Starting a business is something that anyone with a true passion can do right online. If you have a great product or service to offer, there are people willing to pay a premium directly to you. It’s very different from starting a brick and mortar business, which can be very costly. Not only are there rent and large overheads to worry about, but the original startup capital is simply out of reach for the average person.
BloomThat, a website I helped develop for clients in San Francisco, showed me that anyone can create a business online and find profitability with something that they love.
The site was the brainchild of David Bladow, Mathew Schwab and Chad Powell, three friends passionate about horticulture. I knew that in order to be able to make their passion into a business, I needed to determine exactly what they ultimately wanted to get out of the project. This led me to a list of ideas from which I was able to turn a basic concept into a reality. These ideas included:
- Sell flowers to locals
- Set up some form of e-commerce on the site
- Find flowers that would be in season
- Find a source for the flowers
- Provide mobile users with the ability to order flowers
- Deliver fresh flowers faster than BloomThat’s competition
Obviously the business would need a website where the founders could sell their products. That is much easier to do than finding out how to source suppliers, accept payments and ensure that flowers are delivered in a timely manner. Much like before, we solved his problem by going down the list and formulating what could be done to get BloomThat up and running.
- I helped the clients narrow down their delivery prospects to locations where they could guarantee a 90-minute delivery. This helped them further their market research and focus on who they would be marketing to.
- There are dozens of e-commerce solutions. I decided to choose one that allowed the clients to customize it to the way their site looks. With a plethora of payment gateways, it was easy to begin accepting payments and taking orders.
- First, the clients went to local flower sources. They decided to visit a few to make certain that they would have multiple sources for their business. This ensures that the flowers are always fresh and sold in-season.
- Since the business only sources fresh flowers, they could sell only a limited number of arrangements. With a smaller delivery radius, they are always able to meet customers’ demands.
Throughout my journey with the business owners, I learned that there were a plethora of options for delivering the website for their business. When delivering the final solution I chose a website design that was based on simplicity. Furthermore, I learned:
- Great hosting costs money, but it is reliable. Do not skimp on the lifeline of your website.
- If your site is too slow, people will not wait.
- Design your site with the user in mind.
- Keep on top of suppliers and always have a few to fall back on.
- Dealing with customers is great, but accept that there will always be complaints.
- The founders took far too long to realize their dream. Take action and start your site online.
- Putting your business on the map is much easier when you start small.
Business takes time to market and become profitable, but once you start to see profits, you can increase them. Through talking with other professionals and constantly improving the site, I am able to increase profits every quarter and provide an outstanding service that would have been impossible without the internet.Powered by Sidelines