Ten Steps to Own a Coffee Shop — This month’s Coffee Talk is a great follow up to last month’s, “A Coffee Shop Can Become the Core of The Community,” let’s dive deeper into the ten steps for getting started with your own coffee shop.
A successful coffee shop needs a solid business plan because this is one document where you shouldn’t take any shortcuts. Your business plan will be a written document of the who, what, when, where, why, and how to’s of your business. This document will be a part of every step of the initial build and going forward by keeping it simple to start and growing with it may be what you want to do in the beginning. A good business plan will continue to be your working document for your business long after you started. It will help you to define who your target market is, what their needs are, what will keep them coming back and much more. It will be the document that will be needed should you need the funding from the bank.
Location, Location, Location
It’s all about the location of your coffee shop. You may want to choose a location with a lot of foot traffic and surrounding retail attractions. Or you may want to choose a location with a lot of vehicle traffic in the morning that can easily ingress and egress your business. Some owners are going with a trend to open a drive-through business where parking is at a premium and where vehicle traffic is high. A good commercial real estate firm will be able to supply you with population demographics and vehicle traffic counts to help you make your location decision.
We could write a Coffee Talk just about money. As you can see, I didn’t call it funding. The reason is there are so many needs for money during this time that I didn’t want to only focus on funding is because it depends on whether you are creating your coffee shop independently or going through a franchise program to purchase it, you will most likely need to fund the loan for the renovations to the coffee shop, equipment, furniture, and start-up costs for supplies. Make sure you are taking care of your personal finances as well because your credit score will have a direct effect on how the banks will view your request for funds.
Don’t forget to plan for the unexpected.
There will always be those unexpected business expenses. Be ready when the contractor comes to you and says, “we have a problem,” or you decide to add more products to your menu and your initial supplies increased 25%. It’s always good to budget an additional 25% for these unexpected expenses.
The floor plan to your coffee shop is very important to the flow of traffic especially for those who are planning to meet a friend, colleague, or just work a bit at your shop. Planning for a space for small meetings can be an added value and additional revenue, should you choose to charge a fee for the rental of the room. When designing and decorating the space, keep in mind the personality of those whom you want to attract.
Training – Practice – Training – Practice
It’s important to know the techniques for creating coffee masterpieces. You can serve a cup of coffee or a coffee masterpiece. Which one will they remember? It will be all of the attention to detail that will be appreciated.
Market your coffee shop well before you open
It’s now time to work on the most important part of your business, creating a logo for your coffee shop. There are all sorts of websites that offer cheap logos. Be careful not to purchase a logo which is already being used on other sites. Besides the name of your coffee shop, your logo is just as important. It should be strong enough for a person to know who you are without the name of your coffee shop with it, like, when I say “swoosh” you think of Nike and “a smile with an arrow to the right” you know that’s Amazon.
Setting up a simple website to collect email addresses as well as redirect people to your Facebook page is vital, and, don’t forget signage to post outside your location with a sign saying, “coming soon.”
Network – Network – Network
Join your local Chamber of Commerce. Get involved with as many organizations as humanly possible. Hand out your business cards. When ready to open the coffee shop, have a ribbon-cutting event. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to market your coffee shop.
Hire with purpose
Is it time to hire staff? You will know. Don’t hire too early. Make sure you have all the proper payroll paperwork in place.
Set goals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Make them SMART goals which means they need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive.
By following these ten steps in whatever order works for you, you will be setting yourself up for a successful coffee business for years to come. The team at Hard Bean Coffee can help you implement these steps to help open your own coffee shop. View a few of our successful coffee shops: Lumberton Hard Bean Coffee and Midtown Reality Coffee.