1. RESEARCH THE COFFEE BUSINESS
Opening a cafe takes a big investment in both time and money. It’s essential that you spend time now understanding what it takes to run a successful cafe. This means reaching out to coffee business owners and learning from their experience; finding out what works, and what doesn’t. And here’s the fun part — it also means visiting lots of cafés to get an insight into what you want your business to be like. Consider what you will take from other businesses and what will make you different. Learn about your customer base. Who will they be? What are their needs? What time of the day will be busiest? Knowing your customers well will assist with planning, creating a menu, price points — everything really!
2. DEFINE YOUR VISION
No doubt you have big plans and already have a mental image of your café up and running. Write down what you want to achieve with your café and what kind of atmosphere you want to create. Start collecting photos, menus and design ideas to provide inspiration for how your café will look, what kind of food you’ll serve, and how you’ll make your customers feel when they walk in the door. Having your vision clearly defined will help you be consistent when it comes to choosing a name, deciding on the decor, planning the food, choosing the coffee, picking the cups and defining the way you’ll interact with customers. Remember: you can’t please everybody – the secret to success is to really understand who it is you’re designing this business for.
3. CREATE A DETAILED BUSINESS PLAN
It’s tempting to skip the business plan. “It’s too much work”… “Who’s going to read it”…are comments we hear all the time. In reality, the real benefit in putting together a business plan is less about the final document, and more about the process. The process of writing a business plan helps you really understand your local market and take a close look at the numbers you need to make the business successful. A business plan will guide you through each stage of developing and managing your coffee shop, and will serve as a road map for how to structure, run, and grow your new business.
Your business plan should include:
A summary: What this business stands for, and how it’s going to stand out.
A local market analysis: Who are your regular customers? Who are your competitors?
Your team: What are you going to do yourself, what team are you hiring to do the rest.
A marketing plan: What is your point of difference? How are you going to communicate this?
How much cash you need to get started and where it’s coming from.
Financial projections: Projected Profit & Loss, Cash Flow
A location and lease strategy.