As soon as I finished High School 20 years ago, I got involved in the flower industry. I got a job working as a sales rep for a big rose grower farm, and afterward, I have been engaged in the business working for different companies for the same industry, including, sales, accounting, buying and more.
After observing companies making mistakes and correct decisions and having long conversations with seasoned expert professionals I believe that I have a pretty good idea of the things that worked and the things that don't when it comes the Ecuadorian Roses business, so here are my points:
1. Don't ever go into a price war; it doesn't matter if you are a wholesaler, flower shop, broker or grower. As soon as you go into the price war or as I call it (the race to the bottom), the end will not be a nice one, for sure your business will lose value, and you will not last. Differentiate yourself be unique, look for the edge where you will be alone, and you can quickly overcome competition.
2. Do take calculated risks, one the most common complaints in our industry is bad-debt collections. At some point extending credit terms is necessary and it is part of this business, but be careful take precautions and calculate your risk.
3. Don't go where everyone is. One of my longtime customers started having financial difficulties in his business, he moved fast and relocated all his business outside the city where all the competition is and began distribution in small towns where he was able to get a better price and save his company.
4. Do make sure the growers that are working with you understand and believe in your business and focus on the growers that support you when you most need it; I would even say that this is more important than quality
5. Do have a deep understanding of the business dynamics, what to do when production goes down? How will I support my customers? Can I handle standing orders?
6. Don't prepay for flowers, I have seen buyers losing money again and again when doing this, don't forget this is a perishable industry and even with the most respected grower's Issues WILL arise, and if you already sent your money, you will not get it back.
7. Do place your standing orders when the offer is high, and prices are low, this will affect you in the long term. Out of need as buyers, we are tempted to place standing orders with growers when prices are high on the open market this will only make us commit to higher rates for the long term.
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