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Prepare Your Cafe Business for Success: 5 Things You Need

When you decided to become a professional barista, did you imagine yourself working for the biggest coffee chain in the world? Or were you aiming to be your own boss?

If the latter sounds more appealing to you, you must learn how to successfully prepare your café business.

Coffee shops continue to serve billions of people worldwide. In fact, the sector has grown into a $58.7-billion industry due to its compounded growth rate of 4.1 percent. A study revealed that this would increase by more than 4.6 percent yearly until it reaches over $143.4 billion in 2025.

Considering this potential, it isn’t surprising why many professional baristas decide to start their own café businesses. If you’re one of them, there are five things you need to ensure that your business is poised for success.

1.   Knowledge of the Business

Thorough research is vital in becoming an expert at anything, and this can also help you create a business that thrives and overcomes competition.

Keep in mind that launching a café will require a significant amount of time, effort, and money. This is why you have to ensure that all forms of investment you make will be worthwhile by spending as much time learning all you need to know about the task now.

Here are some things you need to learn about before jumping in:

Business trends and failures

This will help guide your brand identity, goals, and other decisions in your business.

To know the business trends, you have to talk to insiders in the business (e.g., veterans) and the customers you plan to target. Talking to seasoned café owners will also help you get a glimpse of the challenges they faced and the failures they encountered so you can avoid making the same mistakes.

In short, this is where you figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Unique selling point (USP)

A unique selling point is a thing that separates you from the competition. It is the “X factor” that lets you stand out from the crowd.

To determine your USP, you may need to visit plenty of similar cafés to get insight into the type of business you wish to establish. This is arguably the most fun part of business planning.

Here, you can list down things you like and don’t like and work your way towards developing an identity that will help people identify your own brand.

Target market

No business can succeed without considering the market, and for your café, you must learn everything about your customer base.

Who are they? What do they do? What time of the day do they usually take their latte?

These simple questions can yield useful answers that can help you develop your USP, create an attractive menu, come up with a price point, and so on.

2.   A Clear Vision

Entrepreneurs with a clear idea of what they are aiming for have a better chance to succeed. This is what it means to have 20/20 vision in the café business.

If you’ve done the first thing on this list right, then you probably already have huge plans brewing in your mind regarding what you want your café business to become. Don’t forget to write all of these down.

After that, you can start collecting pictures, designs, and menu ideas and compile all of them in a portfolio. This will serve as your inspiration for different aspects of your café, particularly for the kind of food and drinks you wish to serve and how you want your customers to feel the moment they enter your business premises.

Your vision will influence the following:

  • Trade or brand name of your business
  • Shop décor and design
  • Products
  • Target market

3.   A Concise Business Plan

Everything is better with a plan, and all types of businesses – from a huge shopping mall to a small-town coffee shop – requires a business plan.

Basically, this document should identify:

  • The kind of business you want to establish
  • How it can become profitable
  • The primary demographics of your target market
  • Who your competitors are
  • How much sales and revenue you project to have
  • The different milestones you wish to reach and goals you want to achieve

When writing your business plan, don’t go too deeply into details just yet. Just because you intend to use an iPad POS system during your operations doesn’t mean you should already include it in your first draft, for example.

The key is to start with a lean business plan – or a one-page pitch. This will allow you to get a good sense of the market, validate your business idea, determine how you can reach your target, and differentiate your business from others – much like a thorough executive summary.

4.   The Right Location

Coffee shops are popular because they serve as excellent places to socialize. Statistics also show that they are the top spot for friendly get-togethers and solo relaxing while reading a book, surfing the web, or simply enjoying a tasty snack.

These establishments are also known as the primary destination for informal business meetings, after-work learning, and group collaborations.

As such, you have to make sure the location of your café is conducive for doing all these.

It should also be near places where your target customers frequent. For example, if you’re aiming to attract the after-school crowd, it would be best to pick a spot near schools and universities. If you’re after the white-collar workers and professionals, go for the business district.

Make sure that you base your business location on your business plan and research it thoroughly.

5.   A Healthy Network

Networking works not only to get companies to hire you, but also to find the right partners to help you put up a successful business.

Besides this, your network can also serve as a good starting point when looking for reliable equipment and ingredient suppliers to make your dream coffee shop a reality.

Depending on the kind of café business you plan to put up, you’ll most likely need suppliers for milk, coffee, fresh produce, and groceries. If you don’t make bread and pastries yourself, you need to look for an affordable and trustworthy supplier for those, too.

To make sure you have a partner to provide each of your needs, make a list of all the ingredients, tools, and equipment you need. Don’t forget the tables and chairs.

Prepare for Success

Success is closer to those who prepare for it. Make sure you become one of them when planning to start a café business by completing this list of essentials.