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  • My Way: Making a Difference
    By Sam Viviano

    You make the difference in your business! It's up to you to make sure that things run smoothly, that your clients are happy and that your employees are fulfilled.

    Against the Odds

    Sounds like a lot of responsibility? It's all part of the job.

    I know that managing a flower shop isn't easy — sales may go south, labor costs can skyrocket or cost of goods sold might climb over budget. Even minor problems, such as a botched delivery or an employee's unexcused absence, may disrupt your day.

    Although you can always blame some outside factor, such as the tight labor market or difficult employees, the real person you need to look at is yourself.

    Person in the Mirror

    Many florists operate in what I call "crisis management" mode. They spend their whole day putting out fires, instead of setting up programs to avoid such fires. As a result, they are totally stressed out.

    If these florists just realized that their thoughts lead to their actions and that actions can affect the way their business operates, they might take a little more time to plan where they want to go and how to get there.

    Sure, this is easy to say. It's hard to do, though, when things are out of control at the shop. But if you don't take the time to fix things, who will? You are responsible for your business.

    My Story

    I look back to when I moved to Toledo and bought my first shop. Instead of being a time of great excitement, it was a time of unimaginable stress. Within three months, I broke out in hives all over my body due to anxiety.

    Every day required that I solve some new, stressful problem. Because I just couldn't continue working like that, I looked for help. It was my accountant who started me on the road to making a business plan.

    The Blame Game

    Blaming yourself for failure won't make your stresses go away — it will only make you less likely to succeed in the future. Instead, take responsibility for creating future successes.

    This point can be illustrated perfectly with the game of golf. Golf is a sport where success or failure is totally up to the individual. One of the greatest golfers is Jack Nicklaus. In a recent magazine article, he credits the values he learned from his father for his success. Those values are responsibility, pride and commitment.

    Taking responsibility for your business is the first step you must take to become or grow more successful. When should you start? The answer is now! Here's how:

    • Identify the problem. Start with a simple problem that is easy to fix. Then progress to the more complicated ones. Take them one at a time.
    • Don't do it alone. Seek advice. Don't be so proud that you refuse to ask others for help.
    • Be methodical. Set up a system to check your progress. Do it regularly — every day or every week.
    • Consider ways to get others involved. Some of the best solutions to problems in our shop came from the employees. Make them a part of the solution, and they will come up with ideas you would never have imagined.
    • Dream big. Have a vision of where you want to go and believe you will get there. Even though you must have the "big picture" in mind, remember and understand the details, too.
    • Keep it simple. Don't overthink a problem. At some point, know that you've learned and planned enough and that it's time to move forward with your solution — even if that requires some major changes in how your business operates.

    No matter what difficulties you encounter, you have the ability to think through them and solve them. In the end, you are the one who makes the difference in your business.


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