5 Easy Steps to Manage Better
Management. Just that word gives many shop owners a mild case of hives! If you’re one of them, it’s not your fault. One of my gripes with our industry is that we are laser-focused on design but tend to sweep the business part of running a flower shop under the rug. When was that last time you saw a florist excitedly posting on Facebook how they expertly resolved an employee conflict or managed to cut payroll to boost profits? You get my drift.
I cannot turn you into a powerful manager with just one article, but I can share a few best practices I have seen in place at the last 6,000 flower shops I have visited. Whether you choose to implement one, a few, or all of them, once you start to integrate these ideas and concepts at your store, you will have a more efficient, less stressful, and more profitable holiday season, 2018, and beyond!
1. Develop an Employee Handbook
Whether you have a staff of three or 30, you need to have this critical document. A handbook lays down the expectation of employee behaviour and the standards to which you operate. This includes owners and managers. Unsure how to guide the staff in certain situations? Reference the manual! You can find many sources online where you can download pre-formatted templates and simply add your particulars — quick and easy.
2. Create a Protocol For Discipline
First, you should check in with your local and/or provincial authority for a rundown on the legalities and then spell out in your handbook your penalties for breaking the rules. For example: two verbal warnings, then a written warning, then suspension, and then termination. You must have a protocol. Perpetually saying, “I’m not going to ask you again,” with no action to back it up makes you a useless manager. Staff will quickly learn that there is “no bite behind your bark” and continuously take advantage of you or fail to live up your expectations.
3. Set Up a Schedule For Regular Store Meetings
This is the easiest step you can take to increase productivity, profitability, and morale in one move. Whether there are four or 40 of you, you must hold regular meetings (four to six times per year at least) held either before or after hours. Have a printed agenda distributed a day before, making sure to allot time for open discussion, and follow up the following day with printed minutes so all can remember what was discussed and what he or she is responsible for doing. You must steer the group in this meeting, as some may see it as an opportunity to gripe or bring up a personal issue or something not relevant to the setting. Try: “Kathy, let’s talk about that later, after this meeting.”
4. Manage, Don’t React
A flower shop is often an emotionally charged environment. You’re doing hard physical work, often in tight surroundings, with customers demanding more and more. This puts pressure on the entire staff. When something goes wrong—a missed delivery time, a sloppy design, or worse—take a breath and handle the situation as a problem solver, not a drama queen (or king!). Trust me, you’ll gain the respect of the staff and you’ll keep your blood pressure down. Plus, employees will mimic your actions. By keeping a cool head, you are, by default, helping them handle every crisis better.
5. Lead By Example
On that note, follow your own rules to set a good example and build team spirit. If you don’t want your staff using their personal phones at work, then don’t stand on the shop floor chatting with your BFF. (Talking to a wholesaler, a wedding vendor, or a customer is fine.) Don’t chastise staff for arriving late if you, yourself, are constantly tardy. Likewise, you cannot chide employees for stuffing arrangements (and costing you $$$) if you’re forever saying, “just add a little extra to make it look nice.”
BOTTOM LINE: It doesn’t take a lot to manage your shop better and you’ll reap amazing rewards!
For more flower shop management advice from Tim, see his recorded workshop package created just for Canadian Florist readers at www.floralstrategies.com/CFX
Tim Huckabee, AIFSE, was born, raised and educated in Connecticut and moved to New York City in 1993 to start working at a high-end flower shop called Surroundings, where he learned every aspect of the flower business such as handling telephone sales and customer service issues and dealing with walk-in customers. In his frequent conversations with florists, he realized there was a dire lack of sales and service education in the industry. That motivated him, in 1997, to launch FloralStrategies, a company that trains florists in sales, customer service, and how to get the most out of their POS system. He visits 250 shops annually, hosts a monthly webinar series, speaks at floral conventions, and writes a monthly column for the Society of American Florists.