Friday, March 22, 2013

So You Want to Open up Shop: 5 Tips to Help Make Your Coffee Shop Dream a Reality

Tips to Help Make Your Coffee Shop Dream a Reality
You find yourself out and about one day and notice there’s a vacant storefront with a “For Sale” sign in the window. It’s located on a main street in a quaint little town and you can’t help but wonder…could this be a sign telling you to follow your lifelong dream of owning and running your very own coffee shop?

At CoffeeCow, we believe in people living their dreams! To help take some guesswork out of the process, we’ve compiled a list of the basics – just 5 simple tips that can go a long way when applied to your coffee shop idea, making it a dream come true.

1.  Do your homework! Find out everything you can about running a business and your product - coffee (your many years of experience drinking coffee will only take you so far). Write up a business plan, get advice from other business owners, and learn about any permits and licenses you’ll need to obtain for the location you have in mind.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • How much money will be needed in startup costs to open the coffee shop?
  • Who will be your competitors?
  • When should you open and close up shop?
  • Should you sell other items? If so, what?
  • What promotions will make sense to offer?

2.  Serve good coffee. By “good coffee,” we mean the high quality stuff - the stuff that will keep your customers coming back and loyal to you over your competitors. If you have good coffee at a reasonable price, you’re one step closer to winning your customers over for the long haul.

3.  Cleanliness, atmosphere, and organizational culture can make all the difference. Ever walk into a dingy coffee shop that felt dirty and upon ordering your drink, you were told to come back in 10 minutes by the employee behind the counter who was too busy on the phone to serve you? Chances are, you’d NEVER go back to a place like that, so don’t expect your customers to, either. If you’re coffee shop is clean, the atmosphere is inviting, and your employees are friendly – you’re another step closer to winning more business.

Also make sure to treat your employees well, too. The happier they are, the happier the customers are, and that makes a happier you!

4.  Speaking of customer service…it’s all about customer service! When it comes to coffee shops, word of mouth can play a big role in someone choosing to visit (or not visit) your establishment. If you hire people that share your vision for the coffee shop and are a good fit for the culture, the possibilities are endless.

5.  Prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically for the road ahead. It takes a ton of hard work and dedication to run any business, and things won’t always be on the up and up. Preparing yourself and your family for the unknown (and possibly bumpy!) road ahead is a good start.

And remember, work isn’t everything. Always make time for family, friends, and yourself! A little R&R is a must. Regular exercise and a social gathering here and there can help refresh the mind and body, leaving you ready to take on another day.

For more helpful tips, check out these articles from December of last year:

If you own/owned a coffee shop, please leave more tips in the comments below!

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