TL:DR: Feelings are contagious, even in business. Especially in business. Here’s how to use that to your advantage.
One, by one the GOW team and our clients popped onto zoom.
“Katie WHAT are you WEARING?!?”
“Oh, these are my Zoom googles. Mallary got them for me.”
From the peanut gallery: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAHHHHAAAAAHAHA.
Doesn’t everyone discuss 7 figure email programs in their steampunk costumes?
And then there were the eco-cats.
The word of the year is
This year, the word found me — at Cultivate. In July. Better late than never, yeah? Or, it might be accurate to say the word has been chasing me, but it finally slammed into my brain when I stepped out of my car in Columbus.
Nobody said the word, specifically. Not that I remember. Nobody declared it the year of ” _____.”
Here’s what they said, though:
- The experience IS the marketing. Me.
- Image congruity is important. People purchase things, do things, listen to people who look like them, doing the things they want to do. Use more images with people enjoying plants in your communications. Dr. Bridget Behe, Michigan State University.
- COVID caused many people to leave their less than fulfilling jobs and start their own creative enterprises. The Katies – My Micro-Marketing talk, Katie Dubow, President, Garden Media Group in her 2022 Trends talk.
- Your employees are healers and solvers. Clint Albin, Industry Consultant and Sam Kirkland, Epicor.
- 40% of spending in grocery store floral departments are impulse purchases and customers report buying flowers to elevate their mental well being. Becky Roberts, Director, Floral and New Initiatives at Produce Marketing Association
Here’s what they did when they saw each other (the attendees, the exhibitors, the speakers, the convention hall staff)
- They screamed (me)
- They smiled (everyone)
- They hugged (many, but not all – and with their faces carefully turned away from each other)
Are ya pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?
My word of the year is, “Joy.” It sounds like the green industry word of the year is “Joy.”
When I am invited to speak somewhere, I spend a lot of time trying to have original thoughts, then I remind myself that I just need to share useful thoughts.
If I thought I needed to be original, I’d be disappointed this year, because, like the hive mind that we are, our industry, at least at the level of scouting, trend forecasting, and trend setting, has decided that we’re going to be joyful, provide joyful experiences to our clients and customers, and we’re going to embrace the makers and creators that left jobs that sucked the joy out of their lives for jobs that make every day a joy. That makes me incredibly happy. (My thoughts were useful, if not original.)
Turns out a lot of those makers and creators are ceramicists (according to Jesse Jacobson, Owner Tonkadale Greenhouse), which is handy for people who sell plants. And “local” has more pull with consumers than “organic” (according to Dr. Behe’s research.) So. . . local pottery you can charge a premium for? Win win win!
Feeling skeptical? Dr. Behe’s research backs us up even further: The numbers say that people who are bored engage more with plants. (Methinks, in order to bring themselves joy.)
Joy works, especially if you’re in the business of plants.
Joy Shared is Doubled
Yesterday I was having a long, long day so I popped into my team’s afternoon meeting for some smilesand laughs. We’ve worked hard this week on top of a hard year and we’re all still tired, but we keep each other going with little moments of levity, and nothing makes me laugh more than when we all put on our zoom costumes. It perked me up for another four hours of labor.
During the call I told Vi I wanted to start my newsletter for the week from scratch. I wrote most of it on Monday while I was still feeling fresh. Now I’m a little “eh” again. How fast our time off wears off!
“No, Katie. Finish it and send it,” they said.
So, even though this morning, Joy sometimes seems a little like reaching, I’m taking my own medicine and saying to myself — remember to work Joy into your day, Katie, because that’s how we get to live, rather than merely stay alive.
Quick Tips to Add Joy to Your Business
I make mistakes every day and I’m the first person to feel like I don’t deserve to laugh and have fun and enjoy my work because of those mistakes. Shame and misery aren’t good for business, though, because they cause burnout and stagnation. They’re also not good for business because feelings are contagious and nobody likes to feel ashamed and miserable.
We’re (royal “we”) all still pretty tired (please take a vacation or staycation this summer to reset) but we can inject energy into our businesses like this:
- Say please and thank you early and often. It sounds so simple, but acknowledging that someone put in work for you, even if you’re paying them, even if it is their job, can really elevate the mood and make everyone more invested. Thank your clients and customers for the time, for visiting.
- Do something new and emote excitement about it. Offer a new pottery line, visit a new garden center, read a book, try a new podcast, and then tell people about it. Tonkadale Greenhouse is great at this, in their emails, their Instagram, and on their website. (They also have people in their plant pictures.)
- Take a four-day weekend, and give senior staff a paid four-day weekend. Everyone is so dang burned out. A Friday-Monday reset is magical. You wouldn’t think four days would do it, but four days without responsibility and accountability, and someone to watch your email box is enough to provide a little reset. “But we’ve never done that!” Ok, well, that’s the something new! You don’t have to do it all the time. You don’t have to do it ever again, but why not give it a try?
- Buy lunch. Have remote staff? Send lunch. On-site staff? Buy lunch. Work for yourself? Order delivery.
- Invite customers to “come hang” and then greet them and talk with them when they get there. Go beyond “Hi! Thank you for coming” and start a conversation. “What new plants are you excited about? What’s been growing like gangbusters this summer? Seen anything cool around town?”
- Create a “freebie” shelf by the register. Put up a sign, “One per customer.” It’s the end of the season. Surely you have something you would throw away otherwise. (A local bookstore in Wilmington does this. It’s fun.)
- Forgive. Make a mistake? Forgive yourself and see if you can fix the process. Staff makes a mistake? Forgive them and see if you can help fix the process. Customer is grouchy? Cut them some slack and smile anyway. (This one is so, so, so hard for me.)
I’m tired, some of these things cost time and money, and I acknowledge that some days I’m just trying to get through, as are you. I have done all of these things, though, and the impact has been measurable — more, happier clients, happier staff, better bottom line, less grouchy Katie —so I encourage you to give one a try!
How to Create Email Response Templates in Gmail in 60 seconds: Find yourself typing the same responses over and over and over again? If you use Gmail, this tool will change your life.
Time Buddy: If you work with people in multiple time zones this is a godsend.
UpWork.com: Great place to find remote help in almost everything, from graphic design to web development, to virtual assistants. GOW hires LOTS of help from UpWork.
Have you tried anything to make this weird heckscape of a work year more fun? I’d love to hear about it.
PS: If we’re not connected in LinkedIn, click here to connect!
PPS: Need help with hiring, email marketing, finding a web developer, etc. etc.? Schedule a 15 minute discovery call here.
PPPS: “Field Report” is one of my favorite bands. I really love their song Home (Leave the Lights On).