Spring is in the air!  It’s that time of year when everything seems fresh and new.  Fresh ideas of new plants to try, new marketing ideas, and new goals to aim for.              

The winter 2007 issue of The Cut Flower Quarterly was full of new plants to try.  These included some newer varieties that have been tested by fellow ASCFG members and other introductions by the many seed companies that support the ASCFG.  Having something different for your customers helps keep you ahead of the competition and sets your business apart as someplace special and helps customers remember you.                                             
New marketing ideas are just about everywhere.  Look at what other businesses are doing to make their companies succeed.  Have they come up with an interesting way to advertise or display their product?  Do they do anything special for their regular customers?  Do you have customers that have to have your flowers?  If not, you may need to make some changes in your marketing, or maybe the quality of your product.  Your customers should buy from you because you have a superior product, but also because they like to do business with you.                          

Do you have new goals for this year, or are you still working on last year’s goals that weren’t reached?  Maybe you didn’t get all your succession planting done on time, or keep the weeds under control.  Do you still need that bigger cooler or new delivery van?  Do you want to increase sales by 10%, 20%, or maybe even more?  Make this the year to meet your goals.                                

It’s also the time to find new seasonal help.  This is possibly the most difficult part of having a business.  You may have to interview dozens of applicants, to find just one good employee.  To find one great employee may take years.  When you do find employees who are right for your company, invest in them with not just a fair salary, but also with realistic expectations, and recognition of a job well done. Taking your employees to ASCFG Regional Meetings or even the National Conference goes a long way in letting them know that you value them as an important part of your business.  Keeping employees happy can be as easy (and cheap) as keeping popsicles in the freezer for those hot summer days, or offering paid vacation and other benefits if you can afford the added cost.  Every employee should want to come to work and be concerned for the well-being of your company.  If not, keep looking for that great employee.  They are out there.                                    

I hope to see some of you this summer at Regional Meetings, or at the National Conference in Raleigh this fall.  It would be great to see some of your key employees there too.