Simply Plants – covering unexpected costs

We chatted to iwoca customer Tim Law, founder of Simply Plants, about the business’ roots, rapid growth and cash flow management.

17 December 2018

Hi Tim, could you start by telling us a bit about your business?

Simply Plants spruces up offices across the Midlands and South of England. We also care for the displays we supply and make sure the plants are always in top condition. Plants are like people really, they need a lot of attention.

When did it all start?

The business was started many years ago by my wife at the time, she was a horticultural journalist. She started selling plants at a Saturday market and I gave her a helping hand with the business admin. One day, somebody asked her if she could put a plant in their office and then the business really got going. I took over in 1997.

How iwoca helped Simply Plants

iwoca was able to help Simply Plants:

  • Hire a new member of staff
  • Invest in digital marketing and develop their website
  • Cover unexpected vehicle repair costs

Tim hired a new member of staff to improve the business' digital marketing, including investing in their website and SEO. On top of this, he was hit by unexpected vehicle repairs that he hadn't factored into his budget. In this time, iwoca was able to help him bridge these cash flow gaps.

“We're spending more money on digital marketing and want to develop our website," says Tim. "We've got four vehicles in the business which had to have some major repairs – being able to promptly get funds to help with the cash flow was very much needed at the time.”

“The way iwoca reacts to the needs of small businesses is great. You can plan ahead but unexpected things do happen. iwoca has been really useful for helping us bridge those cash flow gaps.”

Where did the idea to start supplying Christmas trees come from?

It actually started by accident. Someone asked us to put a Christmas tree up in their building and deck it out. From there it really began to take off and is now an integral part of our business – Christmas is our busiest time of the year by far.

How do you cope with seasonal demand?

Everyone always wants their tree within a two-week period in early December so we have to run a tight ship. We get our trees from a local supplier, Digby Farm, and make sure to plan and schedule ahead. I try to be meticulous with cash flow but it can be completely unpredictable. On top of it all, we have to maintain the regular part of the business – fitting in our plant maintenance rounds. It’s a really busy time.

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Dan is part of the content team at iwoca. He writes articles explaining financial topics, as well as guides on the best support for small businesses during coronavirus.

Article updated on: 30 March 2020

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