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Posted:  26 Jan 2015 15:19  
Hi folks!  I am a Horticulturist with a degree from Ohio State University.  Recently I have been looking into starting a small interior plant care business.  I am interested in all the reasons I should NOT do this!  Thanks for your input.
Posted:  26 Jan 2015 23:26  
Reasons NOT to start an interiorscape business:
1. Risk of failure...but nothing worthwhile ever happened without someone taking a significant risk of losing everything.
2. Competition from established players in your market...but those established players started out in similar circumstances as yours most likely..."even the mighty oak was once just a little nut like you!"
3. Over-saturation of markets with similar businesses...but you're not going to be just like those other interiorscapers, are you?  You're going to carve out your own niche and do only what you can do best and most profitably...don't chase every dollar out there.
4. You're a "plant guy", so you probably don't know much about business...but you can learn, can't you?  You mastered the concepts of active transport and vapor pressure deficits and soluble salt toxicity, didn't you?  There are plenty of ways you can learn how to master running a business.
5. Nobody's lending money to small startups these days...really?  If you have a couple of credit card accounts with a responsible credit history, you can be creative and use your credit to start a business, or you can enlist friends and family to help out or invest in it, or any of a million other ways that people with very limited financial resources have started successful businesses (watch "Shark Tank").
6. You don't have enough work experience as an interiorscaper to make a go of a one-person startup operation...then GET SOME!  Go take a technician or installer job with a local interiorscape company in your area and learn the ropes on the job.  Most people who start interiorscape companies have done the grunt work at some point in their careers.
7. You want to make a lot of money and retire early...probably won't happen, but that's entirely up to YOU.  You'll probably be as successful as you want to be, to the extent that your commitment to being the best you can be at it is sincere and backed by a willingness to work hard and work smart.

So I guess I just gave you seven good reasons NOT to do it. 

What are you waiting for?
Posted:  27 Jan 2015 04:31  
Here's a blog post by Clem on the subject...

4 Startup Tips for Small Interiorscaping Busi ...
Posted:  27 Jan 2015 14:39  
Wow, what great replies!  It's nice to hear such well reasoned, helpful and supportive comments.  Thanks to both of you and despite some misgivings, I feel closer to taking the step now than I did two days ago!
Posted:  27 Jan 2015 16:28  
Good luck in your new endeavor, Wes, and please keep us posted about how you're doing.  We're all here for you to bounce ideas off and ask questions.  As Barb Helfman always says, "now go get 'em, Tiger!"
Posted:  28 Jan 2015 12:46  
Thanks and its a go!  I will be the process of putting a business plan together over the weekend! 
Posted:  29 Jan 2015 00:04  
In all of Clem's [very good] reasons not to get into this business, you may have missed the advice in #6 - get some experience!  You may know about plants, but an interior landscape business is not as easy as you think it is.  A couple of years of real-life experience will raise the probability of your success from around 5% to around 85% [not scientific probabilities, just trying to make a point.]
Posted:  29 Jan 2015 03:21  
Ficus is correct!
Posted:  29 Jan 2015 16:06   Last Edited By: Wes Williams 
Last two suggestions are great and  your advice is well taken but I contacted several Interiorscape companies in the Central Ohio area and no one is currently hiring. . . so what now?  I guess its probably best to put my plans are on hold until something opens up.  Thanks for the advice saves me from making some big mistakes!! 
Posted:  30 Jan 2015 02:06  
Try some smaller companies, Wes.  Techs come and go, and larger firms are better equipped to handle a departing tech in-house without hiring an immediate replacement than are smaller ones.  You should try every interiorscape firm within commuting distance of your location, large, medium and small.
Posted:  30 Jan 2015 14:14  
Thanks Clem, ahead of you on this one, I went through every local interiorscape company in the Columbus-Central Ohio region and none are currently hiring.  So its obviously not meant to be right now.  I am logging off and moving on. 
Posted:  30 Jan 2015 23:50  
Have you tried posting a resume online?  Not sure what any of the sites might charge a prospective employee (I'm assuming the company doing the hiring pays?), but it might be worth it to keep an active search going in that way while you do other things.  Maybe something will turn up when you least expect it.  Beats the old-school method of constant phone-calling!
Posted:  31 Jan 2015 15:03  
My wife and I have run a small successful medical billing business for 15 years.  No clearly its not interiorscaping, but I have also run a small gardening business as well. My prospective clientele and niche will come from the healthcare field contacts.  I have a Horticulture degree from Ohio State so I do know plants.  Tell me what unique challenges are in this field that I can only gain by working for existing company.  I am a mature, college educated adult with a clear vision of a market niche and what I feel is a solid business plan.  Please just take a moment a list some of the pitfalls that would guarantee a 95% failure risk?
Posted:  31 Jan 2015 16:13  
There are many.  You have business management experience, so that's one off the list.  You're a hort guy, so you have a lot of the background knowledge, but interiorscape is very different from greenhouse, nursery or landscape.  Different plant material, different environmental context, etc.  Hands-on job experience is really important in this segment, and if you're going to be the primary tech, you need that.  If, however, you are going to concentrate mainly on the sales, marketing and management side, and plan to hire techs instead of being one yourself, then it's less important for you to have done the work yourself, but still desirable.  There are many "inside game" issues that techs experience daily...client contact issues, scheduling issues, replacement issues, access issues...that you could have difficulty identifying with and supporting them on without some experience actually doing that kind of work on a daily basis.  The old conventional wisdom about starting from the bottom and working your way up still has relevance in this corner of the green industry.  Without knowing you personally, I can't say whether you might be the rare exception to that or not.

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