I should do and things I have no idea how to do but need to learn.
It’s great to do what you’ve done before. You know how to do it and you can guess what the results will be. For most of us this includes the purchasing and designing side of our business. Face it, as florists we all love buying flowers and arranging them, right? All the other stuff? Maybe not so much.

Next, we all force ourselves to do the things that we don’t like to do but have learned because it’s has got to get done. This usually includes tasks that most florists hate such as handling the books, paying taxes, managing the staff, etc. How boring!!

But what about all those things that we have yet to learn but really need to master to remain competitive? That’s where the falling behind happens. Most florists wish they never had to advertise or market their business. I think most wished they never had to a buy a computer system or learn how to type. Social networking? What’s that? Pay per click? Huh? Do I really need to go to a Chamber meeting? E-mail back my brides within an hour? Change my website home page daily? E-mail blasts? What is that? Blog? Who reads those anyway. I need to Tweet? Now I need a bird in the shop to compete? I need Facebook Fans? Where do I buy that book and do the fans come with it? Search engines? Now I have to fix my own car? Natural listings? Are their fake listings and real live ones? SEO? Is that my new title - Scared Exhausted Owner?

I joke around and make light of it but seriously, if the above list had been read to you 5 years ago, would you even know what half of those were referring to? I know I wouldn’t have but today, you have to aware of them and even use some of them.

So now back to the employee. I explained to him that although I often lt a bit cocky, even just for a day or two, there was always something bringing me back to reality. Just when I thought I knew how something worked, a new thing came to take it’s place. Remember yellow page ads? I had mine down pat. I knew how big it should be. I knew what it should say and I knew what categories it should be in. I spent about 30% of my yearly advertising budget this way and it worked because one third of my customers came to me by way of the Yellow Pages. Each year I thoughtfully renewed my ad by just making minor changes. Perhaps this large advertising expense took up about 3 or 4 hours of my time each year. I don’t think that any florist today can say that’s true.
I sat in a wire service online seminar once that was teaching us all about online advertising. At first I was so proud of myself as I listened to the presenter, I congratulated myself on all I knew. Then horror struck!!! This person, this mean, mean person was now telling all these other Florists what I knew! I was no longer ahead of the pack. I was just average. I knew nothing more than they did. DRAT!! I was doomed. Panic set in but I listened trying to calm myself down. I told myself “you did good kid, you figured it out on your own, you knew it first”. Ah, I breathed in and out, much more relaxed. I was the bomb. I was all that and then some, man! Oh, what was that the presenter said? What was that called? How do you do that? I never heard of that!!! OMG! I never heard of that, I have no idea what he’s talking about. Breathe, breathe, it’s ok. Put your head between your knees, Ok, feeling better, I won’t faint. It’s going to be ok. You’ll learn it. No worries. It’s all good. Oh no, what if those other 200 Florists learn it quicker? What if they already knew it? What if I’m too dumb to learn it!!? Argh!!

Ok, so this sounds like I’m joking and you can laugh but seriously, I sat in that webinar and those were my thoughts. I may be hard to keep up with but I’m already behind. Just as I know something, my competition is learning it also.

The world is moving fast. As florists, the business is no longer just knocking on our door. We have to go after it. We have get new customers and we have to keep them. Customer service is key and we must provide it. Learn and earn. Market and prosper. We may never be truly ahead again but at least we’re still here!! Never a dull moment!

*This is a reprint, as I was asked to be a "Guest Blogger" on Eye On DV Flora. My floral wholesaler asked me to a write something positive that other florists might enjoy. I'm not sure if it's positive but it sure is the truth!! I thought the cartoon was cute. Hope you enjoyed and it made you laugh as I'm sure even Non-Florists and Business Owners can relate to the feeling of being left behind and never quite catching up.
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