Surviving peak periods of customer demand

On Valentine’s Day, happy couples look to love, chocolates and roses; for many business owners, it is the peak of their trading calendar. Here's one florist's strategy for surviving the madness.

It is always important to know when your most successful trading days are in order to prepare for the increased load of business, and the associated rise in stress. For Jodie McGregor Flowers – like every florist, chocolate-maker and newsagent – this takes place around Valentine’s Day.

To prepare for their busiest days, Stu White, CEO of Jodie McGregor Flowers, says many late nights are spent trying to track down stock.

“A lot of it's at 12 o'clock at night when you're sitting down, you're looking at your pre-orders for what people have asked for,” he says.

To keep up with the demand on Valentine’s Day, Stu says they need to rely on their connections with suppliers. This, he says, is where the value of forging long-term, trusting relationships with suppliers becomes most apparent.

A nerd holding a bunch of flowers“You've got to get those, and some of those might be specific things where you've got to hunt down different growers. It might not be in the market and you go, ‘Oh, hang on. I know someone might be able to source … one or two,” he explains.

“We have been around for a while and we've built up relationships. We want to get the right price, but we're not going to murder someone and then not have them put the good things aside for us.”

With the influx of pre-orders alone, new space for storing stock needs to be located, meaning securing the space and potentially paying for it in advance needs to be factored in well ahead of the big day.

“We have to go and get a warehouse or something and ... how do you find that for three days?” says Stu.

While a great deal of additional cash comes into the business on Valentine’s Day, keeping up with the demand over a 48-hour period is quite stressful. Stu admits that while the additional money is great, he would not wish to be that busy throughout the year.

“If that revenue was spread over the financial year, sure, … [but what] you go through to get it done, it's pretty full on,” Stu says.

Hear more insights from husband and wife duo Stu and Jodie on ensuring your customers are happy above all else, how to choose the right growth strategy for your business and its customers, and more on the My Business Podcast!

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