How To Start and Open Your Own Coffee Business

Start your coffee business with confidence

start your coffee business
There has never been a better time to start a business than now

Want to start a coffee shop or coffee stand? We have already seen (and written about) that starting a coffee business can have a tremendous amount of benefits for you, the owner, and your community. If you want to start a coffee shop, café, or coffee stand business, there are certainly positive life-changing benefits you will realize over time.

But we’re not here to sell you on the benefits of owning and operating your own coffee business. For today, we'll just assume that you already know the benefits of starting a coffee shop or staring a coffee stand.

Today, what we want is to discuss perhaps the more mundane and riskier feat of launching your coffee business – and how to do it right, reduce your risk, and begin to draw an awareness of what resources are out there – and how you may consider using your initial investment. After all, we only have a finite amount of time, money, and threshold for risk.

benefits of starting a coffee shop in 2018There is no doubt that you will want to reduce your financial risk and increase your profitability as quickly as possible. 

What we have found over the years is that many would-be coffee business owners have to find a way to bridge their enthusiasm and their concept ideas to actual knowledge, expertise, and confidence – in order to start their business successfully.

Too many times, we have seen “coffee geeks” or anyone passionate about something jump into their business, thinking that their passion will guarantee their business success.  

The truth is that passion helps and it is very useful, but running and operating a coffee shop or any business for that matter requires some skills – analytical skills.

It may require you to get out of your element (that we'll call your passion) and focus on other important elements of running a coffee business.


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According to nearly half of the businesses surveyed fail due to general incompetence.

More specifically, among them are:

  • A lack of planning
  • No knowledge of pricing
  • No experience in record keeping

Additionally, top management mistakes are plentiful and are known to cause business failure. When it comes to opening and running a coffee shop business, management errors matter too.

Far too many smart people make some general mistakes when starting a business. Let's take a look at the following reasons why some businesses fail:

  • Going into business for the wrong reasons
  • Receiving advice from family and friends
  • Underestimating the time requirements

Our hope here at Coffee Shop Startups is to help you develop your knowledge base, but also be direct and upfront with you about the nature of starting a coffee business.

Our coffee shop business audio package contains hours of interviews detailing some important stories of real-world coffee owners, who have succeeded and failed. Many of them had made the same mistakes listed above and have had to overcome them. 

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Finding Out What There is To Know

If you want to open a coffee shop business or an espresso stand, you are at the right place! We’ve spent countless hours compiling the best expert advice on how to start a coffee business from real coffee business owners and experts. We have written extensively on a variety of subjects that matter to new or aspiring coffee business owners.

From how to write a coffee shop business plan to how to open a coffee stand. If you enjoy coffee and want to open up your own coffee business, we’ve created one of the most unique and informative resources available on the market today: Our Complete Coffee Shop Startup Kit

We have interviewed real experts in the field, seasoned coffee business veterans, and even new coffee shop owners to help you gain a wide spectrum of understanding of “what it takes to open a coffee shop” business.

As we mentioned, we’ve also written extensively about the issue over the last few years. So, we’re going to take a moment to tell you about just what resources you’ll find here at

Consider the following coffee business topics, and click on the accompanying link to learn more about the topic.

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Assess Where You Are (Personally) Before Starting a Coffee Shop Business

Opening a coffee shop or coffee stand can be an exciting proposition, however, before you move forward, you should consider doing two things:

  • Learn as much as you can about how to open a coffee business.
  • Determine whether or not you will be personally ready to open a coffee business.

There is no question that opening a coffee business will require your energy and real determination, the problem is that many would-be coffee business owners jump in with both feet without adequately looking into what it will take to get your coffee shop up and running.

These elements will include whether or not you have the time, money, and personality to start your own coffee business.  

Learning as much as you can about how to open a coffee business, means you will want to hear how others have started their coffee shop or coffee stand.

Many of these coffee business owners started small and started with little experience. But they did have the tenacity to stick with it and learn. They also understood when they needed to get help. Additionally, they also knew when it was important for them to position themselves (position their life) so that they could actually have time and money to launch their business. 

We’ve explored these topics for coffee shop business owners in the following articles:


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Developing a Budget for Your Coffee Stand

This seems like one of the first questions you should ask, right? After all, before starting a coffee shop, you want to have at least some ballpark budget.  But in all actuality, you want to take a half-step back and then start looking at your concept, your menu, etc.

Developing your coffee shop budget, therefore is an essential part of a larger effort to plan out your business. Still, it is helpful to understand the components of your plan. Here at Coffee Shop Startups, we’ve written on this before.

We should note here that your coffee shop budget is not the same as your coffee shop startup costs. Your budget or operating expenses are part of your regular fixed and variable expenses that are required for your business to stay in business after you have already opened your café – or coffee business.

There are two budgets you should consider for opening your coffee business – your startup costs and your regular operating costs after you actually open.

For example, your startup costs may include remodeling, logo and branding development, initial equipment investments, furniture and fixtures. While your operating budget will consist of variable costs such as labor, coffee beans, and wholesale snacks, etc.

Consider reading the following archived articles on the subject of associated costs with your coffee business:





Writing Your Coffee Shop Business Plan

Having a business plan for your coffee business, no matter how small your coffee business will be, is essential to your success. There is tremendous value in articulating your thoughts and ideas on paper in a manner that professionally represents your ideas, and in a context that other people can understand.

Many business investors, property owners, and stakeholders understand the basics of a business plan. In other words, they know what to look for in a business plan. They expect certain analysis to be thought through in a business plan. And they will base their judgement on the probability of success on that plan.

Successful businesses, both big and small require reflective thought, planning, and deliberate execution of those plans. Your coffee business deserves nothing less. Your business plan can actually bring your business to life with tangible benchmarks, goals, and progress.

If you have never written a business plan before, you may be intimidated by the mere concept of writing a “coffee shop business plan”. But in reality, having your plan written down on paper can not only clarify your objectives, but it can give you the “meat” of your concept. It can give you the clear vision of what needs to get down (and what you have already done) to launch your business.

Few people are good at managing so many ideas and items that they are able to “wing it” when it comes to managing the launch of their business. A business plan will help to ensure that you get all your “ducks in a row” as you move forward with the implementation phase. The “up front” investment in thought and planning will lead to dividends of saved time, money, and hassle.

Still, the thought of sitting down and staring at a blank screen or paper to start your business plan without any direction can be intimidating. We know that in can lead to having no real plan at all. However, we believe there is a better way! We’ve created an easy to use business plan template that you can use to create your personalized business plan.

Additionally, we’ve written about coffee shop business plans before. Here is a list of additional articles we have written on the subject: 

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Look For Your Coffee Shop Business Location

If you are looking to open a coffee business, you may have already been “eyeing” possible sites to open either a coffee shop or espresso stand in your neighborhood. Choosing the “right location” is a very important component to your success and requires quite a bit of planning.

Obviously such metrics as foot traffic, vehicular traffic, competitors, and what I like to call “anchor” businesses are all important factors to look at.

But even if these all check out in your favor, you still have to consider other important variables like rental costs, labor costs, taxes, etc. Again, this requires another round of research and planning.

Despite these variables, you should plan for success. The way to prepare for this is to:

  • know what you want
  • know what you can afford
  • know your customer
  • know the amount of space you need
  • know how much traffic/sales you’ll need at that particular spot
  • Be prepared with a business plan or business proposal

Finally, last but certainly not least, is the important factor of your property lease. If you have gone through every other factor and have settled on a building or two in the area you would like to start a business, consider the important leasing factors.

Getting your business lease “right” is so essential that we offer an important interview discussing leases for coffee shops. In this hour long interview we deliver expert advice on how to prepare for your coffee business lease.

Imagine spending all of your savings and capital to buy your espresso machine and equipment, furniture, fixtures, inventory, and even your deposit – only to find your lease severely restricts your ability to make sales, earn a profit. Problems with property leases occur all the time, which is why we have encouraged would-be coffee business owners to learn as much as they can about the process.

We seriously recommend listening to our one hour interview with a leasing expert to help you get your coffee business ground in a lease that you can works in your favor as you start your business. Certainly, many business start their business

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Start a coffee business: Photo credit: Tumblr Black Oak Coffee

Many people like the idea of starting their business from scratch. After all, it is nice to have new furniture, new espresso machine, and shiny counters. But starting your coffee business or coffee stand from literally nothing can also be expensive.

This is especially true if you need to do remodeling, construction, and the addition of bathrooms, kitchens, or flooring – all to help you pass health and building inspections. Additional cost may be natural if there is a lot of work that needs to be done prior to opening – either to satisfy your vision or the health and building departments that you will be working with.

Buying an existing business that conforms to existing health and building codes – and already has the property owner’s “blessing” of your business type under his property portfolio, can ultimately save you tons of time and money.  However, on the other hand, if you buying an existing business, you may save on few used items and building code compliance issues, but you may also pay for the “good will” or equity in the existing business.

There are many people who pay top dollar for a “Turn Key” business that may have them so severely “in the whole” that they will take years and years to simply break even.

So, it is important to do your homework and balance the two very competing options – working through the pros and cons of each scenario.

This also applies to buying a coffee stand or espresso stand. Which may be considered a less expensive option (though not necessarily). A coffee stand that has high traffic and generates income can be bought at a justifiably, a high price.

We have written the topic of buying a coffee shop or buying a coffee stand business versus starting from scratch previously.  Some of the topics may overlap, so consider reading through all them and see what piques your interest. We find the topic so important that we’ve dedicated a menu navigation item to the subject.

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