The Secret to get Business Blooming From a New York Florist
In this episode, hear from Starbright Floral Design owner Nic Faitos on how nearly 30 years into his business he's still having fun and finding unique and creative ways to work with clients and celebrate flowers.
As the saying goes, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.
While it might not be true for everyone, loving what you do can make a significant difference on your small business and the experience your customers have.
"It's amazing how many people go to work every day, not realizing how much they enjoy the experience, and they don't transform their work into something that's fun. I'm one of the lucky few that has been able to make that transition," he said.
That enthusiasm and joy in a job well done extends well beyond Nic and his son, who is also his business partner. Your employees will pick up on your happiness and carry it throughout your business to the customers.
"No matter what you do—no matter if it's flowers or if you're selling charcoal, whatever your business is—if you can go to work every day smiling, and you can transfer that feeling to your employees, to your culture, to your customers, you will never, ever, ever, put yourself in a position where you have to feel like, where do I go from here? It's that transference of feeling, that electricity, that emotion, that positive vibe that you're passing along to your clients that makes them want to come back."
Nic sat down recently to chat with Yelp Senior Marketing Manager Ali Schwartz, who works with small businesses in the city and has become a regular at Starbright. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the business for her is the amount of collaboration Nic and his staff put into their events. When Nic was presented with an opportunity to turn his shop into a dance studio for one of Ali's events, he leapt at the chance.
"I've planned hundreds of events, and it's usually pretty transactional when you're talking to a venue," Ali said. "It's like, I want this, can you give me that? And I'm really dictating as the event planner, in that moment, what I want. But that wasn't the case with Starbright. Nic brought different things to the table that we could do and made it interactive. He made sure to get my needs met as the event host, and then did everything and went above and beyond my expectations to put on an amazing event as my partner, not just as the venue that I hired."
The extra effort put in by Nic and his staff wasn't just about making sure everyone had a good time. Nic knows that any interaction you have with a client can lead to many more clients through good word-of-mouth marketing.
"When you're in a highly competitive media market like New York, it costs a lot of money to advertise. It's very hard to go outside of that and make an impact because the market is so expensive. So what you really have to do is make a lot of noise. And you gotta make noise in different ways and find ways to make noise that's impactful. I want somebody to see that video on our Instagram feed or wherever it's posted, I want them to see this and say, wow!" he said.
"And if I can create a lot of those moments, across many different platforms, with many, many different ideas, not just one... I'm building a community of followers. I'm building a community of enthusiasts."
When treated well, Ali says that the community will return the favor to small businesses.
"I talk a lot to businesses during my Yelp day-to-day about the idea of reciprocity. And when we talk about reviews, and a business owner is frustrated because maybe they want more reviews and they want to ask for reviews, I always resort back to talking about reciprocity and the power of it, of providing something so high in quality, really providing that customer service excellence, providing that 5-star customer service to your customers. Doing so, they will want to do something for you, whether that's write you a review or talk about you on social media," said Ali.
If you're open to new ideas and opportunities and you can pass your enthusiasm along to your employees, the customers will follow, according to Nic. The key, he said, is knowing who you are and what your business is all about—a core value proposition you can teach your staff by correcting, not criticizing.
"I believe just as a core principle that I truly live by: You treat your employees and your team members the same way you want them to treat your customers. And where this all congruences is that you're creating a Starbright way. And when somebody new joins the team, I've heard it more than once, they're corrected, not criticized, but corrected—not by me, by their colleagues. They'll say something like, 'Hey, that's not the Starbright way.' And to me, that's emotional when that gets born from the inside. And there is a Starbright way."
These important business lessons have served Nic and the team at Starbright well, and might help your small business too:
- Creating positive work environments starts at the top. If you love what you do as a business owner, that will funnel through to your employees and then to your customers. You are your business.
- You can't have good service without a good product, and vice versa. It's important to focus on both customer experience and quality inventory to really grow your business.
- There's planning for expansion, and then there's winging it. Sometimes it pays to just say "yes" when presented with unique or out-of-the-box ideas by customers or partners. It can lead to big gains.
- What you put into the world comes back. It's hard to predict exactly how positive energy will come back to you, but it always does.
Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Nic, Ali, and Emily, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.
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