By Tim Huckabee

Think Christmas in July!Citation

Summer’s here and, for most florists, things have slowed down a bit. This is the PERFECT time to work out a plan for the last quarter of the year so you can stay focussed on making money and not stressing about what you forgot to do/order/plan for Christmas.

When I visit shops for training during these later summer months, I ask the owners/managers an off the cuff question like, “When will you start posting Christmas images on your website?” And they look at me like I am speaking Vulcan, telling me they’ll “worry about that later.”

Why can’t we, as an industry, get our acts together sooner rather than later? I hope this column will inspire you to do just that this year. Here are 10 points I see the most organized florists tackle while the thermometer is still above 28 degrees.

  • Work Out Your Advertising Schedule and Budget

    Whether you are putting a statement in your house of worship’s flyer or spending money on Google ads, work out what you are going to spend, where, and when. You may even save some money by buying and placing your ads in advance.

  • Choose an Open House Date

    Many shops host a “customer appreciation” event like this in October or November to get warm bodies in the shop and get them shopping. If you don’t do this already, consider it for 2017. Pick a date NOW so you can factor it into your advertising schedule and give employees ample time to clear that day on their calendars.

  • Order Your Hard Goods Early

    Whether you are carrying codified products from a wire service or featuring your own in-house designs for the holidays (or both!), order those containers now. I may sound like a broken record, but ordering in advance saves money, time, and stress—and gives you peace of mind knowing that you have the containers as soon as the orders start trickling in!

  • Mind your Website and Social Media

    Though somewhat related to your advertising schedule, your online presence needs special attention. Choose your images now, decide when they go up—and when they come down. Nothing tells a customer you’re unorganized like still showing poinsettias on the home page on January 10th!

  • Sort out Staff Schedules

    You know the coverage you need, so print that schedule and tell your team now. One of my customers has a formal meeting in October to hand out the schedules. That’s when he tells employees that they are working every Saturday in December, so they shouldn’t schedule a dental appointment then or put off their holiday shopping until the last minute!

  • Think About Your Windows

    Start kicking around ideas and themes with your staff this summer, so you’re not banging your head against the wall on Thanksgiving! Also, choose set up and tear down dates.

  • Hiring Holiday Help

    If you have staff members who come back just for peak periods, set up their dates now. Likewise, be prepared by writing and placing your help wanted ads now (to run in the autumn).

  • Don’t Forget the Little Things

    If you change your store hours in December, remember to update your front door and website. If you turn your calls over to an answering service, change your holiday greeting.

  • Decorating Off-Site

    Florists who do big decorating jobs for businesses and private homes often forget to schedule proper coverage for the store when they grab all their “elves” to go work on-site. Don’t make that mistake!

  • Plan Store Meetings

    Pick at least one date in later October or early November when you’ll keep the staff after hours (yes, you must pay them!) to talk about your holiday specials, customer promotions, special hours, etc. You need to have your team informed and ready!

Now that you have your store ready for the holidays, get your staff ready too and send them to Summer School for Florists. Learn more at

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Tim Huckabee
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.

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