Research & Refine your Business Idea
How can your turn your passion and love for coffee into a successful business?
Just like any start-up attempting to gain ground in the industry, the first thing to do is conduct extensive research, converse, listen and check out what others have done before you. To be on the safer side, you can resort to contacting professionals.
There are various consulting companies and consultants that specialize in the coffee industry. These peoples can provide a framework or give you advice on how to surpass the hurdles most startups face and which things are necessary or not to help you grow.
On the other hand, consulting itself comes at a sizeable cost. The irony is that the first advice you’ll get from these consultants is for you to minimize costs as much as possible. So for someone with little funds, this is not advisable especially if you can do the work yourself.
Converse with various owners of thriving coffee business as possible, look at the common denominator they share in their success and don’t disregard those who didn’t succeed, there’s always a lesson to learn from them
Another way is to get engrossed with the coffee industry. Signing up for coffee periodicals, attending trade shows, check out resources provided by websites like coffeshopstartups.com the “Coffee Shop Starter Kit”, this way you can get credible advice that would really help.
You also need to handle the nitty-gritty like the necessary laws, important rules & regulations on owning a coffee shop, the necessary permits required in the state you want to do business.
Getting space for your coffee business is also important. Likewise, try to have a firm grasp of financial concepts such as loans, positive cash flow and negative cash flow.
The next thing for you to do is to write out a business plan. You plan will clearly show you your financial needs, all the cost you’ll incur, and a timeline that would show you how long you’ll take to breakeven and other important details.
Creating your Business Website
In this time and age, it is unarguable that your coffee shop needs a website. This is one of the key elements to branding your coffee business. With your website, you can share your amazing journey with your customers.
In addition, you can provide merchandise, gift certificates, coffee beans, pre-paid cards, etc. Your website can be used to build up your brand to be among the top in the industry.
As a potential coffee shop owner, it is ideal for you to have a business page on Google so it will be easy for your customers to find you. A simple search in the search engine should provide enough details for your customers to locate you.
Your landing page on your website should be attractive enough to make your customers look forward to locating your coffee shop. It should have high quality pictures and all your product details should be clearly stated as this would help your customers make their choice.
You should also learn the requisite skills to track the amount of people visiting your site. This would give you the necessary ideas on what pages customers are visiting, what pages they spend more time on and what to improve on. You should also learn to track the demographics of where your audience are searching for so you can improve on your product offering for them.
Setting up a website isn’t as hard as it may sound, in-fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses who may not be tech savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website, they’re service is simple and easy to use/setup and they’re currently offering 60% off hosting, including free domain registration.
Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
Marketing Your Business
This is one key area of your business you should focus a lot of energy on, even before getting your space you should have started networking. If you did not do this first, you simply have put the cart before the horse and you’re already one step behind.
A good networking strategy is for you to attend events in your area and share free samples. You can also set up a coffee stand at local markets as a way of people familiarizing themselves with your brand. Your store opening should be grand and should be spread by the tested and proven word of mouth and also on social media.
Building your brand name early would start earning you potential customers even before you open your store. Your customers would be delighted to be pioneer customers, this is very important to a startup as they battle problems with startup costs and profitability.
You also have to establish a connection with influencers around you. Try reaching out to food and coffee blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram influencers, create competitions among potentials customers on social media where they can win merchandise or gift cards and ask them to promote your brand in return. It is important you talk to the precise niche clientele.
If your location is close to a college campus, you can give student discounts and distribute your fliers around the campus.
Setting Goals and KPI’s
Now that you’ve gotten the necessary details to start your coffee shop, you need to create a time timeline for starting up. Just like all efforts regarding business planning, you have to establish goals, key performance index and benchmarks with an estimated timeline that will match your strategic plans. Having a timeline and key performance indicators is not to put pressure on yourself, but rather it’s will push your to get started and at the same time keeping you motivated.
You have to figure which things that needs to completed and cross out those completed ones. You can write this on a calendar.
The timeline will help start you start your coffee business, while the key performance indicators would show how good you’re achieving your objectives within the set timeframe.
We advise that your timeline should be balanced so the pressure doesn’t overwhelm you and you end up being paralyzed. The plan is to start small, but the most important thing is to start. If you work consistently and you work daily in a defined strategy according to your business plan, your progress is assured.
Plan your Finances
Before your start your coffee business, it is important you ensure your personal finances are in order. The reason is because your investment into the business word should not put your entire livelihood at risk. As a startup, things wouldn’t be rosy from the start as it would take you time to find your feet. Your cash flow should be enough to pay for the necessary things that would keep your household running like utilities, feeding, transportation and other living expenses that are basic.
Racking up huge debt to in the bid to finance your coffee shop is not advisable, so in order to avoid such a terrible situation, your business plan should clearly state the amount of money you need for your coffee shop business to start, it’s advisable you increase it beyond your estimated figure to cover for inflation, unexpected costs and miscellaneous expenses.
Separate your funds into 2 categories; one for the coffee business and the other should be used for personal use. It is advisable you open a separate bank account for your business so funds don’t get mixed up.
As a startup, you should understand that you would incur recurring costs like staff salary (including yours), supplies, utility costs, marketing etc. All these should be put into account as any default in one could lead to your business failing.
If you’re having difficulty in raising the required funds you need for the business, there are alternative sources of capital you can access like Crowdfunding, asking your friends to support your venture to entrepreneurship, your family can be a source of support to and finally you can approach the bank with your business plan and ask for a loan, they’ll access the viability of your business plan and consider if it’s worth investing in.
Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset
Some people are born naturally as entrepreneurs while some aren’t. Some people are naturally risk takers while others are risk averse and would rather stick to a business venture that provides more security and less risk for them.
You have to check yourself deeply and ask yourself what category you belong, whether you’re a risk taker or you’re risk averse. You have to consider all the hard work and research you have to put in before you start and decide if you’re cut out for it.
As an entrepreneur the road is not going to be easy and only those that are ready to persevere and see the through regardless of result would last.
An entrepreneur is always creative and they usually have considered all major outcomes and are prepared for all types of scenarios so they aren’t caught unawares.
In most cases, most entrepreneurs usually have a major source of income, usually a full time job, at the same time, they try to run their business too. It is very important to find balance or else you’ll lose both ways.
Giving up is not in an entrepreneurs dictionary as they have the mentality to always persist till achieve their goals.
Everything is an avenue to learn for an entrepreneur, the coffee business does not just limit you to the coffee industry alone, you have to learn about the psychology of people, relating with your customers, the power of social media, web design and how to make your business grow.
Entrepreneurs have always have the mindset that their customers are kings, and they do their best or go to any length to satisfy their customers. They derive joy in seeing the satisfaction on the faces of their customers.
It’s okay if you do not have this entrepreneurial mindset, you can as well develop it. This can be achieved by reading books, listening to relevant podcasts, or you can subscribe to mailing lists that help small businesses.
Other things to consider when starting your Coffee Business
Just like other businesses, there are legal requirements when starting a coffee shop, there’s a lot of paper work involved. You need to have a legal business structure, as this is an important step to protecting your personal assets. It also helps create important parts of your coffee business, like taxes, insurance, setting up your bank account, worker’s compensation etc.
An early thing to consider is find the structure and locality that suits your business best. Check what is prevalent in your country, you can either choose an LLC, partnerships or corporations.
You also have to check for the availability of your business name, if it is not taken or if someone has a similar name that can confuse your customers. Also check for the availability of your business domain name and across the social media platforms that you’ll use.
The next step is for you to register your coffee business name and get your tax identification number.
Accounting & Bookkeeping:
If this is too complex for you, the best thing is to hire an expert that would help track your finances. There are various apps and programs online that can be used for accounting and book keeping like PeachTree and QuickBooks.
Registering your business, trademarking your products and getting the required licenses and permits to start selling in your locality are other things the business expert will help you with.
If it’s just the passion you have for coffee and you don’t know the nitty gritty, you can as well hire a specialist in the field to help you with it. Getting the necessary certifications and seals of approval from the coffee industry will go a long way in customers trusting you more.
Ensure you hire people that share in your vision and understand the purpose of setting up you store. Hiring the wrong employees would only set you back in your business. A wrong employee could even be the downfall of your business.
For some work that would be too tedious for you like book keeping, social media marketing etc, you can outsource it on freelance platforms which would ease the burden on you.