Category Archives: Small Business Advertising

All about advertising and attracting more customers to small and family business.

How to start a flower shop

Starting a new company is exciting but also scary. There are too many things to be considered and it seems that no matter what we do, we will forget something. Actually, this is true. There is no chance to predict everything, however, if you have a good plan and the economics of your new business seems to be working well then most probably you will get surprised by an unpredicted problem but you will manage to solve it. If you have chosen a flower shop to be your small business, then this article will definitely help you to prepare.

Starting a florist shop requires less capital than most of other small business opportunities. That is why so many people do choose this option when setting up a small business. The average cost to run a single location flower shop is somewhere between $10 000 and $50 000. However, I will present you how to start a fantastic boutique flower shop with no more than $20 000.

As mentioned the most important thing is to prepare well for what is about to come. That is why next section will look over our florist business plan.

Have a plan how to run florist business


How much it will cost you to open a flower shop

A rough estimation is between $10 000 and $50 000. What are difference between the two limits? Well, it all depends whether you are about to rent a space and invest heavy in capital or not. So here are the basics things that you should decide whether to have and how much:

  • Rent a space or do business from home
  • Have a delivery van or outsource from a delivery company
  • Florist equipment – you will for sure need flowers, some decorations but the more expensive are the refrigeration cases, you will need some of them, the question is how much.
  • Employees – how many do you actually need to start a florist business? Well, if you are creative type person then you may be able to do the design of the arrangement yourself, that will enable you to save a lot of money from hiring a designer. In an ideal situation you would have been working in flower shop before and know all about creating great designs that sell. If not then you will need to hire someone to do this. Remember he will be better paid than average employees so he should be kept busy all the time.
  • Advertising – with not much you can definitely do a lot if your product is good.


How much revenue to break even

A crucial point in the development of a small business is reaching the break-even point. The question is how much will be your costs per month and how much revenue on average the shop should make to cover its running costs. Here is the first time a price of the product should be considered. In flower business it is better to sell a little too expensive than too cheap. Your main product – fresh flowers cannot last longer than few days. Therefore, you will have a lot of waste.


Licenses local and state

You should check if you need any specific licenses to start a florist shop in your area. Usually, there is nothing more required than the standard business licenses and registrations.


What are the location options – from home or rent a space

The perfect location will be somewhere around church, hospital and restaurants/hotels that organize wedding. It is very rare combination so do not look too much for it. Generally, just next to the city center is a good point to start from because there will also be decent amount of foot traffic and as flowers are often impulse decision this will have impact.


The important thing is to be able to keep them busy. If you are not sure if initially there will be enough work for them to keep busy all the time, then do not hire. It is much easier to give extra money to a single employee for hard working than to pay 2 employees to do not so much.


What will be the process to get clients

Before starting a very clear process of attracting customers should be developed. How will your prospects find you?
1. The first important question is whether you rely more on your website or on your physical store?

  1. Once you have a clear mind on question 1 you can focus on either small clients or big ones – wedding organizers for example.


Exit strategy

In business there should always be an exit strategy. This will minimize losses and also help you to take the decision to actually quit the business. Before starting the florist shop you should decide how much time and how much money you will invest in order to develop it to at least break even point. My recommendations is to have about $20 000 to start and another $20-25 000 for ongoing costs and stay into the business somewhere between 6 and 10 months. If for that period the thinks are not going well then probably something is not ok and it is better to do radical changes and even close the business.



How to start a flower shop [Case Study]

This section will have practical approach. I have helped a friend to start a florist business and so will give you my vision how it will be best to handle the situation.


My initial investment: $25 000


Setting up a small business is not an easy task but if you pay careful attention to three things and make them perfect then you will be able to succeed. I am talking about process, people and product.
My friend has been working in a big flower shop in Los Angeles for 4 years. The last one he was promoted to be chief designer/decorator. For personal reasons he had to move to Seattle and I encourage him to open his own shop.

The people

The idea was him to be the designer and do all the arrangements and has 3 more employees.

The first employee will handle the delivery van. There are not so many orders to be delivered early in the morning so we decide it will be enough to have someone delivering from 14:00 to 22:00 5 days a week.

Second employee would work in the store with the designer. Helping everything to be processed and kept organized.

Third employee will work on the delivery van Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 20:00 and help some other days the store.

The marketing will be outsourced from a small digital agency I run and will be mainly focused on attracting customers through Google, Facebook, Pinterest and email campaigns.

Each of the employees will cost about $2200 a month, we easily managed to hire them as the location was near the university village. So far the cost of running business is $6600 a month.

The digital agency will charge $1000 a month (this includes $500 spending on Facebook and Google Adwords).

The process

Initially the business would run from the home of my friend. It was not a bad place – 5 minute drive to the downtown, located on the very edge of the city center.

We found on CarCurus decent second hand florist equipment and for about $4 800 we manage to buy what we believe to need in order to start – flower displays, some outdoor displays as well, a watering machine, stem cutters, ribbon racks, vases and some other less significant tools and gadget to make the whole process easier. If you have worked in flower shop before opening one then it will be easy to pick up the necessary tools. However, if not then better go to the wholesale store with your designer.

We got a second hand van as well and branded it. The van has mileage of 83 000 and price set up of $18 300. At the end we managed to bargain to get it for $16 000. Putting vehicle wrap was $2200.

So far we have everything we need to start the process. The only thing missing is our product. What type of arrangement we focus next chapter will present. For the process is important to highlight how we buy the fresh flowers. My friend was used to go to the wholesale market and order and wait everything to be delivered and pay with check. I could not understand why we make the process so complicated. He told me that was the process in the florist shop he used to work. It was no brainer that it could be much easier and cheaper at the end.

First, it is very important to always have cash – pay in cash to the wholesalers for fresh flowers. Even if you do not buy large quantity they will give you 3-8% discount. Furthermore, you can save additional 2-3% from the logistics. If your shop have delivery van why bother waiting someone else to deliver the fresh flowers? Furthermore, if you rely on yourself to get the flowers you will feel more secure they will arrive on time and thus keep lower quantity in stock. This is from huge importance giving the fact that our main product lasts only few days.

With floral supplies it is a little bit different. The process there is more like ordering office supplies. The best you can do is negotiate some 5-10% discount from a nice website and then order from there. It will save time and if they deliver on time everything will be perfect. If not speak with them and eventually you may change the supplier. When starting a small business there is almost always lack of capital and that is why very often it is necessary to start with lower quantities in stock. The focus of every owner should be to make the process so good that this is not harming the business. That is why it is very important not to have delay of any of your raw materials. Otherwise, your orders will also be delayed sooner or later and customers will be unhappy.

The delivery process was very simple. We deliver between 14:00 and 22:00. The customer can choose when the flowers to be delivered and sooner options is two hours from now. Furthermore, the owners always calls to confirm the order. That is very important, building some rapport with clients is essential.

For big orders the time to deliver is much more than two hours but even for the funeral people call a day in advance so it is possible everything to be organized and prepared.

The product

Doing some basic research showed it is best to divide the products into three basic groups:

  • Flower arrangements under 50$
  • Flower arrangements between 50 and 70$
  • Boutique flower arrangements 70$+

In the store and on the website this was the basic lay out of our products. They were divided according to their price. I suggest not to put products from Group B into the display of Group A. Clients will expect them to be under $50 and may be frustrated when they realize it was actually a bit more expensive. However, you should always propose to upgrade the arrangement. In order to do this the right way you should be able to define how much upgrade and what type of upgrade is good idea to be offered to this particular customer. Usually 10% more to the existing price is a reasonable and what more you will put for those 10% you should determine based on the occasion.


The margin

Many small businesses do not get the economics and failed at the end. In the case of opening flower shop we face the problem of a product that do not last long. Furthermore, we shall know that buying flowers is most often impulse decision. What does this means? It means that once clients are at your store or website they will probably not make big deal of 10% more or less but make the purchase. Therefore, in this industry it is expected to work with decent margin – 60% to 150% is ok. The only exception is when you are trying to sell flowers that will not last much longer and decrease the price heavily in order to liquidate some inventory that will eventually turn into waste.

For those who are not good at mathematics I will provide an example. If you are about to open a florist shop and an arrangement costs you 40$ you should sell it somewhere between $70 and $85. You should charge additionally for the delivery.

Keep in mind to also include the labor costs before calculating the final price. At the wholesale market you can buy roses at around a dollar each, white calla lilies at $3, stems of white daisy poms poms for about $1.4 each. So for example if we have this decoration:

Flower arrangement
Flower arrangement
  • 1 Glass Cube – $5
  • 3 Orange Roses – $3.9
  • 3 Hot Pink Miniature Gerberas – $4.2
  • 3 Hot Pink Carnations – $1.2
  • 1 Stem Hot Pink Miniature Carnations – $0.65
  • 2 Stems Green Button Spray Chrysanthemums – $2.4
  • Other decorations: $1.5
  • Labor cost – 15 minutes = $5.5

Total $24.35

This arrangement should be sold from $45 to $55.


Florist business is ready, what’s next?

So far the investment is about $23 000 – the equipment, the delivery van and its branding. Furthermore, the ongoing costs per month are $6600 for the employees and $1000 for the digital agency to do some marketing (we will discuss that in a minute), so in total $7600. For a small just starting business it is good idea the owner not to get any money out of it. So in order to break even in a given month it is necessary to have somewhere around $15 000 worth of revenue.


How to get to the break-even point

Knowing the characteristics of your basic clients groups

There are two main type of customers in florist business – small clients (individuals) and big clients (businesses that organize weddings and funerals). You may thing it is great idea to have as a client someone who organize weddings but keep in mind you will have 15-20% margin at most in this type of deals. So if he orders 100 arrangements that cost you $25 you will not be able to $4 000 – 5 000 of revenue but merely about $3 000. On other hand if you do just 25 arrangements for small clients you will be able to get the same profit. The best practice is to have from both type of clients. The businesses will decrease your average margin but increase the volume a lot. This will help you to negotiate better prices with wholesalers, enables you to have a steady amount of income coming and also decrease significantly your waste.

Therefore, it is very important to be targeting both types of customers.

Targeting new customers

Targeting your customers the right way is essential. To do this you should realize that the two main types of customers require different approach.

How to target individual customers

The digital agency has the aim to deliver us this type of customers. Trough Facebook promote, Google AdWords, listings in local business directories, press releases in local media and the organic searches in 3 months we managed to grow a steady traffic. The average number of visitors you should expect in 3-6 months spending $1000 per month is somewhere around 75 per day.

The average number of orders was roughly 13 per day and the revenue more than $500, and so more than $15 000 revenue from individual client per month. This number is enough to break even. With good customer service, better search rankings, newsletters and some business clients the florist shop will make a good amount of profit as well and be able to expand.

Without any doubt the website was very well optimized to convert as many visitors as possible. We also have a landing pages for special occasions – wedding flowers, birthday flowers and so on. That is why I recommend working with Viyve – exceptional results at very reasonable price.

How to target businesses

With this type of client a different strategy is required. From my experience before I know it is best to go in person to funeral homes and wedding organizers and have a chat. It is almost sure that you will not lend them but at least let them know about your business. In few days you can send some samples along with detail pricing of your arrangements. I like to put the pricing on hard cardboard that is laminated. That way it cannot be easily folded/damaged and so go into the rubbish bin. Furthermore, if you manage to speak with someone that is about to organize wedding or funeral and offer him great price then it is very likely when they go to funeral home or wedding organizer to insist that you are their florist. This is fantastic method and works very well. It is very customizable for different types of business and always works well, however, be prepared that it takes time.

The digital agency did a lead generation and collected from local business directories and websites email. And send them an email asking if they need such services. It is good idea this to be done from someone with experience as otherwise it may go to category “unsolicited sales message” and cause you trouble.


Turning business into profit and growing it

Once you reached the break-even point then continue the same way and emphasize on customer service. Soon enough the new clients will become recurring and your revenue will increase significantly. Increasing sales of a small business will also mean you will be able to decrease the price of your main supplies and make it even more profitable.

With the time you should optimize the process – make everything as simple as possible. If you are using delivery company and have huge amount of orders – invest into your own van. If your waste is high because you lack of refrigerating cases then purchase more. Organize the shop and work places as well as possible. Keep buckets clean, change the water often, try to make your presentation appealing. Flowers are often impulse purchase and all this cane really make the difference.

Once you are feeling comfortable and have enough cash aside then think about opening a second location. The best choice will be nearby town – around 15-20 miles away from your first shop.

Doing this will enable you to scale up the whole process and also decrease additionally the costs of delivery, marketing, supplies, accounting, make the use of employees more efficient.



It is never easy task to start and develop a business but this guide will definitely help you to prepare your checklist on how to start a florist shop. If you need any advice or have a question, do not hesitate, to post a comment or contact me on my email. I would love to help you!



Promoting a sport bar [Case Study]

Sports Bar Marketing Ideas

This is my experience of marketing sports bar. You can get some sold bar promotion ideas and strategies. Of course, your case would be somewhat different so feel free to twist the basic concepts and adjust them to match you the best. Moreover, promoting a bar is not much different from marketing restaurant, coffee shop or a boutique food store.

Recently a friend of mine asked me what I think about him opening a sports bar. I encouraged him, he had some experience working at a bar and generally keeps his things organized and well planned so he should be able to handle it.

The tricky thing is that he wanted to open an UK style sports bar in Bulgaria (Eastern Europe). Thus, the cultural differences may be an issue.

Bar Marketing Ideas
UK Style Sports Bar


Few weeks ago he told me that 2 months after opening the things are not going so well and ask me to revise the situation, and so I did.

It was easy to notice that although the cultural differences the bar is a nice one – its location is decent, girls do not mind entering the bar which is extremely important even for a sports bar. Generally, he managed to build some loyal audience and from the feedback I understood they like the bar. His main problem was the promotion of the bar.

Every product nowadays needs some marketing, everything is so competitive that even if you had best product and you are giving it for free it would be difficult without marketing it properly.

The only promotion that was done was handling some leaflets just after opening and since then nothing. For me it was evident that people are ok with the bar and its concept, despite the cultural differences so the only thing necessary to be done is more and better promotion.

My marketing strategy for the bar

Bar Marketing Strategy
Bar Marketing Strategy

I believe that in this case the best return on investment will be achieved if we focus only on Facebook. For a mass market restaurants, bars, boutique chocolate/sweet store and etc. Facebook can do miracles. So here it is what I did:


Facebook Ads

I launched $20 ad campaign to see how it will go. The bar has a decent website with a “Promotion” section and so we created one especially for a Saturday night derby game and I promoted the link with a very simple text – Watch Team A – Team B at “Our Sportsbar” – Pay 2 beers get 3.

Facebook enables you to choose people from particular city, select their age and also select their interests. So I choose the city, age between 18-35 and also selected as interests – “soccer”, “football”, “I love football”, “team A” and “team B”.

The promotion went for about 3 days. The average costs was 0.06$ – yes in Bulgaria it is so cheap to advertise, but even if it is much more expensive it is still worth to do it. I put a another phone number on the website just for those 3 days to see how many reservation would be made – it was just 1 table for 5 people reserved but the bar was decently full that night. Furthermore, we managed to connect with a much broader audience in Facebook.

Before the Facebook page was just 126 likes, after the ad campaign we had about 200. Not much of a difference but still a step in a positive direction.


Facebook Page

Another part of my strategy was to reach my target audience more often. I started uploading content to the Facebook page 4-5 times a day. Because of the Facebook algorithm lately I emphasized a lot on videos.

You can check here how different post type perform in 2015.

What type a videos are good for a sports bar? – Football ones – funny, tricks, goals, interesting situations. Although I had only about 200 fans I was managing to get 10-15 actions and more than 200-300 views every time.

Furthermore, after the comment line for the video I always do tagged our Facebook page to boost our fan base.


Deals on most popular events

The concept is the same as the promotion I launched and advertise. We just need to do that much more often. It is not necessary always to advertise those deals, we can just post them on our page for our loyal fans.

However I continue to advertise once a week.


Create events on Facebook

Events on Facebook are working great. The best part is that you can actually advertise an event. So I created one – again with a promotion for a derby game. Invited all the fans I could and then launched an ad. This went very well and 405 are “going” at the end.

Unfortunately, I could not determine which one of the two paid promotions was more effective. It is because we did so many things and the popularity of the bar was growing fast anyway. So to do an adequate A/B testing I would need more time and bigger sample size.

Anyway the event strategy is working fine and you can even go much deeper into it – here it is a comprehensive guide about promoting an event on Facebook.


Spam relevant Facebook group with offers

There is nothing wrong in spamming. At least I believe so. But still you have to do it the right way. I do not like the idea to launch a bot and spam every possible group on Facebook.

Choose carefully, 5-10 groups and focus on them. Then go to some others. In our case we want to promote sports bar so I want to “Chelsea Fans in Bulgaria”, “Real Madrid Bulgaria” and so on.

I picked up 10 football clubs and found their fan group for Bulgaria. I was waiting for any of those teams to have a game and then 2 days earlier I post the link to the promotion page of our website asking has anyone tried this.

Then on the same day of the game posted again declaring I and some other fans of this football club are going to enjoy the game in this particular sports bar and everyone is welcome to join us.

On same time, my friend – the owner of the bar, contacted the admins of those groups and asked them where they gather to watch games and offer them good group promotions, options to make special events and etc.

Although you may thing that is a perfect strategy it took us time. Initially, there was no effect, I had no idea why but decided to continue. Finally, my friend managed to get 50-60 people to come and watch the game – a group of fans agree to make this bar the meeting points for the games of their club.



At the end all our efforts started to pay back and the bar gradually become more visited. I helped him for about a month and then it was evident that the things are now much more different. Sometimes when you are an owner you concentrate too much to run the business and literally there is no time to stop and think about your strategy, the problems, how to grow and etc. This could be costly in long run and so you should be careful if you are missing some value.

How to advertise your small boutique?

Nowadays, the market is highly competitive. The selection of the products and the location of the store are important but it is not enough for the success of you small business. You will need a good marketing plan in order to attract clients. The following tips will help you to market your boutique correctly.


Promo codes

By offering promo codes you influence on clients to make a purchase. There are varieties of promo codes and the most popular ones are free shipping, % off and amount off. You can use promo codes in order to reward your loyal customers. Also it is a good idea to send promo codes via any social media.  This is the way to involve customers and to attack more “fans” and “followers”. In addition, it is important to print your codes on leaflets or on your business cards.



Use eye-catching signs to attract clients who pass close to the store. It is essential to use shocked colours and easy to read brand and label. Make signs to highlight your USP (unique selling point).


Develop a database

It is nice to gather clients` emails with the aim to update customers about the latest sales and promotions in your store. Besides, you can use those emails to send tips on how to use your products differently. For example, if you sell a hair conditioner you can show the customers how to remove a tight ring from a finger easily using it or how to protect the expensive shoes during the winter thanks to a hair conditioner. Those interesting articles will get their attention and will increase your trust – you are not only selling but also giving some interesting information. This will make your sells campaigns more successful.


Hire the right people

A successful step is to hire colour and emotional consultant or professional stylist just to make customers feel comfortable. Moreover, clients can take an advantage of the expert`s opinion for special events or just to be informed about the latest trends in the market.


Partnership with other local businesses

Look around and choose a business that has the same target audience as you in order to advertise your boutique.  You can do the same favor for your partner. Many people underestimate the importance of other businesses around their location. However, those other locations may be the reason for additional foot traffic around you and in case of a boutique store the impulse shopping decisions are very important.

Important things to know when advertise your small business

When you have your own small business you should think about many things, especially your marketing tactics. This article aims to present you the basics.


No idea how to start

Starting line with road cones

It is good to start with a simple marketing plan. You should spend some quality time for planning your marketing activities. This step will reduce the time you waste on doing unnecessary tasks which won`t help you to achieve you goals. You should clarify your target audience and the ways and the direct ways to reach it. And remember that for a small business the direct marketing approach is the better one.



First you should make a research about your competitors on the market and outside of it. This will give you an idea about the business environment. By monitoring your competitors you will obtain a good knowledge of what everyone is doing and you will be able to predict the competitors’ next move step. Furthermore, think about the unique selling point (USP) of your business or in other words, what makes your product or service different and more appealing than your competitors`. Once you discover it – emphasize on that.



Do not expect immediate results from long term plans. Some marketing activities, which are most appropriate for small businesses, take longer. Do not rush!  Sometimes to build “fans” and trust takes time and patience. The idea is to commit to your decision and believe in it. If you decide that strategy “A” needs a 3 month in order to start working, then follow it. Do not fear of failure and cancel midway.



Do not miss referrals and word of mouth advertising. It is one of the most effective advertising methods. Customers do your advertising instead of you for free. The best way to generate referrals is to exceed the expectation of your customers and to surprise them, take care of your customers as if you take care of your family. This is the biggest advantage of small businesses. However, keep in mind that if you give a small incentive to your already existing customers to promote you this may make a big difference, especially in some cases where snowball effect occurs.


You can also just ask them politely to share with friends if happy. Many of your customers have not thought about recommending the product you sell, although they have been happy with it all the time. When you remind them the will think about the long time they are happy with you and share with friends.



Analyze the results of your marketing activities – to be able to understand what is working and what is not, you should track and measure your adverts. This article will present you different examples of how to measure the results.