Starting and opening a coffee business can be exciting and daunting at the same time. There are hundreds of decisions that you’ll need to make for the completion and opening of your business. Having a list (like the one below) can help you prepare for your coffee shop or coffee stand business. Your positive and creative outlook is essential here.
Each item below poses an opportunity for you to exercise creativity and differentiate yourself among your competitors. Certainly, this is not a complete list, but it’s a good start to help you get your mental wheels turning. Go through each tip, consider how you can apply it to your coffee business plan. We wanted to create a different kind of list by adding space and arrows between each tip. We hope that this allows you to focus on each of the a split second longer than if it were simply placed in a numerical list.
If you want to start and open a coffee business, feel free continue to explore our long list of coffee business articles. We hope that they help get you thinking about the steps you need to take to get to start your own successful coffee business. If you are ready, and want to take your business planning to the next level, consider our complete Coffee Shop Business Startup Kit.
Here are 100 Tips to Consider Before Starting a Coffee Shop Business:
(In no particular order)
Tip #1: Determine who your customers will be:
Understanding who your market is will help you determine your product, service, and competitive advantage.
Tip #2: Get your personal finances in order:
Embarking on a business requires money, but you want to ensure that you have enough to pay the rent, food, and other basic expenses.
Tip #3: Understand your personal budget
Effective personal money management will be important as you begin to invest and expose yourself to the risk of your coffee business venture.
Tip #4: Begin to separate your personal living expenses with your startup expenses
You can do this by saving money in a separate bank account or dedicating on income stream (such as your partner’s or spouse to your living expenses.
Tip #5: Determine how much money you will be able contribute to your business
As you get your finances in order you will begin to realize how much you can personally contribute to your coffee shop startup.
Tip #6: Sample local coffee roast profiles
Chances are you will be working with a local roaster, start early by exploring new local coffee roasters and their particular coffee roasts.
Tip #7: Learn about coffees and their origin
Learning and eventually training your employees) about different coffee and their origin is essential. By doing this, you will move yourself from the bottom half to the top half of coffee businesses. It’s hard to imagine walking into any specialty shop (from cheese, bread, to electronics), and discover that the owner or employees don’t know anything about the products that they are selling.
Tip #8: Develop your business concept
Spend some time day dreaming about your coffee business. Imagine the space, the themes, the colors, and product and serving offerings.
Tip #9: Develop your mission statement
Having a one sentence mission statement can help you keep your “eye on the ball” when things get busy, messy, and confusing.
Tip #10: Plan your menu
You menu is the cornerstone of your business. It’s the very first thing you should figure out after you decide to move forward with your coffee business.
Tip #11:Make friends with a plumber, electrician, and carpenter
(or get recommendations)
While this might not be the first thing on your list, you should begin to put your “feelers” out there to find good contractors you’ll most likely need.
Tip #12: Visit coffee shops in and outside your location of interest
Get to know what your local coffee shops. Spend time there. Test their coffee, experience their customer service.
Tip #13: Observe what coffee shops are doing right (and wrong)
What are your local coffee shops doing right to increase sales, retain customers, and boost their branding. On the other hand, what are they doing wrong? Make notes of this as you begin to develop your concept and hard planning decisions.
Tip #14: Sample food vendors
When you decide on your menu, begin sampling local vendors (bakeries, bagel places, etc.) who have wholesale accounts. Start early and cast a wide net. Experiment. Explore. Have fun!
Tip #15: Choose a business name
While it’s important to come up with a personal and locally identifiable name, you should make sure that you pick a name that does not violate any trademarks.
Tip #16: Attend a coffee event/ seminar/ fest/ or talk
If you are lucky enough to live near a major coffee event or seminar, you should take advantage of it and attend! You want to invest in flying to the nearest one in your area. But if you do so, consider really researching to make the most of your trip. Meeting vendors, talking with experts, and coffee business veterans can be helpful and insightful.
Tip #17: Get your website domain name
If you are leaning towards getting your coffee shop started and are already dead-set on a name, get your website domain early. Visit HostGator or Blue Host to get started.
Tip #18: Create a website
Having a web presence is more important than ever. Getting your website up and running will help you generate “buzz”. If you are feeling you are not wanting to share your idea with the world yet, you can put up an “under construction page” while you work “behind the scenes” developing your website. To get started visit HostGator or BlueHost.com
Tip #19: Start your social media accounts
In addition to getting your website going, you will also want to get your social media accounts up You can slowly and deliberately build a local following.
Tip #20: Speak directly to other coffee shop owners, pick their brain
It’s always important to hear from experts who have been through the exact thing you wish to go through. We’ve created an excellent startup kit with multiple interviews from coffee shop owners to coffee business experts who can shed light on the path you may want to take with your own business.
Tip #21: Collect emails via your website
(for your launch)
Email marketing is nearly three times more effective than social media work – and requires about the same amount of time and effort. With emails you can notify local supporters of your upcoming Grand Opening. After your opening, you can notify customers special drinks, prices, or special events.
Tip #22: Count customers near your planned location
Before purchasing your turn-key coffee business or starting from scratch, you should consider counting customers. Counting customers can help you make better decisions when it comes to your anticipated sales, break-even point, and valuation of the business itself.
Tip #23: Start writing your coffee shop business plan (and get started today!)
Your business plan separates you from the dreamers. Having a business plan in hand will be important when pitching your business to investors and property managers – and it will help you make better, more informed financial decisions.
Tip #24: Develop a complete budget
Before meshing out your budgetary plans, you will need to add up your costs and apply that against your anticipated sales.
Tip #25: Look at physical locations
Start looking for potential spots for your coffee shop or drive-thru business – keeping in mind the need for access to customers, tax considerations, real estate costs, labor, and other regulatory issues.
Tip #26: Remember the cheapest leasing location may not be the best option for your business success
Our Coffee Shop Business Starter Kit has an excellent audio interview focusing on coffee business leasing topics that we strongly recommend you listen to. It provides a detailed discussion on your important leasing options.
Tip #27: Talk to neighboring businesses before signing a lease
Before signing a lease, you can learn some valuable information by visiting with neighboring businesses. What are current or anticipated issues? Crime? Taxes? Competition?
Tip #28: Research Tax codes
Tax rates can very between city, county, and state. Make sure you understand each layer of taxes and understand your reporting dates.
Tip #29: Study real estate trends
Since your rent and insurance will impact your monthly costs, studying trends is essential especially when you are going to sign a lease for a specified period of time.
Tip #30: Understand your local health department’s requirements
Having a positive relationship with your local health department will benefit your coffee business. Viewing them as a positive partner can help you run your coffee business successfully.
Tip #31: Review your local Building’s Department guidelines
Ensuring your space is “up to code” is vital. If you are planning on major remodeling, you should speak to your local Building Department.
Tip #32: Establish your legal business (Create an LLC or Corp)
Establishing your legal entity allows you the tax benefits and legal protections you will need to start your business.
Tip #33: Open a bank account in your business name
After you get your LLC established, you’ll want to open a bank account early. Make sure you don’t co-mingle your personal money with your business cash.
Tip #34: Know your coffee equipment needs
Along with your location choice (and subsequent lease), choosing the right coffee equipment for your coffee shop is incredibly important. Our hour-long audio conversation offers an insightful conversation (potentially saving you thousands of dollars).
Tip #35: Apply for a business license
After you get your LLC formation confirmation, you will then apply for your business license (you may be able to do this at the same time if you get a service like Legal Zoom to do this for you).
Tip #36: Attend coffee cuppings regularly
Get to know a variety of coffee profiles – and anticipate serving those you like at your shop. Attending coffee cuppings help us to stop and think about the quality and joy of serving a great beverage!
Tip #37: Invest in an excellent espresso machine (It’s the heart of your business)
We provide a great discussion on your coffee equipment you will want to hear. We cover everything from your espresso machine, coffee grinders, and more importantly – your approach you should take when starting your coffee business. (This interview can be heard when you get our Coffee Shop Startup Kit)
Tip #38: Invest in good coffee beans (it’s the life blood of your business)
If coffee is your business, shouldn’t you provide the best possible beans you can find? I prefer going local and finding a coffee roaster that provides you with the right coffee profiles and contract that benefits your business …. and your customers!
Tip #39: Consider local milk companies or dairy farms
Milk is an important element to your coffee business. While you can simply go to the store and pick up gallons of milk (as needed), you might be surprised of the good deals (and quality) of milk that come directly from your local dairies.
Tip #40: Know the local labor laws (federal, state, city, and county laws)
Local labor laws obviously impact your business. Get to know all the laws and requirements you will need.
Tip #41: Explore coffee roasters
Many coffee shops offer a variety of coffee blends from several local roasters. You may also consider offering a variety of coffees from different roasters. The fun part is exploring the local coffee roasting operations in your area. While tasting their coffee, make sure you get detailed information on the types of contracts they are looking to create. Choose a local roaster you feel comfortable with and that can offer any additional training for your employees.
Tip #42: Get to know local baristas
The baristas you choose can either improve or sink your business. Start early and get to know local baristas in your area. Perhaps one day, they will be working for you in your coffee shop business!
Tip #43: Create your logo
Having a logo that stands out and the represents your coffee shop will be important. You may need to experiment a little and get several mock-ups before deciding on your final logo. Start early. Visit websites like UpWork.com and Fiverr.com to find an affordable graphic designer.
Tip #44: Develop your branding
Your Coffee Shop’s Brand is critically important to your business as a whole. It creates a certain level of expectation, confidence, and plays into your competitive advantage.
Tip #45: Start your marketing/promotional goals and objectives
Figuring out your objectives will become clearer to you as you start your business plan.
Tip #46: Get familiar with hiring laws
You will most likely be hiring at least one employee. Because of that you will need to be familiar with laws in your area. Visit your stare department of labor for more information.
Tip #47: Decide on a location
Deciding on the “right” location will impact the success of your business in the long run. However, choosing the right location needs to be juxtaposed with the costs of your lease (and the terms), the competition, foot traffic, and other factors.
Tip #48: Review your lease before you sign it (get help if necessary)
Your lease can either support your business or completely ruin your business. We encourage you to get help if necessary. At the very least, consider listening to our informative interview that is part of our coffee shop startup kit.
Tip #49: Determine your break-even point
Determining your break-even point will be an important part of your business planning.
Tip #50: Understand how much money you will need to raise (and borrow):
Figuring out how much money you will need to raise before you spend any real money will be an important element to your business. Many coffee shop entrepreneurs fail to do this only after spending thousands of dollars.
Tip #51: Sample various bakeries and snack options
This can be fun! Visit your local bakeries and vendors. Start early and see which ones provide the products you want to serve!
A Successful Coffee Business Is Built on Planning
Let Us Help You Get Started.
Our coffee shop business startup kit provides you with a depth of expertise and real-world coffee business experts that will help you develop your concept. We ask the questions that you want (and need) answers to when you are about to start your own business. This affordable guide can help provide you with the confidence you need to start your own business.
Our Complete Coffee Shop Startup Kit: