How to Start a Coffee Shop Business from Scratch

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How to Start a Coffee Shop Business from Scratch

Building a business from a ground up is never an easy task. In this particular case, you are trying to break out in the industry with hard competition and doing it without relying on an existing franchise and its collateral. So, to turn your entrepreneurial dream into reality, you need to carry out a great deal of planning and spadework. There are so many moving parts that shape success, including the menu, location, marketing, service, competition, culture, etc. But, you need not fret. Here are some essential steps to take in order to maximize your chances for success.

Create a game plan

Do not even think about jumping into it without a solid business plan in place. This crucial document lays out all the resources you need to get operations off the ground and fuel them in the future. Beyond everything else, the plan must be rooted in market feasibility research and accurate financial calculations. So, work out the costs of launching your shop. Since one of the major areas of spending is equipment, so take your time figuring out what to buy (used or not) and what to lease. Moreover, determine your break-even point. Be realistic and try to secure a safety net.

Get in touch with suppliers

The next step is to find and establish fruitful relationships with suppliers.  Get to know who is who in the local business landscape. In countries like Australia, raw coffee prices are stable and micro-roasters seem to be everywhere (although the bubble is popping according to experts). Options in major cities abound— these coffee suppliers in Melbourne, for instance, boast a wide array of unique blends and flavors. In any event, do some research and cherry-pick tastes that will delight your customers. You may also reach out to coffee farmers in your area.

Put together an outstanding menu

Another vital element that impacts all aspects of your business is the coffee menu. Despite what some people claim, there are no hard rules here. What you need to do is make educated decisions based on wants, needs, and preferences of your target customers. In addition, scope out what other local vendors are offering and how that is working out for them. Stay up-to-date with trends that make waves in a dynamic industry. It is probably a safe bet to include options that are all the rage now, such as organic coffee. 

Pick a strategic location

Furthermore, the location plays a pivotal role in your success. Ideally, you are in a nice neighborhood, where most of your customer base is. It is a place that is clearly visible from the street and enjoys plenty of foot traffic. Just bear in mind that you also need to worry about the space requirements: your square footage must accommodate the anticipated volume of traffic, equipment, and furniture. Finally, you might want to be located near airports, shopping malls, campuses, hotels, sports centers, and other hubs of urban life.

Get smart with marketing

One potential advantage of starting from scratch is that you have a clean slate when it comes to branding. There is no inherited baggage such as bad publicity and negative reviews. You have a chance to set yourself apart from the competition right from the get-go. To pull it off, do extensive research and identify your target audience. Get online: build a website, claim business listings, and set up social media profiles. At the same time, explore offline and guerrilla marketing options to gain local support and community goodwill.

Pay close attention to who you hire

Most coffee shops need to fill (some of) the following roles: bartender, bar manager, baristas, accountants, cashiers, accountants, cashiers, greeters, table attendants, security offices, cleaners, and customer service agents. If you want to keep your customers coming back for more, beware of who you hire. Employees need to follow best practices, possess certain traits, and fit into your distinctive, vibrant culture. So, look for something more than experience in the resume. Set clear expectations and prepare your interview questions well in advance.

Cover all your bases

The amount of time you spend planning and fleshing out a business plan will pay dividends later down the road. You certainly get to avoid many headaches, nasty surprises, and financial fiasco. So, arm yourself with facts and figures. Measure twice and cut once when pondering aspects like your menu and location. Hire people who will represent the best face of your business. Do not try to appeal to everyone: find a niche you can specialize in. Build a standout brand that treats coffee lovers to an invigorating experience.  

About The Author

Peter Minkoff

Peter is a lifestyle writer and a recent newly wed living in Brisbane, Australia. After graduating from Australian Institute of Creative Design, he worked as a fashion stylist and also as a freelance writer for few local magazines in Brisbane. Besides writing, he loves shopping, cooking exotic meals and traveling around tropical destinations with his hubby Josh. His future plans are in creating his personal lifestyle blog about everyday life-saving tips. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter.

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