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The Tale of Two Florists for AI in Business - Chapter 1

Updated: Jun 26

Flowers in florist shop, roses, peonies
Credit: Harry Fabel

Keeping up with tech changes is no small feat. It’s about knowing how these changes can make a difference and if there's something to gain.

Allow me to tell you a “before” and “after” story, or more accurately, a tale of two generations and how their approach to technology influences how they deal with the financial side of their business. This is by no means meant to be a judgement of either side, but rather to show the two different worlds being shaped around us.

The story starts with the basics but then builds up to include more disruptive technologies that might not be commonplace right now, but will certainly be part of doing business within the next few years.

Here is the Tale of Two Florists.

Chapter 1: Maria and Elena

Older florist in flower shop viewing invoice

Maria owns "Blossom Traditions," a well-established florist shop she’s been running for almost 40 years. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Maria sees her business as more than just a job. For her, it’s a way to add color to people's lives and make a difference.

Young florist in shop with ipad

Maria's granddaughter, Elena, is in her early twenties and shares the same passion for flowers. Inspired by her grandmother and the happy childhood memories of the florist shop, she's opened her own place, "Bloom Innovations," in a city just two hours away from Maria. They often talk shop.

Being from a different generation, Elena frequently questions her grandmother’s operational methods, suggesting new approaches. But Maria is adamant that her way has worked for 40 years. She believes that good business relies on good principles: relationships and saving for a rainy day.

Elena can't argue with these principles, but she believes technology can make life much easier.

Older florist in flower shop in front of laptop

Maria is passionate about her business and loves the flower part, but isn't a fan of the admin side. At Elena’s insistence, she moved from desktop accounting software to cloud-based, making it easier for her accountant to keep track of things.

She operates on cash or credit card for her walk-in customers, but for her contract clients, she sends monthly invoices. These she prints and mails, like she’s always done, believing it's the personal touch that makes the difference. However, it takes time and usually requires a few phone calls to get all the payments in.

Month-end means Maria sits down to enter all her bills into the accounting software. It’s not her favorite activity, especially since she’s often surprised by how things add up. Still, her experience helps her keep things ticking over.

Elena's florist shop is in a trendy part of town, drawing the hip crowd and a good number of corporate clients from the nearby financial district.

Elena also uses cloud-based accounting software, but she runs it from her iPad. She's thrilled with the new features, including an AI-powered invoicing system that automatically follows up on payments and predicts customer payment behavior to reduce delays.

For expenses, Elena is mindful of security but values efficiency. She uses Plaid to link her bank accounts to her accounting software, which uses automation rules to allocate expenses correctly. She checks these daily to stay on top of her expenses.

Two florists with yellow roses in flower shop

At a basic level, Maria views tech as an add-on that is a necessary inconvenience to get used to. For Elena, tech provides her with a window into the heart of her business, which means her iPad is never far. It gives her data and vital information that help her make better decisions and see more opportunities.

The life of a florist might appear to be rainbows and butterflies, but if you pull back the curtain, there are some real challenges. In particular, there's one thing every florist struggles with. This is where tech-savvy Elena gains the advantage.

Read Chapter 2 to hear what it is.

[Story Image Credits: A Booysen & ArtFlow]

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