Start a Coffee Shop (How to Save Money Starting Your Dream Business)

Start a coffee shop

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Start a Coffee Shop (How to Save Money Starting Your Dream Business)

If you want to start a coffee shop, but don’t know exactly where to begin,  you’ve come to right place!

Here at Coffee Shop Startups, we have remained dedicated with providing you the most helpful information that you cannot find anywhere else online or offline on how to start a coffee shop business.

Your coffee shop startup business resource: From writing your coffee shop business plan, to developing your coffee shop budget, or determining the costs of your café, coffee bar, or coffee drive-thru stand, we provide you with the real know-how that you will need as you set out to start a coffee shop for yourself.

Learning to start a coffee shop can and is possible! And… it doesn’t need to be expensive either!

Of course, we do recommend that you take the time and make the modest investment in learning what you’re “getting into” and learning the process of starting your coffee business – and we believe that you can do this with our exclusive coffee shop startup kit that we offer here.

Coffee Shop Success Is Waiting For You Anyone Who Acts on Their Dream

Nobody is simply “born” with the ability to start a coffee shop. Starting a coffee shop is always a learned action. The question then becomes HOW do you want to learn?

Do you want to learn the hard way, perhaps through trial and error? Or would you like the help and advice of real coffee shop experts?

Certainly finding the money to start your coffee shop or coffee drive-thru stand is always a challenge for many people. We recognize that having the capital to start a coffee shop or money to open a café is among the top barriers for many aspiring coffee entrepreneurs.  And yet, many successful entrepreneurs start coffee shops in their communities! 

How is this possible? What’s their secret? How do they do it? And… can you replicate what they are doing in your own home town?

By learning from other coffee shop owners, you can more effectively start a coffee shop of your dreams with less money.


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An Example of How to Start A Coffee Shop With Less Money

We’ve interviewed several coffee shop owners, and have known plenty more who have figured how to start a coffee shop with less money. Take for example, Black Coffee, an independent coffee shop in Seattle, whose owners did not have a lot of money but utilized their passion and commitment for coffee and brought to the table their skills, expertise, social networks, and their “connection” to money for leverage in starting their coffee shop.

Individually, each of the four members of Black Coffee did not have the funds to create their own coffee shop. What they did was form a cooperative partnership and brought together enough funds to open one of the liveliest coffee shops in town.

The take away points:

You can start a coffee shop with “less” money (if you are willing to be creative and resourceful)

Leveraging your group skills and “community” resources, you can build a coffee bar of your dreams.


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Why Start a Coffee Shop?

When you can fully and articulately answer the question: “Why do you want start a coffee shop?”, you will have greater confidence in what your purpose is when it comes to starting a coffee business.

We’ve written some articles in the past that you might consider reading before you set out to start a coffee shop.

Once you know what you want – and why you want it – you will begin to formulate your coffee shop business concept.

As the concept for your business starts to formulate or gel, you will see the need for particular coffee shop equipment and other natural expenses such as remodeling, furniture, fixtures, etc.

The take away here is: Know why you want to start a coffee shop and let that be your guide to developing your business concept.

Once you know the “why”, then you will be able to answer any other question when it comes to opening your coffee business.  Whether it’s because you want to share your passion for great coffee with your neighbors or you want to bring the energy that only a thriving coffee shop can bring into your neighborhood, knowing the answer of “why” will help you move forward with starting your coffee shop business.


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What Drives Your Coffee Shop Startup Expenses?

Any expense can drive your coffee shop opening. From consultant fees to your equipment, your expenses will all add up to determine your “startup costs”.

Expenses vary from one coffee shop to the next, but there are some basic commonalities that drives a coffee shop startup cost.

Let’s break it down:

  • Coffee Equipment
  • Retail Space
  • Professional Services (Plumbing, Electrical, and Carpentry Work)
  • Remodeling (“Building out your space”
  • Legal & Administrative Fees
  • Labor
  • Inventory & Small wares
  • Furniture and fixtures
  • Training
  • Branding & marketing


About you can see the general drivers of your startup costs. Of course, your own situation will bring its own cost drivers.

So, take a look at the list.

What are some of the things that you can save money on? Which are the items that are pretty much fixed in terms of cost?

As you can see, every startup cost can be variable, with the exception of the legal and administrative fees (A business license and LLC formation will generally cost the same in your state than any other business).

Coffee equipment can be expensive and you can generate a lot of savings if you know what to shop for. However, before you shop for your equipment, you will need to understand what your menu is – what it is that you planning on serving your customers.

In fact, you also need to know who you customers are! There are plenty of businesses that open up their coffee shop only struggle because they were not able to fully determine who they customer was (or is).

Step 1: Know what’s on your menu (you will need to know who you customer is)

Step 2: Determine what your equipment needs are

Step 3: Know what your space requirements are

Once you know what your main costs drivers are, you will need to be able to determine how you can trim down the costs of each of these items. Off the top this could mean, your equipment, your space, your build out (remodeling), and other professional services.

The first step in saving is knowing what you “do need” and what you “don’t need” when it comes to starting a coffee shop.


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Examine Your Costs With Your Business Plan

Now that your concept and thoughts have wrapped around what you need and don’t need, you will need to write it down in a business plan.

Writing your concept, your needs, and your estimated budget within a business plan can help you determine a realistic budget for your coffee shop.

Whether you use our coffee shop business plan template or another template, you should take the time to write it down.

Writing everything down will actually help you save money. By taking the time and diligence to write down your costs for your coffee shop, you will be able to save yourself from over-spending.

Take away points:

  • Start writing your coffee shop business plan
  • Work and re-work your budget
  • The more time you spend planning and writing things down, the more money you will save


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Start Your Coffee Shop: Moving Forward With Saving Money

Let’s put it all together: Start a coffee shop with the right planning and thoughtfulness requires your time and attention. The more time and attention you put into your planning, the less money you will save. Trust me, it’s essential that you write everything down, crunch the numbers, and then reflect on them.

As you see the numbers start to assemble on your budgetary sheets, you will begin to see which costs are “getting away” from you. You will be able to better see how you can “reign them in”. You will begin to ask, what can you do to lower the costs?

Your business plan and your budget are organic documents, meaning that they grow with you as you grow and develop your coffee business.

Start a Coffee Shop With Less Money … isn’t the same as starting your coffee shop with no money

Once everything is written down according to your business concept, your menu needs, and your space requirements, you should go down the list and figure out where and how you can save money.

By re-visiting the list above, you can see that much of the big fees may be determined by your space needs. This may impact your search and decision for the “right location”.  For example, if the pre-move-in condition of your space requires extensive work, you may have to ask yourself whether the trade-off of spending more money is worth the additional costs for building out the property.

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Start a Coffee Shop by Starting Small

If this overall discussion is overwhelming, consider going smaller with your business concept. When you have the money to scale-up, you will be able do so. For now, start a coffee shop in the smallest possible way (that works for you) and in a manner that allows you to afford to do so.

But even when you start small, you can save money by researching, planning, and writing down an organic business plan that changes as your coffee shop business grows. If you are determined to start a coffee shop on a budget, I believe that you can.


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What Now? Research and Learn As Much as You Can

Investing in your research and education will pay off immensely as you start your own coffee shop business. If you are new the retail coffee industry, learning as much as you can by asking other retail coffee business owners the essential questions will help develop your perspective as well as your confidence.

That’s why we’ve put together one of the most effective coffee shop business startup resources. Our comprehensive startup kit provides you with hours of informative and relevant interviews with coffee shop business owners.

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