In today’s fast paced society, it’s not a surprise that the consumption of coffee is on the rise. For those that are looking to take advantage of a stimulated market, by combining their passion for coffee and entrepreneurial desires, the time to open their own coffee shop is now. If you’re looking to start this type of business, these tips for how to open and run a successful cafe should help.
Retain the Services of an Accountant
Arguably the best first step of starting any new business is getting professional help from specialists. For a brick and mortar café, hiring an accountant to manage your financial situation, and ensure you stay on task with taxes and other regulations is a good first step. By hiring an accountant first, you’ll be able to focus on the business side of starting your business, like creating a solid plan, finding the right location, hiring the right people and more. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that a financial wizard is working for you.
Consider an accountant to serve as your personal business consultant. Just make sure you find one that has confidence in your ability and will help guide you to success.
Establish a Good Business Plan
Creating a business plan is typically the first important step that guides a business to success. The business plan is intended to provide you with a road map for creating a coffee shop that will cater to the needs of your customers. A good business plan will explain what your business does, who your customer is, how you intend on being a success, and the challenges you face from competition, financial restrictions, and other areas of concern.
Before you commit to creating a complete, long-formed and highly technical business plan, start by creating an outline, or an elevator-pitch style, one-page sales pitch. This technique will allow you to simplify your goals and objectives, while providing an outline to determine if your plan is viable or needs some adjustment and additional thinking or planning. It also provides a better way of measuring the opportunity for success when it’s written on paper.
Research and Choosing the Right Location
Read any guide for successful café tips and you’ll notice that the location is a critical component. It’s always a good idea to look for a central-located business, in a part of town where people that would visit your café already congregate. It’s also important to find a building that is set up with the right layout, electricity, gas, and other critical elements needed to power a café. This step will take time, so don’t expect to locate the perfect spot instantly.
Develop a Design and Floor Plan
A successful coffee shop has a layout that is warm, welcoming, spacious, yet intimate. This is why the next step is to create a floor plan for the design of the coffee shop that is customer and employee friendly. Make sure it has enough space for employees to complete their tasks easily and with limited restrictions; which ensures safety. You should also make sure that customers have plenty of space for seating and are comfortable.
A helpful tip is to visualise the layout and consider each scenario that could happen. Does the area seem welcoming for customers? Can employees easily access their tools and supplies? Putting these ideas on paper will help you review possible layout issues and create solutions.
Consider the Big Picture
While it’s easy to get technical with the interior layout and design of your coffee shop, it’s critical to maintain a big picture perspective. You should consider the exterior design, including determining parking, signage, landscaping, and other features that will attract people to your coffee shop. It’s important to think about the exterior condition of the building, ensuring that it’s properly insulated (in cold weather climates) or offers air conditioning (in warmer areas).
It’s also a good idea to consider renovating the exterior and making a big deal about it. Sometimes, creating a buzz during construction will draw attraction of potential customers that drive by the location. These are minor marketing tools – but can be very effective.
Be a Smart Shopper for Supplies
One of the leading problems with opening any new business is finances. Leading café money tips recommend being fiscally responsible during the planning and initial development phases, but without compromising quality for safety or structural integrity items.
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to always get more than two estimates or price quotes when you’re planning any purchase. This will ensure you have ample time to review bids and pick the best possible deal. You should also shop or search online for furniture and other décor items, as you’ll usually find the best deals on the internet.
Locate Superior Suppliers
Dependable suppliers are crucial for any business – but can make or break a coffee shop. A café specialises in making fresh, great tasting, and high-quality coffees and speciality beverages. To be successful, you’ll need good suppliers for milk, fresh produce, bread and pastries, and of course, coffees. You’ll likely offer high-quality teas, so you’ll also need to find suppliers for supplies ranging from cups, napkins, lids, stirrers and more.
A café also requires professional cleaning supplies, that are usually specialized for restaurants. It’s a good idea to seek the advice of other local specialty shops like bakeries to ask them about their suppliers.
Budget for Your Own Expenses
When you’re starting a business, that requires time, effort, and takes you away from other money-making opportunities. It’s important to create and set-aside a budget for your own expenses, so you don’t have to worry about your own cost of living. It’s important to realize that most start-up businesses are not profitable instantly. In fact, it can take about six-months in most cases.
When you’re starting a new café, make sure to set aside money to at least cover personal expenses. You’ll also want to spend time researching correct cash flow, purchase and loss, and other financial services, that a professional accountant can help you understand better.
Begin the Marketing Process Prior to Opening
When you open your café, you’ll want customers to break down your doors. To accomplish this, start the marketing program early and often.
Some easy and affordable options for early marketing include:
- Deliver free coffee to businesses close to yours with opening day fliers.
- Develop a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter for starters. Instagram is also a good idea.
- Attend local events like farmers markets or community fairs and give away samples, along with coupons.
- Start a direct mail campaign and create fliers with coupons attached for door-to-door marketing.
- Contact the local media and let them know about your new business; especially during your construction.
Don’t Hire Impulsively
The key to success in any business is reducing overhead expenses. Since it’ll likely take time for your new café to generate frequent or consistent business, you should hire slowly and gradually. It’s important to hire the right people too, those who are positive, warm, welcoming, and have solid work ethics that represents you and your brand.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
It’s challenging to start a business. You’ll spend a lot of time, effort, and invest sweat equity during this process, so it’s important to maintain a positive attitude as much as possible. The old saying “fake it till you make it” is quite applicable for new business owners, as it helps them stay focused, and maintains positivity for those surrounding you. Be sure to consider insurance options for your cafe business.
Network Like Crazy
A new location with high-quality coffee, tasty treats, and a warm environment without customers is difficult to stay open. To help you attract business, consider joining your local chamber of commerce, local charities, and other community groups. Network with local business owners, LinkedIn, or community online forums. Those who visible in the community will generally create multiple opportunities for networking.