5 LESSON LEARNED IN 2020
2020 was a challenging year in so many ways for business as a whole, and the floriculture industry was among those badly hit by the pandemic. We have seen millions of blooms destroyed, jobs cut, and farms as well as other stakeholders in floriculture shutting down their operations and closing.
Although doing business during a pandemic has been very challenging, it has taught us some extremely valuable lessons. No university can ever teach us what we learn and experience in real life. Take this experience as a means to change and improve how we run our businesses.
Effective and clear communication is essential to establish trust, both, within organizations and externally with customers and other stakeholders in the floriculture business. Constant communication and updates are necessary, whether they’re about the availability of flowers, transportation of flowers, delivery time, or to simply communicate with the other parties in real-time.
We have learned that in most cases, people care and acknowledge the challenges the stakeholders face, be it growers, wholesalers, or florists. The more we keep communication open and transparent, and reply to our customers and employees in real-time, the happier and more informed they will be.
We have learned that during difficult times, the commodity which takes us the farthest is the trust that customers, employees, and suppliers have in us. A business culture based on trust, appreciation and strong relationships with all stakeholders makes a business sustainable and able to flourish in the long run. We should always build and maintain high levels of trust with each customer, employee, and supplier.
Do not depend on a single product to generate revenue, on a single market to sell your product or a single supplier. Make sure to spread across different market segments and be quick to adopt new strategies.
Mother’s Day was at the peak of the pandemic. Due to travel restrictions, there was a huge shortage of imported flowers in the market. Retail florists and wholesalers turned to local growers to fulfill Mother’s Day orders. Due to the perishable nature of these time-sensitive products, we must maintain a cold chain at every level of transportation. The export of flowers relies heavily on air freight, and so, we must test some alternate ways of exporting flowers.
4. Financial Management
No one will deny the importance of financial management and liquidity in running the day-to-day operations of a business. Proper financial management provides a safety net for troubled times such as these.
Having a strong cash position is good for the survival of a business. 2020 gave us plenty of time to look into our finances and based on the results, make some big decisions, such as shutting down operations that are no longer profitable, cutting back on expenses, and revisiting credit policies. All of this results in better financial management.
5. Technological Adaptation
2020 was the year of technology. From communicating with your team and customers on Zoom or Google Meet, and updating your followers on social media to selling to your customers on e-commerce platforms, 2020 will also be remembered as the year of online presence and online shopping.
Growers, wholesalers, and florists can use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to create brand awareness. Posting updates about new flowers, new designs, and engaging content allows businesses to reach a much wider audience base.
As research has shown us, e-commerce sales have increased by up to 30% in 2020, and this trend is here to stay. Invest in your e-commerce website to have a fully optimized and user-friendly website on the right platform that is both, easy to navigate and allows visitors to have a great user experience.
We should take the things we learned in 2020, use them as steppingstones, and apply these lessons to our businesses. For the floriculture industry, this means keeping the communication chain live, responding in quick time, being more efficient in operations, building lasting relationships based on trust with all stakeholders, and being fast to adopt and scale-up technology in business.
The future is still uncertain, and we are still facing challenges. However, we should do our best to analyze the situation, predict future conditions, and understand how we might adapt to them so that we can thrive under any circumstances.