Wake up and smell the coffee: how to start a coffee shop

Content provided by a guest contributor.

So you love coffee, and the idea of offering this delicious beverage to others fills you with excitement. A coffee shop might be the perfect business idea for you if you have an entrepreneurial mindset and love to serve and delight others. It might seem like a difficult idea to execute but it can be easy and hassle-free if you follow some basic tips and tricks.

Coffee is fast becoming the go-to beverage for consumers, from business-people to university students alike, and tapping into this industry can be highly financially beneficial for any business owner. This rings true for coffee lovers and those who want to encourage others to try new types of beverages in the coffee family. For those who are wondering how to start a business the process can be simple and easy. Read on below for more top tips on how to start your very own coffee shop.

Ensure your business plan is solid

Now, this might seem like an obvious tip but building your business plan is vital to the success of any business. Your business plan should outline what your business is, what it is offering to the consumers, what your budget is, how you plan to spend it, and how you will make a profit.

It should be clear and easy-to-understand, as you will use this as a guideline for your business going forward and it will be read by potential lenders and partners. There should also be a section which provides solutions for any possible problems that could arise, such as losing out on clients due to a competitor opening their doors in the same retail space as you. You should also include your marketing budget so you know how much you will be spending on this. A business plan is vital for making a success of a business idea.

Decide on what you will be offering

This is the fun part of planning your business, deciding on what you will be offering to the customers. Do you want to focus on coffee and have baked goods to go with it as a side dish? Do you want to create a proper café and offer delicious food as well as well-made coffee? Or do you want to create a bistro atmosphere and provide unique coffee drinks?

You will need to think carefully about what you want your coffee shop to be, as this will help to move the process along smoothly. You should also decide on the size of your business at this point. For example, if you would like to start small as a coffee kiosk in a local mall then you would outline a “coffee-to-go” business model. When you know what you would like to offer the public you can focus on building on this idea.

Location, location, location

Where your coffee shop is located will have a significant impact on the success of your business. You need to be sure that it is located in a place with ample parking space, that’s easy to access, that you can place clear and easy-to-read signage outside of, and which stands out from the competition in terms of look and feel.

You might think that locating your coffee shop in a mall is a smart business move, but the reality is that the rent will end up costing you a lot more than the initial profit you make. You should look for a free-standing business or store-front area for your coffee shop. This will also give you more freedom in terms of design and aesthetics, as you will not have to adhere to the rules of the mall. Be sure to look carefully at the rent and terms and conditions of the lease before you make any final decisions.

Source your equipment and beans

You cannot run a coffee shop without any beans, grounds or equipment. So you should spend time sourcing these vital items by comparing quotes and opting for the one which best suits your needs and budget. You could look at well-known brands and find out what their offerings are for commercial coffee machines.

Be sure to purchase enough beans and grounds to cater to the volume of customers you will receive. This number will be based on your location and so might be difficult to estimate at first, but it is always better to overestimate than underestimate. For example, aim to cater for at least 500 people per month even if there are fewer customers. This way you will not run out of coffee, which could be highly detrimental to your business and reputation.

Market yourself before you open

Marketing is vital to the success of any small business, and a coffee shop is one of the simplest to market to the public. Ensure that your marketing efforts start before you open, as this will ensure that the public knows where you are and what you offer in order to find you and purchase from you. Starting with a business plan is the perfect first step, but don’t forget about your passion for coffee along the way of opening your own business.


The content in this article was provided by Rogerwilco – a South African marketing agency based in Cape Town.

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