Starting a Flower Business on the Side

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In the entrepreneurial sphere, the simplest ideas often make for the most profitable side hustles. A flower business is one such venture that can translate into serious cash if you adopt a unique approach and possess a little marketing savvy. Though it may not seem to be the case to the outside observer, there are literally dozens of ways to make money off of the flower game with a little creativity. The following steps comprise a rough outline of a potential path to owning a lucrative flower business.

Draft a Business Blueprint

First off, you’ll need to look at all possible business avenues and settle on a niche. Research the profit potential of floral consulting, running a florist shop and commercial flower farming in your area. The nature of your regional market will play a big role in determining which direction makes the most sense. If you own a modest amount of land, you can net up to $15,000 per acre for cut flowers. Come up with a rough estimate of expected gross revenue and net profit for each possibility when brainstorming ideas.

Secure Funding & File the Paperwork

Though a flower-based SMB can be launched for less than $1,000, it’s likely that you’ll need a bit more than that to get off of the ground. Secure a loan from your friendly local credit union or the SBA if need be. Get your business licenses in order and apply for an IRS EIN if you plan on hiring any employees. Finally, structure your business as a sole proprietorship or LLC to minimize liabilities and taxes. It’s also a good idea to trademark a business name and logo.

Flesh Out Your Knowledge & Skills

No matter how you go about building your business, you’ll need to know a fair amount about all aspects of the flower trade to succeed. If you’re growing your own, becoming a flower cultivation expert is a must. Knowing which flower types appeal to certain customers is equally important. Do your research on all manner of flowers such as lilies, cosmos, zinnias, snapdragons and daisies. The Society of American Florists and the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers are excellent educational resources for beginners and experts alike.

Set Up Commercial Work Space

Whatever your business model ends up being, you’ll need a decent amount of space for dealing with day-to-day operations. If you plan on growing your own flowers, a nursery or greenhouse is pretty much required. You’ll also need lots of dry storage space as well as refrigeration cases and containers for your product. Depending on how you structure the operation, renting commercial store space might be necessary. Lastly, a back room at your home or place of business should be set up as an office for crunching the numbers.

Find Reliable Sources for Supplies

If you plan on creating floral arrangements or retailing flowers, you’ll need a reputable bulk supplier of flowers as well as tape, wire and containers. Find a good farmer and lock down some long-term contracts. If you’re growing, you’ll need plenty of seeds and bulbs from a good breeder. For either business model, general equipment like a delivery van and packing material are necessities. Exact supply requirements depend on whether you’re growing or selling as well as the types of flowers that you’re dealing with.

Market the Outfit to the Public

Kick off your marketing efforts locally by hitting up farmers’ markets and craft shows, handing out flyers and offering significant discounts to early customers. For reference, a dozen long-stemmed roses often go for $50.00 or so from an established florist. Embracing new media is a given nowadays if you’re interested in rapidly growing your fan base. Use YouTube as a broadcasting platform for video content marketing. Play around with ideas like an “of the month” club that provides customers with regular shipments of novel flower varieties.

Network Your Way to Greater Profits

A flower business will go a lot further by forging mutually beneficial relationships with complementary enterprises. Network with other local SMBs and brainstorm how you can help each other out. For instance, you could offer discount cards to wedding consultants and events planners in exchange for referrals. If you’re a grower that specializes in rhododendrons, you could team up with a farmer that focuses on carnations and jointly offer variety packages to retailers. Join a trade network like Union Fleurs to make connections more easily.

Move Onward, Upward & Outward

Ultimately, flowers are a non-essential expense for most. As such, the flower industry is prone to the same wild fluctuations that any other luxury business experiences. To remain competitive, you need to gradually diversify your options. For additional revenue, you could try to sell e-books on flower decoration ideas or flower husbandry. Alternatively, you might try your hand at a trickier discipline that pays top dollar such as breeding rare orchids. Keep an open mind and you’ll no doubt discover many unique money-making opportunities for your flower outfit.

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