29 May 2013

5 Coffee Shop Business Secrets for Beginners.

1/ Know what you are selling...

You are NOT selling coffee, it's usually something else, for instance in our shop, we are selling a good feeling, community, comfort, an experience and usually a change of mood, from grumpy to grinning in 30 seconds!

2/ DON'T tie your money up in loads stock.

Strict stock control is an absolute must, having lots of stock hanging around means that you are paying effectively for storage space, when those things could be at your suppliers, until you need to order again. You'll find that as with anything 20% of your stock will sell about 80% of the time, concentrate on never letting that run out. But don't waste rent money on space, stocking stuff that sells only slowly.

3/ Don't be a leader!

That's NOT the aim, just be different. When you compete on difference, that enables space for other people to enjoy success within a similar sphere to you. Coffee shop owners needn't be in competition with each other, as long as their differences are highlighted and strong, that then leaves opportunities to collaborate with each other.

We enjoy an excellent cafe round the corner from us, called Michaelangelos and we enjoy supporting them and spending our money in another independent, we love recommending them to our customers too. Yes, we both sell coffees and cakes which is a large cross over but there's also massive differences between us, for example, they do fabulous lunches and we do fabulous networking and events.

4/ Change your way of thinking.

If there is something that you perceive to be a huge negative factor, in your business....twist it around and see the positive! Believe me there is a positive in every negative, you just have to look very hard for it.

When we first opened our shop at the end of a train station platform, people said it was in a difficult location, not much footfall right up to the door and so on. We looked at the premises and saw it's potential as a hidden gem, that turns it around doesn't it! Now it's a truly magical moment when someone discovers us, they open the door from a cold platform and the atmosphere of our coffee shop seems to glow, with warm and welcoming shades of oranges and browns, laughter and chatting, books and flyers, they are amazed by the contrast of how it is outside to how it is when they open that door and the warmth embraces them.

5/ Keep Your Door OPEN!

When you are open, keep your door open! At first people are scared to walk into a new place, you have to remove any barrier that you can and that door can be a big barrier. I have seen people push on our door handle half-heartedly and then walk away when it doesn't open easily.

Keep your door open and make it easy for them to make the transition from outside, to inside, at least until you are established. Bring tasters outside to them on a platter, bring coffee out to them leaving the sugar and so on in the shop, so they have to come in to use the sugar.

What would one of your top tips be to start up a coffee shop?

Please let me know by commenting here.
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