The Society of American Florists has partnered with seasoned floral entrepreneurs Manny and Clara Gonzales to launch a new course series guaranteed to help florists manage costs and drive profit. The strategies they share in Forecasting Your Future– a three-course and connection series focused on sales forecasting, cost of goods, and wage control—are the same tactics they used to turn their former retail shop into a thriving business. The first course, Sales Forecasting, is available now on SAF's Career Connection learning platform.
"It is almost impossible to achieve healthy profits without forecasting," says Kate Penn, SAF's CEO. "This course was developed as a direct result of hearing the challenges florists are facing. In an inflationary environment, florists need to improve sales, cut costs, and control payroll—all at the same time. Implementing the strategies in this course could easily improve a retailer's margins by 1 percent to start—and for most shops, that's a $5,000 to $10,000 difference."
The takeaways in each course can be applied to a small or large studio or full-service flower shops. The courses are designed to help seasoned business owners increase their profitability, up-and-coming managers enhance their business value– and ensure that management is trained to teach proper forecasting methods to key staff.
The 6-week Sales Forecasting course includes seven modules of on-demand videos, worksheets, and input from the Gonzaleses with up to 40 minutes of learning per week.
- To start, module one covers industry benchmarks for a profitable shop, how spending affects margins, and how to create a sales history.
- Participants will learn to compile and track sales in real time with a downloadable spreadsheet to understand and predict future revenue.
- By the end of the course, participants will walk away with a working forecast they can use for their business to compare actual results with their sales goals.
- The Gonzaleses focus on the importance of sharing financials with employees, creating transparency that promotes a team-wide effort toward achieving sales goals.
SAF also offers options to enhance the learning experience through private coaching sessions or joining a peer group. Both add-ons take place weekly and offer one-on-one time with the Gonzaleses, where they can review individual forecasts, answer business-specific questions, and provide additional strategies. Along with individual assistance, the peer group provides an opportunity to compare notes and share helpful hints with other participants.
Florists who took the Sales Forecasting course as part of the testing phase have praised it for its practical approach and immediate application.
"The sales forecasting course gives a streamlined method of weekly/daily forecasting that keeps planning, organization, and execution top of mind, as well as a tool to track our actuals against our goals," says Aimee Godbout of Jacques Flower Shop in Nashua, New Hampshire. "This course has been a great reminder that sales forecasting and all its components are vital year-round, not just at the holidays and busy times. No matter how many other demands are on us as managers or owners, time must be made to focus on daily, weekly, and monthly sales forecasting and diligent follow-through."
In addition to driving profit, the Gonazaleses say the strategies the course offers enable owners to build the kind of business they want. "These courses are not just about profit," Clara says. "They are about achieving the type of business and lifestyle you dream of--however you define it."
The second course, Costs of Goods Control, will use the completed sales forecasts to show florists how to spend wisely, deliver value and drive profit. The third course, Wage Controls, demonstrates how the forecast helps control wages and retain a team of top talent.
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