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How To Do A Performance Review and Set Annual Goals (For Floral Designers)

Earlier this week, I took some time to look back on 2022 and take stock of all our growth and wins for the year. If you haven’t taken the time to reflect on your year, I highly recommend writing it out or making a quick note on your phone! It’s so important to celebrate your accomplishments and give yourself a big pat on the back. It is a wonderfully motivating and energizing way to enter the new year.

Amy Balsters, The Floral Coach®

Now that we have looked back with honesty and taken a moment to appreciate what we did do well, let’s dig a little deeper with a performance review and setting specific goals!

Why? Well, it is a really valuable and insightful opportunity to position your business, your staff, and yourself for a year of alignment in your work, creating greater balance, higher profits, and overall better performance. Really, it’s about setting in motion an intentional year and the pathway to get where you want to go. 

If you’ve never done a performance review and goal setting, this time of year is the best time to start. This natural ebb into our slow season ought to be embraced. It’s time to prepare for the year to come. I like to set my goals at the beginning of the year and break big goals up by the quarter (every 3 months) and check in with myself weekly or monthly to ensure that I am staying on track, prioritizing my vision, and even editing and refining goals as the year progresses. 

In part one of this two-part blog series, I’m going to share with you a few key areas in which I review my business and set goals. I give you a few examples of the kinds of questions you can ask yourself, and the kind of goals you can set in 2023 to address and improve your performance. You and your business may have different needs, so of course customize the concepts to fit. It’s the exercise that counts!

A word of caution: it can be emotional and even a little upsetting to look back and get real with yourself. If you’re struggling to be reflective without disappointment, shame, or anxiety, take out that list of accomplishments and sit with your pride. When you’re ready to come back, remind yourself of why you are doing this exercise. In evaluating your performance, you can grow from your setbacks and create a path you can be proud of: one that serves your goals, your community, and your customers better. 

After all, flowers grow in dirt, don’t they? So let’s get our hands dirty and watch ourselves grow, too.

Amy Balsters, The Floral Coach®

Your People

The Performance Review

It can feel a little better to put someone else in the hot seat to start! You might not think you have “staff,” but you might have a surprising amount to consider here. Consider having regular performance reviews for your team, your freelancers, and really anyone who supports your business, I highly encourage it! These are questions below you can ask yourself and your team to get started on evaluating how the year went! For instance:

  • How did your freelancers perform this year? Were they reliable? Did they possess the skills you need (design work, styles, speed, break-down help)? Is hiring freelancers profitable or dependable compared to hiring a new part-time staff member?
  • Alternatively, if you have no staff or freelancers, how many times this year did you wish for help? What kind of employee would help you be more profitable, more productive, more efficient, or help you with marketing and getting more clientele if needed?
  • And if you do have a team, ask yourself: did your team meet your expectations? Have you staffed for the roles that you actually need to be filled, or would another type of assistance serve your business better?

The Goal Setting

Now that you’ve reviewed your team, it’s time to set some goals. Ask yourself these types of questions:

  • Should you seek out (new) freelancers? Review your season/ workload and schedule them two months in advance. You can look for freelancers at:
    • The local wholesalers. Ask if you can post something or if they would be willing to send out an email to their list. 
    • Post on the job board at your local community college
    • Post on social media

Get the word out about needing help and then keep track of all inquiries. You may need someone later in the year!

  • Hiring! If you keep thinking about how much help it would be to have another designer or someone sweeping the floors, answering the phone, washing buckets or even just resetting your studio on a Monday, it’s time to hire. Heck – maybe a bookkeeper is really what you need the most! Figure out the role that will most quickly help you meet your goals, and do it! 
  • If hiring is not in your budget, but your workload is unmanageable, maybe it’s not time to consider staff up, rather it’s time to reevaluate your workload. Not all businesses grow, some need to be scaled back to meet other needs and that’s ok! 
  • Schedule performance reviews with your team.  Develop goals together for improving performance or skills and schedule quarterly check-ins. Additionally, acknowledge that performance reviews aren’t only an opportunity for you to talk through challenges and celebrate wins! It’s a two-way street and an opportunity for your team to give you feedback as well. Feedback is critical to growth. It may not be accurate, or even something you agree with, but approaching it with grace and an open mind can truly help both sides grow.
Amy Balsters, The Floral Coach®


The Performance Review

Do you know the difference between a hobbyist and a professional? It’s self-evaluation and self-assessment. It’s like checks and balances. If we’re unwilling to be honest with ourselves, our growth and our business can suffer. This takes courage and honesty but instead of beating ourselves up, consider starting with ONE THING that you kept coming back to in the past year that can be improved upon. A full review is helpful but if you need to start somewhere, it’s better than nothing! Choose the quickest or most impactful win and then use that momentum to keep up the progress. 

If you’re struggling to assess yourself, imagine you are your own staff. What feedback would you have? Maybe you:

  • Found yourself too often in conflict with your staff. Were you communicating poorly? Did you set and communicate realistic expectations?
  • Did you feel walked all over by other vendors, your staff, your wholesalers? Do you need to work on setting boundaries?
  • Maybe you hired staff to perform tasks, but you couldn’t let go. You always feel like you gotta do it yourself and it’s totally burning you out.
  • Maybe you have perfectionistic tendencies? Quality is one thing, but maybe you are sick of working until midnight! You want everything to be perfect but you have a hard time calling something done. 
Amy Balsters, The Floral Coach®

The Goal Setting

Recognizing opportunities in the work we do is a first step. Now it’s time to take action. What are your growth goals in this area? Here are some ideas!

  • Starting weekly or bi-weekly therapy! Therapy has been a critical part of my journey as a business owner and designer in learning how to grow as a person and address my triggers. Maybe you need support outside your business to deal with “your stuff,” improve your communication skills, or even just let off steam so you’re feeling less on edge when you walk into the studio. 
  • Completing a management course: maybe on, listening to an Audible sitting in traffic, checking out online courses at your community college, or even with another designer you admire!
  • Setting guardrails for your collaborations. Maybe fewer photo shoots, fewer freebies, and fewer “yesses.” Create some rules for yourself and refer to them every time an opportunity shows itself. 
  • Limiting your participation in certain areas of your business by having a goal and expectation-setting meeting with the task manager. Then schedule weekly or monthly meetings to check in and otherwise let it roll. Regularly remind yourself that allowing your team to operate independently empowers them to do their best work!
  • Learn and practice design techniques like the spiral hand tied! (Speaking of… have you heard we launched a super quick, approachable, and effective course on this topic? Check out our new program, Bouquet Essentials)

If you are new to taking an honest, deep-dive approach to reviewing yourself and your business, I want to encourage you to take one small action step today, even right after reading this! 

Let me know if you dove into one of these areas and next week we’ll dig into three more areas for performance review and goal setting: your product, your network, and your business!

See you then!

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