The Importance of Your Coffee Shop Business Plan
If you are thinking about opening a coffee shop, you will have a multitude of items on your “To Do List”. Making sure that you incorporate your coffee shop business plan into your business development and operation is essential. One of the ways to make sure that you are doing everything to right (and not miss anything along way) is to write a coffee shop business plan.
While we've written extensively on the importance of writing a coffee shop business plan previously, we feel that it's important to review this important part of your coffee business planning. We encourage you to do further research on your own about writing a business plan and get help from other resources if you think it's necessary. This will be a good time to share with you that we offer a coffee business startup kit that comes with a business plan template.
So, today, we’re going to spend a few minutes discussing your “coffee shop business plan” and answer some pretty common questions that surround this important document that will impact your business from now until you pour your first espresso drink and start your coffee business.
#1. Your Coffee Shop Business Plan Will Save You Money
When you start any business, including starting a coffee shop, it is tremendously easy to go well beyond your original budget estimates. Underestimating expenses for a coffee shop startup can be quite common, and that's even when you have a well articulated coffee business plan in place!
However, by having a well-thought business plan covering all of your anticipated expenses, you will undoubtedly save yourself plenty of time, money, and the psychological impact of “sticker shock” that many new coffee shop owners experience. In addition, having a business plan will force you to consider basic financial costs that you may have naturally overlooked.
Here's the truth about having a coffee business plan: If you don’t have a plan you will be inclined to spend more money and waste more time, because there will be no way to efficiently plan and manage your coffee shop budget. Additionally, meshing out a business plan will allow you to allocate finite resources more creatively and effectively.
Having a business plan before you start a coffee shop business is a lot like being prepared when you go camping: it helps to plan out what your going to take into the wilderness, what you might need to survive, and what items you'll need to pick up at the store before you get out into the wild. Certainly, starting your own business can be compared to going off into the wilderness!
#2. Your Coffee Shop Business Plan Will Keep You Organized
Keeping organized will not only save you time and money, it will also reduce your headaches. The most important thing, however, is that your coffee shop business plan will keep you on pace to start what needs to be started and finish what needs to be finished.
There are so many things to be mindful of, it would be nearly impossible to effectively manage every detail of your business without writing them down. Having your coffee shop business plan available to easily refer to will help you to keep on track. It will also ensure that you don't miss important items.
#3. Your Coffee Shop Business Plan Will Ensure Nothing Gets Left Behind
Even if you have opened or launched several businesses before, you know that there are many elements that need to be addressed before moving forward with the implementation process.
Important steps that can be easily left out or neglected can cause you headaches and tremendous costs (in lost time and money) as you move forward.
Having a retail coffee shop business plan for all prior considerations will help you ensure that nothing gets left behind in the process of opening up your coffee shop business.
#4. Your Coffee Shop Business Plan Will Be Needed by Your Property Manager, Investors, and Other Stakeholders
When you think about it, the audience for your coffee shop business plan will be small, but they will be an important audience. Your property manager: this is the person you will most likely be renting from, will usually require a business plan.
If they have any degree of experience, they would have also seen many business plans in the course of doing business. In fact, they might have several competing business proposals sitting on their desk for their properties, including the one you are interested in. Your coffee shop business plan will need to be well thought out and articulate your vision.
In addition, any stake holder, potential investor (banker or personal friend with money), who plans on giving you startup cash will also want to see a professionally written – but more importantly – a well thought out business plan before writing you a check.
#5. Your Coffee Shop Business Plan Will Help You Answer Some Important Questions
There will be some important questions that you will need to answer during your planning phase. For example,you will spend some time figuring out probably the budgetary questions in your business plan. The budget and financial questions and projections will be a big hurdle to compile and explain for many would-be coffee shop owners because they are unfamiliar them.
Avoiding your budgetary needs, goals, and projections, or at the very least, just skimming over what you need to know for your business to function, can actually spell future disaster for a coffee shop business owner. On the other hand, by getting your financial projections in order, and at least meshing out the numbers, will provide you with tremendous insight into just how your business will function.
In fact, having a pretty good grasp on your financial position (and your financial records) can be liberating and even empowering place to be. By knowing where you stand financially, you will then be able to make appropriate (or even better) decisions in launching your coffee shop.
But Really, Who Is the Coffee Shop Business Plan For?
Your coffee shop business plan is usually intended for three different sets of people: Investors, property managers, and owners. While it is important to write and deliver a cohesive plan to each of these three people, the true beneficiary of a good business plan is you.
You, as the owner, will become naturally very involved with your coffee shop business plan. After all, it is you that will be updating it, improving it, and referring to it regularly. Since its ultimately for you and your personal business planning, you should try your best to get to know it, understand it and continuously add to it.
A Coffee Shop Business Plan is for:
- You (the owner)
- Your Partners/Investors/Bankers
- Your Property Managers
Is Writing a Coffee Shop Business Plan Easy?
Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be hard. The most important work is simply going the “though process” of getting your business concept down on paper. Your business plan turns all of your jumbled thoughts into a real-life “thing” that can then be molded, changed, and which can grow – as your coffee business develops.
Your coffee shop business plan can be a written guideline for you (and others to follow) to ensure that you stay true to your original goals and vision.
In other words, a business plan for your coffee business can be as difficult or as straight forward as you want to be. Since, you will be using the document regularly – we recommending being as simple and straightforward as the best way to proceed.
For example, if you make the business plan too complicated, you probably wont use it frequently. Working with it, will become a chore – and it will collect dust somewhere or sit in an unopened computer file.
Your coffee shop business plan does not have to be difficult to write or use, but it will take some thought and effort. What may be challenging is organizing all those thoughts about your business in an articulate manner on paper!
As a business owner, we know that you want to get started right away, so here at CSSU, we provide a special Coffee Shop Startup Kit (With a bonus coffee shop business plan template) that you can use organize your business plan quickly and as easily as possible.
Each section of the business plan template is laid out for you to follow in an easy way. In addition to the template, we also offer a MS WORD document , so that you can simply write in your responses directly, and then print when you are finished.
One thing to keep in mind: Developing a coffee shop business plan may not be difficult, but it will take time. It takes time to “think through” some of the decisions you will have to make. You can either let the process drain you or you can use it to stir up your creative energy.
We recommend getting our Coffee Shop Business Startup Kit – print out the accompanying template – and then brainstorm at your favorite coffee shop in town. You may need to do this a few times before you are ready to write down your coffee business plan.
We believe that it will not only save you time (and money), but it will give you a better perspective, give you added knowledge, and wisdom that took other coffee shop business owners years to learn. (And it's affordable and possibly a business tax write off!)
How Long Does a Business Plan Have To Be Anyway?
A business plan can be as long as you want it to be. It really depends on the complexity of your concept. Still, a coffee shop business plan should be anywhere from 15-45 pages once it’s filled out (Occasionally more depending on the scope of the business). That may sound like a lot, but it’s really not. Consider that you will have a variety of headings and sections that need to be broken up.
We recommend that you always use Headings, subheadings, and space between paragraphs and sections when constructing your coffee business plan. Having space will allow you to easily read what you have worked hard on – and it will allow you to write in the margins.
Alright, So What’s Inside a Business Plan?
A business plan has several main sections that will need to be answered. While there is no “right structure” for your typical business plan, they will often include everything from your mission statement to your equipment needed, to your financial position and estimates.
There is also no right order that your business plan needs to come in, just as long it follows some cohesive framework. Many investors and property managers look at many business plans so they might be used to certain sections that are labeled in a familiar manner.
Here is what you will generally find in a typical business plan:
- Executive Summary
- Business Description – The Concept
- Development To Date Details
- Ownership & Management
- Structure Details
- Your Objectives
- Your Products and Services (Your Menu)
- Your Vision and Mission Statement
- Your Unique Sales Proposition
- Marketing Details
- Location and Pricing
- Market Research
- Equipment Details
- Sales Projections
- Net Income Projections
- Balance Sheet
- Permits and Regulatory Issues
- Your Timeline
- Exit Strategy
- Ongoing Market Analysis
Do I Need To Have a Business Degree or Be Lawyer To Write a Coffee Shop Business Plan?
Writing a business plan is simply about getting your business thoughts down on paper in a structural way. It may be overkill to hire a lawyer to write out your business concept.
Now you may decide to have a lawyer review aspects of your business plan – along with your lease, trademarks, etc., but the truth is that you also do not need to be a business major or have a law degree to be able to write down your business vision, concept, and plan.
However, you may need a business plan template to work from. It would be silly to start from scratch and simply “re-create the wheel” when there are a lot of business plan templates that are affordable or even free. Spending a few dollars to save you hours and hours of work is well worth the investment.
Is a “Coffee Shop Business Plan” Different From a “Traditional” Business Plan?
Different business require slightly different or modified business plans. For example, having a tech business plan for a tech startup will generally emphasize different points when compared to a farming co-op business plan.
A traditional business plan is flexible to the specific niche that the business is happens to be in. With that said, it’s important for the business plan to address the specific and relevant business areas that pertain to its business only.
So, while there are similarities, a coffee business plan would be slightly – but importantly – different than a typical business plan. The nature of each coffee shop or coffee stand will be different so emphasizing certain aspects of the business plan may be warranted.
Nevertheless, being able to cohesively write a detailed business plan for any type of business will be essential, including a coffee shop business plan. What doesn't change is the fundamentals of the coffee business that the business plan tries to capture – the plan to launch and viability of the business itself.
How Do I Use a Coffee Shop Business Plan?
Your business plan is organic. What I mean by this is that your business plan will grow along with you and your business. Your business plan therefore will always change, adapt, and need to be modified. Of course, we assume that you will be writing your business plan using a computer and then printing it out. We recommend that you provide plenty of space in the margins to make edits, make additions, and then, eventually make changes on the computer.
Remember that your business plan – is exactly that – a plan. A plan will change as your business changes – so having the ability to print out a physical copy – and be able to scribble notes, cross out bad irrelevant information is important as you move forward.
We recommend keeping your business plan light enough for you to carry anywhere. Place it in a thin 3-ring binder or keep in stapled but near you all the time. Don’t be afraid of getting it dirty of even full of coffee stains. This will be your road map to success. Your job is to make sure that it stays out of the glove box and that it is used regularly to make sure that you on the right path!
Should I Just Pay Someone To Write My Coffee Shop Business Plan For Me?
Why waste the money? You may not like “writing” at all … or doing paper work. This may make you the idea of paying someone to write your business plan for you very attractive. While this is possible, we don’t recommend this.
Here is the reason: A business plan will work your brain muscles – it will stimulate these mental muscles that you may haven’t been used in a long time or ever! You will need this thought stimulation for you to completely and thoroughly execute your plan thoughtfully. Most importantly, writing your coffee shop business plan gives you a sense of real ownership in your business. After all, it's your business and it should be your plan.
We offer an easy way to get your business plan started. Our Coffee Shop Business Plan Guide will provide you with the relevant templates to get you started.
#1: They have never heard of a business plan before: It’s natural that many coffee shop owners wouldn’t have heard of creating a business plan, because they simply never heard of the concept. While some business succeed, you may want to familiarize yourself with many of the points the business plan will bring forward.
#2: They don’t know where to start – So a business owner may know about a business plan, but may not know where to start and so, they skip out on it. Unfortunately this isn’t a good idea. We all have to start somewhere. Finding a way to start your business plan can help you bring your idea and concept to life.
#3: They think it’s too hard or cumbersome – Staring a business plan isn’t necessarily hard – but it does take work. It takes thoughtfulness. It takes time. Writing a coffee shop business plan doesn’t seem fun or anything that you imagined when you think about having a fun coffee business. While planning doesn’t guarantee success, we know that not planning will most likely lead to failure. While it may not seem fun to plan out your business (though we disagree!), losing your entire life savings in a disaster business doesn’t see fun either. o start your coffee business plan, you don’t have to re-create the wheel. There are plenty of resources to get you well on your way.
#4: They think their business is too small and it's not “worth it” – Some would be coffee business owners think that having a business plan might be “over kill” because they are just starting one small business – a coffee stand. What’s hard about that, right? Well, even for small business like an espresso coffee stand, you will benefit from having your coffee business plan drawn up. Even for small businesses, there are dozens and dozens of things to consider and keep track of.
#5: They'll keep their plans in their head – Despite it all, many would-be coffee shop owners want to rely on their mental abilities and/or their memories by which to develop their business plan. However, when starting a business, you will simply be too busy and marred in the day-to-day operations to recall everything that you have to do to open your coffee business.
And yet… the #1 Reason Most Businesses Fail:
Lack of Adequate Planning
What Happens If I Don’t Have a Business Plan?
Have you ever taken a road trip to a new destination? Not having a coffee shop business plan before you set out to open you café, is a lot like taking a cross country road trip without a map or GPS. You may know that you need to “head out West” but that’s about it.
Sooner or later, not planning out your trip and not having the tools you need to reach your destination will increase your expenses, frustrate you, and quite possibly get you nowhere. While developing your plan will take a little effort, it will be worth it in the end – and the in the begging of your business launch!
Is There An Easy Way To Start And Finish My Business Plan?
Brainstorming can be fun. It doesn’t need to happen all at once. Print out our Coffee Shop Business Plan template and take to a coffee shop with you. Better yet, take it to a potential competitors and fill it out. Do this a few times until you are ready to type and print it up.
Like your life, your business is what you make it. Make it fun. Be creative. Take your time. And get the help you need to get started. It’s not really expensive at all to get the help you need.
But also be realistic. For example, we provide you with an-easy-to-use template: but you will have to do some work. You will need to do that hard work of meshing out your thoughts and writing it down on paper.
Coffee Shop Startups have been helping small would-be coffee shop business owners get started. We provide informational resources that are important to consider before you launch your business. We offer an affordable Coffee Shop Business Plan Guide to help you start your coffee business.
The Coffee Shop Business Plan Guide:
30 Great Tips to Start Your Coffee Shop!
Sign-up for our Newsletter:
Receive our FREE GUIDE, plus our "Coffee Business" Email Series!