Are you considering starting your own business and launching a successful cafe? It’s a thought that’s crossed many of our minds at some point, especially after a visit to a particularly awesome coffee shop (or maybe even a disappointing one that makes you think you could do better)! There’s no doubt that it’s a lucrative market that’s not going to disappear any time soon, but how can you hope to succeed with so many players already in the game? Here are the crucial steps you need to follow.
1) Plan your business
Early on you will need a comprehensive business plan, starting with market research to justify your endeavour and finishing with a detailed analysis of how you’re going to make a profit and why you’re confident. This will be essential to secure bank loans and other investments; however, it isn’t the first step. Even before all that, you need a basic pitch that fits onto one page and explains why your plan is unique.
2) Plan your location
Assuming your business plan is watertight, the next essential element is location, location, location. Not only does the physical building need to be suitable and affordable, but your cafe needs to be somewhere where you can easily attract passing trade, and ideally even become a local landmark. Do your research and be creative, because this is going to be vitally important to your success.
3) Plan your space
This is the fun part for most people. Creating a unique but practical cafe design is probably the reason you were attracted to the idea in the first place, so it’s crucial that you get this right – it may not be perfect from the outset, but it needs to be right once you start to build up a brand. Consider the layout of your kitchens, bars, seating areas, and even the bathrooms if you want to create an inviting and cohesive space in which to operate.
4) Plan your finances
Before you really get off the ground, financial planning is of course essential. A good understanding of the figures involved will allow you to make the right business decisions and stand a much better chance of succeeding. It’s advisable to hire an accountant, even if they are not a full time member of staff.
To get all the upfront cash you need, look to friends and family for loans and investments as well as banks. You might even be eligible for support from the government or other organisations through a local business initiative in your area. Don’t forget you will need extra cash for emergencies!
5) Plan your costs
Your outgoings are going to become a key concern, as your cash flow needs to remain healthy. Even if you start to take good money early on, your initial costs are likely to be hard to handle at first. Anything you can do to minimise your investment while staying true to your vision will help you turn a profit faster. Shop around and cut costs, just don’t cut corners.
6) Plan your marketing
You will need to create a huge buzz very quickly if you want to hit the ground running with your cafe launch. Networking and spreading word of mouth will be essential. Make sure key local influencers are aware of your business and know why they should be passing the message on. Give out free samples, promotional vouchers, special offers and anything else you can to drum up excitement. When you open, you need your customers to already be converted.
Following these steps should give you the basic structure to open your own cafe! You just need to bring your ideas, organisational skills, cash and a great attitude. How hard could it be?