We can get very passionate about coffee shops, after all, these are the places where we bond, creating lasting memories with friends and family, just by enjoying a warm drink while listening to each other. To be honest, it is really difficult to find someone who doesn’t want to own one of these businesses, since they are increasingly profitable, non-expensive and very appealing.
With so many resources online, in regards to the management of coffee shops, it can be hard to know where to begin. Just like any other small business, this project requires a lot of resilience, concentration and precise planning; that’s why I’ll share with you the most interesting insights I wish I knew before. Pay attention… Indispensable information is coming your way!
1. Identify the Financial Risks
Selling a product that can be consumed on a daily basis is a powerful feat, and coffee is like a key that can open any door, it makes your business more accessible for anyone nearby. Great for those looking for that pick-me-up drink, or a place to have a little chit-chat; all because it has a market demand so vast, that any urban area with +40,000 residents in the United States has at least one coffee shop.
There are many opportunities inside that $5 billion industry, most businesses can make up to 50-60 percent on gross profit per cup of coffee, that is nearly double the amount a restaurant makes for any item on their menu. It’s a fact, coffee shops are extremely attractive to investors of any kind, but don’t get fooled by the shiny side of things, there’s a lot to uncover.
The struggle to get your project off the ground is real, things can get very complex if we start talking about budgets, providers, taxes, employees, rents, etc. Without mentioning that every result is a direct consequence of your decisions, in other words, the whole weight lies on your shoulders. Being the boss is an overwhelming responsibility, the experience can be equally impactful and amazing.
Here’s when extensive planning comes into play, you need to know how far the plan can go, identifying the risks, and making space for the crucial priorities. Do not chase the impossible, stay true to your numbers and ask questions. Sounds incredible but most business owners are willing to share their stories with you, so take notes and learn before you can play with all the cards.
2. Yes, You’ll Need to Hire and Fire People
Employees are the backbone of any business endeavor, and you need the best to succeed. The hiring process can be difficult, but once you understand its ways and develop a notion for the qualities you want in your employees, it’ll be easier to identify the best talent that is out there! Think about it this way, junior and senior prospects are waiting for your call, so before any compromise, ask yourself what kind of expertise is needed, can you afford experienced baristas? Or are you able to train those who are about to launch their careers in this industry?
On the other hand, you need to monitor the performance of every member of your staff— your coffee shop will be totally susceptible to this factor, especially in the midst of developing your brand- awareness to the public. Missed deadlines, poor standards of practice, and the lack of teamwork sensibility is enough to start an open dialogue with the person in question. But if the problem continues to persist, a replacement might be necessary. As hard as it sounds, sometimes firing an employee can be the best or only solution available.
A healthy work environment is extremely beneficial for your business and staff, it clears the path to that desired autonomy, and makes conflict resolution easier to handle. We suggest to write down the various qualities you are looking for in each employee, this will help you stay focused on the true values behind your brand.
3. Embrace the Lifestyle
Starting a new business is exciting! Everything feels fresh and interesting. Keeping this positive mindset is really helpful, because you’ll need the proper conviction to face the multiple challenges waiting ahead. Some of these difficulties come with the vast amount of weekly hours needed to run a coffee shop that just opened.
To put things into perspective, my friend Jonah, who is in the works of opening up his own cafe, thought he was going to work a mere 40 hours a week, just like any other employee, but this didn’t happen. In fact, he has found himself dedicating more than 70 hours per week to his coffee boutique. “There was too much work to do at all levels, let’s say repairs, placement, branding, testing, etcetera. Once you begin, the little details that you used to ignore, start to appear, and things can get messy, the true remedy is hard work and dedication, I learned the hard way (laughs),” says Jonah while sipping a cup of espresso.
Be prepared, because the longest days of your life are about to happen, you need to embrace this new way of life! Consistent work pays off, and the rewards are endless. To have a prosperous coffee shop is tremendously fulfilling, but success won’t happen overnight— outstanding results take months, or even years to materialize. So enjoy the ride!
4. Don’t Forget About Marketing
Having “The Best Cup of Joe” in town is meaningless when you cannot promote it correctly. A lot of coffee shops deal with this every single year; their product is amazing but sales remain low. The bigger chains understood pretty early that in order to succeed, marketing needed to be a crucial component behind every effort. Best-selling author, and former dot com business executive Seth Godin once said: “Marketing is a contest for people’s attention”.
To generate awareness for your business, you’ll need to implement a wide series of tactics on different mediums like coupons, promos, emailing, newspaper ads, radio, free samples, social media marketing, and much more. Hosting events for the community is also a great idea, allowing the influx of hundreds of customers every week, strengthening your presence.
An eye-opening fact is that nearly 40 percent of customers find new coffee shops thanks to their appealing physical storefronts. Yes, looks do matter, so make sure to display your products and space in the best possible way. In this day and age of Instagram-able photos, user-generated content can be crucial for your business.
5. Understand the Local Demographics
Your community needs to be central focal point in all your proposals and offerings, every region is completely different from one another, and there must be something to take advantage of, if you look very closely to what’s happening around. It may be a state fair, a book signing event, independent music, local trends on Twitter, or many other countless opportunities.
Customers need to feel that you are closer to them, know their traditions, holidays, culture and idiosyncrasies, their loyalty is pivotal for your success. Have you ever experienced the feeling of knowing most of the people that work in a certain place? Being so loyal to a store/cafe that they even remember your name? That’s exactly how you want to treat clients on an everyday basis, make them feel part of something relevant.
Opening a coffee shop will be one of your greatest achievements, but seeing customers happy and having a great time, thanks to your ideas, will be even more rewarding. Don’t forget to enjoy every minute of it! Your positive attitude needs to be contagious. Stressful circumstances and harsher scenarios will come, same will happen with the beautiful moments you’ll cherish forever, all under the delicious aroma we all know and love. Raise your cups and celebrate.
There you have it, Brand My Cafe’s 5 tips when starting a coffee shop. Keep checking back as we will be providing more insightful articles to ensure you have all the tips and tricks for your upcoming business to become successful!
Thanks for reading!
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