Owner of Wiggly Wigglers and The Great British Florist, Heather Gorringe, gives us some tips on running a successful business from customer care to useful online tools.

What would be your three pieces of advice for anyone starting a rural business?

  1. No matter what your business is, it’s worth getting a website. These days, the web is the first-place people will resort to for more information
  2. If you can sell online its worth doing. If you can’t do it yourself, it’s worth considering using other online platforms such as Amazon and Etsy
  3. Just go for it and avoid over planning as business can change so quickly

See also: British rural business bounces back after recession - The Great British Florist

Are there any online tools that you find useful?

There are so many tools to access and use depending on what you need and the type of business you are running. Below are some of the tools we use within the business:

  1. Wunderlist: An online organisational and planning tool to record to-do-lists, set reminders and share jobs that can be used professionally and personally to help get jobs done
  2. Resource guru: Paid for online scheduling tool for people, equipment and other resources to keep a track of their whereabouts
  3. Fresh Chat: Software that will provide advice to users of your website, in the form of a messaging service
  4. Slack: Resource that brings team communications together. We use it as a part of our quality control system to check orders have been prepared correctly before dispatch

Customer service must be very important for the business, how do you manage this?

For The Great British Florist, we pride ourselves on the quality of our products and will go out of our way to make sure they arrive in one piece. With weddings, for example, all deliveries are checked before they go out and are scheduled to arrive the day before the event to allow us enough time to correct anything that needs sorting.

With Wiggly Wigglers, quality control is in place at dispatch, we state our delivery times online to help set expectations and we also allow for returns.

What role does social media have to play in your businesses?

Social media is a very valuable marketing tool for us as it is many businesses. However, some of the challenges and problems will now come to us via social media and this has to be managed. In this scenario, it’s very important to respond and as quickly as possible to resolve the problem before it escalates.

Social media is a powerful tool and one that has to be managed effectively to ensure you keep your reputation intact.

See also: Which social media platforms should your business be on?

There is a lot of competition in the online florist market, how does this impact The Great British Florist?

It is a crowded market, however, our USP is the word ‘British.’ The fact that all our bouquets contain some British grown flowers is something that people enjoy. We keep a stem count to ensure we can keep customers informed of how many British grown stems they have helped to grow. This means we can offer a slightly different take on it compared to other online florists.

In addition, we offer wedding consultations and personal delivery which also means our business model is totally different to the likes of Bloom and Wild and John Lewis Flowers for example.

It is a busy market but if you can offer something a little different or find a niche it’s surprising what you can do.

What is it you love most about owning your own business?

I love watching my team grow and develop. You see them come in and mould into a role which they make their own. As a business owner, it’s one of the most rewarding things you see.

It’s also great to have the flexibility when running your own business. With everything online now, it's very easy to pick up work wherever you are in the world which opens up a lot of opportunities.

To hear more from Heather, and her business journey to date, click here.

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