How to Open Your Own Coffee Shop
The large number of daily coffee drinkers makes the coffee industry incredibly profitable. You can find money-making opportunities surrounding this caffeinated beverage virtually everywhere. Whether you start a coffee shop, do mobile espresso catering, open a coffee drink drive-through or sell coffee gift baskets through mail order, there are customers who want to buy what you sell.
If you love coffee, you can most likely find a lucrative coffee business opportunity that will fit your start-up capital and your lifestyle. You can start with a mobile service, upgrade to a kiosk or invest in a high-traffic storefront. In addition, you can partner with other companies to cut your expenses and grow your profits – such as event planning businesses, catering services or hotels.
No matter what type of coffee business you decide to start, free samples are always a good way to get your business name out there and get your foot in the door with prospective customers. With a café, you can entice new customers with special events that feature local photographers, painters or musicians. You can often provide this “entertainment” for free, as these artists welcome the opportunity to promote their own talents.
In addition to the traditional advertising opportunities you have in the yellow pages, local newspapers and radio stations, you can print low-cost coupons to bring in new customers. Hold monthly drawings for a “free coffee drink” to get customers to give you their contact information so you can build a mailing list. Another simple technique is to offer discount coffee cards (“Buy 8, get one free”) to encourage people to become regular customers.
Delivering free coffee to a radio station is another inexpensive way to get your business name out there – in front of lots of people. Submitting a press release is a great example – the media will promote you for free if you send them a great news story about your business. This could be as simple is having your friend write a review about your “Café Opening” and sending it to your local paper.
So how do you actually start your coffee shop?
1. Learn your business – different coffee flavors, the various ways of preparing coffee, caffeinated beverage trends and new and different coffee products. Your knowledge will help your business stay competitive and profitable. Get an inexpensive start-up guide on how to start a coffee shop or interview a coffee shop owner who can give you first-hand advice.
2. Discover who your customers are. Obviously, they are most likely caffeine addicts – but what else do they want, and what are they willing to pay for it? (i.e. social atmosphere, relaxing work space, fast drive-through service, healthy meals, late-night hours) When you can create a unique café that offers value to the community, you’ll find it much easier to win over customers.
3. Find out which licenses or permits you need from your local government office. Talk with an accountant, insurance agent and banker (you can get referrals from other local business owners or friends) to get helpful tips on financing, tax issues, insurance and business management that will save you time, money and hassles down the road.
Coffee is generically everywhere. People will pay for something a little different. Use your creativity to design a truly unique coffee service or café environment, and you’ll find that customers come flocking to your door. Businesses that provide coffee products or services can flourish even in a down economy, so if you want to start your business – go for it!
Sue Barrett has been the Director of Business Solutions at Home Business Center, Inc. for over 10 years. Specializing in small and home business issues, she can provide quality insight and reputable resources for those wanting to start, manage and grow their own home-based businesses. Go Here for more >> How to Open a Coffee Shop