If you think we are living in a Starbucks world, you cannot be more wrong. However popular the brand has become, there is still room for small, cozy coffee shops where you just can unwind, drink a cup of joe and indulge in a discussion with friends or join a social media debate. And considering the fact that americans alone drink 400 million cups of coffee per day, one can say it can be a pretty fruitful business.
So if you’re flirting with the thought of opening your own little shop, then you should first ask yourself these question:
Are you passionate about it?
Like in every business, passion is the key. This is especially essential when working in a business where you have direct contact with the consumer. As the owner you need to be there everyday entertaining your customers and you should be involved in making the coffee as well (you should definitely take a barista class). In this way, you build trust and relationships that thrive and help grow your business. Create an atmosphere that will get people to keep coming back. This is something that can only be attainable through passion.
What do you want your coffee shop to look like?
First of all, what will be the core of your business? Should it be take away or do you want people to meet with friends and sit at a table? Or both? You have to design the place so that it is easy for customers to go in and out quickly, especially that most of them will probably want to get a coffee and run off to work. Also, think of your target audience and what they like. Should you go for a vintage look or a modern design?
How much help will you need?
In the beginning you probably won’t need to hire a full time staff, but you still may need help. A one man operation can be exhausting. You can find part-time help or you can get help from your family and friends, if they are willing. Just a couple of hours a day can make a great difference to your mental and physical state.
How will you attract customers?
Location, location, location! This is your first step: finding a location for your business that has plenty of foot traffic. Your best bet is to find a place near office buildings or subway exits, populated sites in the morning or during lunch time, where plenty of professionals walk by every day. Don’t get scared if there are other coffee shops in the area. This may mean there is are lots of request and scouting the competition will give you a great advantage from the beginning. Offer something no one else does.
What products will you offer?
Coffee, yes…and what else? How many types of coffee and how many options will your customers have? Will you be making custom drinks? Are there any foods you want to sell like muffins or brownies or fruit? Having options can be a good thing, but having too many options from the beginning can result in loss, so prepare a long term strategy and gradually add or change your menu to see what works and what doesn’t.
What makes you special?
How will your business be different from any other coffee shop and what will make your customers come back every day and, even, tell their friends about you? Besides the delicious coffee (which is a must, no matter what else you do), you have to offer extra benefits that will make you stand out from everyone else on the block.
Answer these questions and you’ll be on the right track to opening a successful coffee shop.
Photo via VisualHunt.com