I’ve been mulling over opening a coffee shop for a few months now. There’s a space open in a city we want to move to that recently closed, and there aren’t any other viable options for coffee consumers within like ten miles or so.
Unless you happen to like truck stop coffee.
I can’t say I’m really sold on the idea, but this weekend provided me with a great deal of energy towards making this dream a reality. I simply have too many questions to commit at this point.
But before you pull out your wallet and order a tall nonfat no-whip double vanilla latte, you should know this:
I’m not opening it this week.
I know, that’s a big bummer. Because I like to start things. And there’s an opening right now, in a pretty good location. It might even be a great location. There used to be a coffee shop/cafe there, in fact, so it can’t be that bad.
I’m not even deciding to open it (or not) this week. This comes on the heels of my wife’s support and encouragement of realizing one of my dreams of owning and operating a fulfilling and profitable business that I’m passionate about. In talking with her last night, she seemed to have read my mind: “You don’t have to figure it out this week, love.”
Wow, does she know me! Just moments earlier I felt like saying to her “I feel like I have to spend this week figuring this out.” But I didn’t, and for her to say that says that she knows me better than maybe I even know myself.
Let me just point out that I am greatly blessed to have this woman as my wife.
So, as I move ahead into analyzing this dream, let’s set some ground rules.
Here in this space I intend to:
Air my excitement for this prospective journey
Set deadlines and hold myself accountable for meeting them
Consider out loud the drawbacks of going into this business
and likely much, much more.
What I won’t do:
sell you anything
bash any other brands already in this space
give you the Krabby Patty Secret Formula
It will be fun to put this thing together in the digital world. Hit the ‘subscribe’ button up top to keep tabs on this thing as it evolves. Who knows, I might even take your advice and become super-successful because of it!
Here’s my first deadline:
By March 19 of this year (2013), I will have gathered enough information to make a decision. Through this blog series, I will decide: Either I will open this coffee shop, or not.
Also, I will have planned out the business well enough to have the following ideas on paper, and close to ideal:
What will be our purpose? Will we exist to merely make some money? Or will our purpose be greater?
How much will I work in the business each week/month and how much will I work on the business? This is a strategy from Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth. I highly recommend you check it out if you’re considering, or are already running, a business, either for you or for shareholders.
When will we be profitable?
What is a reasonable expectation of profit from this particular business?
Who will our customers be? How will we reach and engage them?
What will be necessary to turn them into raving fans??
How will we serve wow them?
What food and drink options will we provide?
What will our hours be? What do I want the interior to look like?
Will we have a rewards/loyalty club?
Will we use Square, or a more traditional payment processing system?
Is this the best location for this business?
What are the growth opportunities for Platte City?
If a better location opens up somewhere in the city, will we move? What does it mean to be a ‘better location’?
Who will work for me? What will their heart be like?
What kind of pre-launch marketing should we do?
What will our name be? (about 50 ideas already)
Will we have a ‘mascot’?
What kind of advertising will be most effective?
Why are we doing this? (thanks to Simon Sinek for posing this question back in 2009)
That’s a good start. Twenty questions.
These twenty questions are the hard ones for me (and probably for you too) to answer. It’s easy for me to put together a spreadsheet detailing out the expenses and other legal stuff. But that’s not what matters. What matters lies within the answers to these more philosophical questions. I think.
I don’t know all there is to open and run a business, but I know enough. And I’m surrounded by great people who can help me along the way as I’m constantly learning and refining my business. So this space is going to be- a classroom. One for me and one for you. You’re the teacher and so am I. And we’re both the student. Let’s learn together, shall we?
This is a public blog post, but if you subscribe you’ll get updates as I post them. I promise I won’t send you any spam, but if I open the shop for real, I promise I’ll make it worth your while. We’ll figure out those details later. Codeword blog seems suitable at this point for free goodies, yah?!
Thanks for dreaming out loud with me. Don’t forget to subscribe so you can follow along.