As a florist, hiring new team members can feel totally overwhelming and scary. Employment laws, contracts, navigating the ins and outs of rosters, staffing, taxes, and insurance.
Oi. It’s a lot to think about.
Over the course of the past five years, we’ve hired more than 30 people to help us in our floral design business. If I’m being totally honest, I can’t say we’ve done it perfectly. Not by a long shot. But we have learned a lot through the years.
I vividly remember the early days of our business. I felt so intimidated and scared about building a team, having nowhere to go, nowhere to turn to ask all my questions.
But that’s precisely why I wanted to pass along four hiring tips for florists.
I want you to know, building a team doesn’t need to feel intimidating. It can be super straightforward.
I’m here to help.
Why think about building a team at all?
We all know how long the hours are as a floral designer. I don’t need to tell you that. You definitely don’t need another reminder of that. No ma’am.
Instead, what I want to share with you is one of the best mindset shifts I made in our business.
Building a team isn’t about just hiring “more people like you”. Don’t assume your next hire needs to be another floral designer or someone with a long list of qualifications, experience and credentials.
In most cases, we don’t need a” mini me”. We need someone who can come in and help us scale our efforts, increase our output without having to put more energy in.
What is scaling?
When it comes to thinking about scaling your business, it’s not about you working twice as hard for twice the revenue. Instead, it’s about you putting in the same energy but getting twice the output.
Scaling is a different philosophy to simply saying “I, personally, need to be making twice as many orders”. Scaling is all about creating exponential impact.
As a business owner, that requires a different way of thinking.
This shift in perspective is a totally new concept for most floral designers + business owners. In our industry, most business owners assume they need to be hiring more floral designers, that their business needs more people with more experience.
99% of the time, that’s not actually the case.
If you’ve been a designer for more than 10 minutes, you know that most of what we do on a daily basis isn’t the stuff you see on Instagram – a lot of the real work we do is about preparation, organisation, set-up, logistics, phone calls, navigating emails, and sorting through enquiries.
All the really unsexy, un-social media-able things.
And most of these tasks are easily teachable. They are repeatable tasks that don’t require a fully qualified / certified / highly experienced floral designer.
In fact, hiring a fully qualified designer to do many of these repeatable jobs is a costly investment. It’s eating into your profit margins and isn’t the only way to go about building a team and making you more money.
In my experience, we had the best outcome when we reserved the highest value steps to the designers – the actual construction of the bouquet and the planning and selection of the ingredients is where our best work happens. The rest can be done by a trained monkey. And there are some amazing humans (i.e. monkeys) out there waiting to work with you.
Your systems + processes are what makes scaling possible
When I finally got around to documenting our processes and systems, I realised how much of the daily work, these easily repeatable tasks, can be done by less experienced team members.
In actual fact, it’s the systems + processes that are going to drive your business forward and help you build your team.
I know they’re boring, unexciting, and unsexy but they are where your business pushes into a higher gear and you’re able to grow your team and ultimately, make more money.
Here’s an example: let’s take the seemingly simple system of processing products and unpacking from the wholesaler.
When you sit down and document your expectations, outline the exact process and systems you want your team to follow, you can then quickly bring on a pair of hands to help. You’ll immediately take the pressure off yourself and that increases your capacity to work on higher-value, higher-impact aspects of our job.
Sign. Me. Up.
Four hiring tips for florists
There is so much I could say when it comes to building a team and hiring.
But I want to focus on four hiring tips for florists to get you pointed in the right direction, to help you move forward with confidence, and show up as a Flower Boss.
1. You’re not looking to replicate yourself, you’re looking to expand your capacity.
Make a list of all the jobs you do that can be done by someone else. (Yes, there will be a lot of them.) Those are the tasks you want to hire for.
2. Get your systems and processes documented.
I know it sounds boring, but it must happen before you make your next hire. Not sure where to start? Check out this post: 3 Design Systems Every Florist Needs.
3. Set up a robust application form.
Get your next hire to sell themselves to you – don’t just say “email us your CV + cover letter”. Think about what’s most important to you and ask those questions on your application form.
4. Hire for fit, always.
Remember, you can train a monkey. I want my monkeys to have a positive can-do attitude, a great work ethic, and an appetite for learning. Those attributes trump qualifications and expertise every day of the week.
I know hiring can feel super overwhelming. But it doesn't need to. I can help. If you found these hiring tips for florists useful, I have much more in store for you.
Check out my Flower check out my Flower Boss Bootcamp. I created this one-of-a-kind program specifically to help floral designers, just like you, master the business of flowers. I’d love to see you there!
P.S. I’ve also recorded a podcast on the topic of hiring and growing your team. Find it on Spotify here or listen on the player below.