For many of us, it is a long-time dream to own our own business. Working for yourself, enabling others by giving them employment, building something tangible and profitable – these are all good reasons for turing to your inner entrepreneur and drawing up a business plan. For those go-getters who love the buzz of people, the idea of owning a coffee shop might be very appealing. Café culture is more popular than ever and with our on-the-go lifestyle more people are drinking coffee than ever before. Although coffee giants like Starbucks owns most of the market share, there is a growing demand for unique, independent cafes. The market is continually growing. In 2012, there were over 5500 independent coffee shops listed in the UK. If there was ever a good time to open your own coffee shop, now is that time.
Do your research
As with starting any business, it is paramount that you do proper research before hurtling head-fi
rst into the idea of opening your coffee shop. You can read many books on the topic, but nothing beats learning from other peoples’ experience. Set up meetings with coffee shop ownerswho have already gone through the process, and ask their advice and guidance. More often than not, people will appreciate your honesty and enthusiasm and will be glad to share their knowledge.
As a coffee shop owner, you will need to know every angle of running the business, from what it feels like to take customers’ order to making the coffee to controlling stock levels. It would be beneficial to you and your business if you spend some time working the floor in a coffee shop to get a feel of what it is like behind the scenes. Working in a coffee shop for at least two years before venturing into the owner side of it will not only give you a wide open perspective of what is involved in the day-to-day dealings, it will also help you to better manage your staff once you own your
Location, location, location
One of the very first things you should consider when planning your new business is where it will be located. For a coffee shop, you want a lot of feet passing through, so a busy street or a location close to a train or bus stop will be ideal. Naturally, this prime property will cost more than one in suburbia, so do careful financial comparisons before comitting to a location. Another good idea is to see where the most coffee shops are already. Rather than avoid the competition, realise that different customers want different things, and you will attract your own coffee tribe over time. On startups.co.uk they write that consumers prefer a convenient location over stand-out coffee, something that is evident if you look at Holloway Road in North London which has 24 different coffee shops just in one street.
The grand design
While you are deciding on a locaton, checking out
the legalities of your desired area and speaking to the landlord, you should also be drawing up the plans of what you imagine your dream coffee shop to look like inside. The space that you rent in the end will have a great impact on your coffee shop’s design. Perhaps you were dreaming of big leather sofas and open spaces, but the location that works best for you only allows a few straight-up chairs and a counter area. Speak to professionals who have designed coffee shops before, as they will have trade secrets like how angling your coffee grinder at a certain angle to the counter will maximize the flow of customers into and out of your shop. Also ask professional assistance when choosing equipment such as coffee grinders, display cases or even your funiture, or do extensive research online. Everything from overhead lighting to res
taurant tables can be bought online, often at cheaper than at the shops.
The most important question you have to ask yourself when heading into this endeavour is: “Do I really want to do this?” If you have a love for the industry, for people, for business and an honest desire to own your own coffee shop, nothing will keep you away from success. And hard work plus persistence will bring you closer to it faster. You also should be willing to commit to the coffee shop for a while – think at least ten years. If this sounds like something for you, now is the time for you to join the providers of caffience shots for the masses!
About the Author: Marilu Snyders has had a long affair with caffiene. It has supported her through studies, through cold nights and reunions with old friends. As a writer, she still spends a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops and leaching wifi, with a coffee always closeby.