As we head fast into Christmas is it time to reassess your staffing/your job roles?
Do you need a skilled florist on the shop floor or would you be better employing a salesperson and leaving the designing to the people who can?
Should you be outsourcing your admin/social media/PR etc to a part time/virtual resource and instead focusing your time on sales/makeup.
Do you need extra drivers or could joining forces with a local taxi firm be better?
We look at some of the ways you could re-deploy your current team and expand the hiring pool by looking at things differently.
1: Redefining roles
This has to be the first task; identifying who you already employ and how best to use their skills. As we say in our Top 10 Tips for hiring and retaining staff a good boss should know what their team is capable of and if there are hidden skills that aren’t being utilised or where they would be better deployed.
This particularly applies to younger florists who may be far more digitally savvy and totally capable of taking on the social media, creating perfectly curated pictures, or simply coming up with campaigns you might not have thought about.
If there are people who are rubbish at selling up or just don’t like serving customers (let’s face it they can be a challenge at times!) but others that love it harness that strength and deploy them front of house and leave the ones who are happier/better/faster at production in the workroom. If no-one likes selling and you believe there is enough business to be had then employ a dedicated front of house person who does nothing but serve customers.
Ideally you should have a team meeting to thrash things out but alternatively ask everyone to write down how they think things could be improved and then work up a strategy.
Does everything have to be done in-house or are there jobs you could outsource to third parties. Only you know your business but the one we hear most about is accounts and admin.
For example, if you are still fighting your way through paper-based accounts or drowning in emails either invest in a cloud-based accounts package (your accountant should charge less as a result) or find yourself an admin person.
A virtual assistant (VA) may sound like a luxury but if it saves you time that you could spend on other more important things (like the buying) or money-making activities then it is money well spent. They can take on everything and anything … and even if it is just fielding emails and phone calls it could save hours … particularly with needy brides!
Many will also do your social media but on this one a bit of a caveat to make sure they can really portray the essence of your business. We love VA’s but on social media sometimes an internal person can be better as they are literally on the ground and that matters if you are doing lives etc.
Do you need a driver or could this be done by a local taxi firm? It may cost a bit more per drop – you need to discuss/haggle - but could save on other costs like extra vans, insurance, wages, NI etc plus you have people available at the drop of a hat. There are a number of specialist operators coming into the market who are claiming low prices but, in our opinion, working with a local firm is probably better as they know the area and have a vested interest in getting it right given their reputation is also on the line.
3: Split shifts
The shop may be open for customers at certain times but the premises are operational 24 hours a day. Who says your team can only work whilst the shop is open?
They (or other possible recruits) may actually prefer to work evenings or early in the mornings. For example, if your wholesaler is delivering flowers at 4 or 6 in the morning who says they can’t be cut and conditioned then rather than sitting there waiting for the shop to open.
Are there people who would like to earn money but need to be around for school runs/have other day time commitments. Offering different hours could open up your potential hiring pool and make the working life a lot easier for the rest of your team.
4: Sensible multi-tasking
We don’t know anyone in retail floristry who doesn’t multi-task but you need to be careful multi-tasking doesn’t end up meaning nothing is done completely right because the danger is that in the rush to do everything things get missed or aren’t given 100%.
If people are going to have multi-functional roles make sure they have enough time to be multifunctional!! Better perhaps to employ two part-timers than overload one person … both you and they could end up frustrated! It goes back to re-defining roles … make sure the person and the job is a good fit and don’t expect miracles every single day.
5: Technology trickery
Floristry may be a creative profession but computers and other technology could be a major salvation if used properly and whilst not saving (wo)manpower as such, will make life a lot easier and slicker.
Invest in headsets and modern telephony and there is never a reason to miss a call.
If you are a big shop have tablets so that customers can be served away from the counter to avoid queues and speed up the order taking process – obviously Covid caution rules permitting.
Buy the best printer you can (see the Which report for best buys) and message cards can be beautifully achieved, price labelling will never look tacky – unless you have really good handwriting it can look a bit old school greengrocery - and POS material printed out to add sales messages to your display.
When it comes to taking orders, these should be inputted into a system that can not only print out the order for the workroom but organise delivery routes as well. There are many on the market … investigate which one is best for you.
6: Learn to say no!
If you and your staff are already run ragged then you need to avoid complete burn out until you find extra resource. That’s why No has to be part of your vocabulary in order to save a lot of heart ache and time.
For example, if a customer is asking for the moon but only has enough money to make it past the first set of clouds be tough ... if it can’t be done for the budget walk away as you cannot afford to lose money nor spend hours trying to explain.
If someone wants a timed delivery and it means you having to drop everything the basic rule is that unless they are paying for your time you need to say No.
If someone wants to haggle on price and you know you don’t have wiggle room say no. We realise it’s an alien concept but when every second counts to make your business profitable and do-able sometimes saying No is essential for your own sanity. .
Editor, Florist Magazine