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Eight Tips for Starting a Successful Coffee Shop

Running a coffee shop is one thing, running a successful coffee shop is another story. In today's competitive market place it is essential for an entrepreneur to understand all risks in order to maximize their reward. The most successful coffee houses will cater to a niche market and exceed customer expectations. And, with all small businesses, the daily operations, effective marketing and savvy business decisions are vital to the overall success.

1. Choose a Location

The location is not the only key to success, but it is an important one. The location should be researched and chosen carefully. Start looking in areas that you can reasonably afford, the last thing you want to do is fall in love with a location you cannot afford. Target high traffic areas that cater to your customer and that are not already inundated with coffee houses.

2. Develop a Business Plan

A business plan is your blueprint for success. A good business plan will include a concise overall summary, establishing your market opportunity, an analysis of your competition, marketing strategies and a breakdown of your business model.

3. Obtain Working Capital

One of the biggest mistakes a new business can make is not ensuring they have enough working capital to make it through the tough first year or two. Start up businesses takes time to start generating a positive cash flow. Possible loan options are traditional bank loans, business loans for bad credit, SBA-backed loans and private investments.

4. Set Up Necessary Accounts

If you want to accept credit or debit cards, you will need to obtain a merchant account. You can attain one through your bank, a financial institution, an online provider or a third party account provider. It is important to compare merchant account services in order to choose the best provider for your business. You will also want to compare merchant account services so you can avoid falling for any merchant account scams. You will also need a payment gateway service and a bank account in your business name.

5. Carry Good Coffee

It may seem like common sense, but many new coffee shops focus on offering too many coffees rather than good quality coffee. You should also have alternative supply sources for your coffee in the event your main source becomes unavailable. The better your coffee tastes, in relativity to price, the better chance you will have of securing the essential return customer.

6. Set the Right Ambiance

Make your coffee shop as comfortable as possible and one that is warming and welcoming, this tempts your customers into staying longer and returning again. Choose music that is pleasant and soothing, colors that are earthy and cozy and decor that is interesting and relevant. You may want to consider offering free Wi-Fi service as well. This will bring customers in and get them to stay.

7. Concentrate on Good Customer Service

Take the time necessary to hire good people that understand the importance of good customer service. Making your customers feel wanted without insincere niceties is one of the best ways to ensure your customer will want to come back to your shop rather than the coffee chain down the road.

8. Consider Longer Opening Hours

Most coffee shops close relatively early, but if you are in an area that caters to college students, late night retailers, hospital employees or a town that does not sleep, consider staying open later than your competitors. To further pick up the later crowd customer, run after hour specials and promotions to start building a return customer base.

Having a successful coffee shop takes time, sacrifice and dedication, but with careful planning, you can own the coffee house you have always wanted.

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