10 Secrets to Starting a Small Coffee Shop Business

One of the keys to success when you are starting a small coffee shop is to start your coffee shop off on the right foot. It takes planning, a lot of planning, to take an idea from the drawing board to a successful business. These 10 secrets to starting a small coffee shop are going to help you kick off your dream in a big way.

1. Consider Location

It can’t be stressed enough that the biggest secret of success in starting a small coffee shop is choosing the right location. The right location will have everything that you need in place. It will have all the big things you need, like plenty of foot traffic and all the details like pavement striping already done in the parking lot.

The secret to choosing the right location for your coffee shop is to visit a few locations and just sit somewhere nearby and count the number of people that pass by regularly. Foot traffic is paramount to a coffee shop. Locations near busy pedestrian intersections are a great location for a coffee shop. Business districts with a lot of foot traffic are also an excellent choice.

If you pick the right location, your business will get off the ground with a big bang. The right site comes with a lot of business opportunities. Give more consideration to the location than you do to the structure of the space. You can always make improvements to the property itself.

2. Invest Wisely

The secret to starting a small coffee shop and keeping costs down is to ensure that you are making a smart investment. For example, while you may be willing to put some work into the shop to get the space up to par, you must consider how much money and work you want to put into the space. Before you decide on a space it is a wise decision to get a real estate inspection.

A professional inspection of the property will ensure that you are not overpaying for the property, it will also let you know how much work you need to put into the property. Going into the deal with your eyes wide open and a clear understanding of what you will need to invest to make the space usable for your coffee shop is essential. You don’t want to decide until you get professional input.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the dream of starting your own coffee shop and get over-optimistic about a space. It would be best if you always took a minute before you made any decisions and relied on professionals to help you make the decision. It’s okay if you need to hire a landscape lighting contractor to add lighting but not okay if you need a new roof and foundation repairs. It’s good to be optimistic, but it’s not good to be overly optimistic when starting a small coffee shop.

3. Brand Your Business

Once you have the best possible location for your coffee shop the next step is branding your business. Starting a small coffee shop requires that you brand and market your business even before you open to get people excited. One of the secrets that big businesses use is they use custom photography to establish their brand.

Consider what culture you want to establish for your business. Sophisticated? Fun? Eclectic and funky? You get to decide what type of culture you want your brand to exude. Your corporate culture will be defined by the signage that you use, the colors you use on your logo, and, of course, the artwork that you hang around the shop.

The secret to getting professional marketing results is working with a professional marketing company. Yes, it will be an investment, but it will increase the odds of you finding success with your coffee shop and creating a brand that is remembered. Hire the help that you need to ensure your marketing goes off without a hitch.

4. Draw Customers With a Memorable Space

Rarely will you find a space in the perfect location that meets all your needs. Typically, starting a small coffee shop is going to require that you invest in some professional help to get the space ready for your customers. The secret to creating a memorable space that people are anxious to get to be is to not cut corners.

For example, if you need some plumbing done, don’t DIY the plumbing unless you know exactly what you are doing, hire a local plumber to make the necessary changes. It is better to bite the bullet and invest in the necessary things your coffee shop will need to function every day instead of having to deal with issues that may cause work to stop. Local professionals can get the project done faster and ensure it’s done right.

If the space needs repairs or you need a new installation like granite countertop installation include that in your start-up budget and let the professionals handle it. You don’t want to run into problems down the road. It’s best to take the right steps from the beginning.

5. Create Outdoor Spaces

Another secret of starting a small coffee shop and finding success is making your coffee shop a unique space. You don’t want your shop to be like every other coffee shop. You want your space to stand out from the competition. Creating a great outdoor space can be just the ticket.

Your customers will love having an outdoor patio area to sit and relax and enjoy their coffee. A patio contractor can create a patio space that will beckon customers to take a break. Even if you can only use the space for a few seasons out of the year, it will help to foster relationships with customers, and they will continue to come even when the patio is closed.

Make sure you use some outdoor lighting in your patio design for the folks who would like to visit in the evening hours. Of course, outdoor lighting also enhances security. With a little help, you can create a great space outdoors that customers will really enjoy.

6. Enhance Aesthetics

A secret that anyone who is in the middle of starting a small coffee shop should know is that the aesthetics of that shop really matter to your customers. People don’t want to stop in a dark dreary place for their morning coffee or to take an afternoon break. They want the shop to be aesthetically pleasing and bright.

You may have to connect with window contractors to have some new windows installed to let the natural light pour in. Old windows that are in disrepair don’t make the impression that you want to make. New windows not only look better but they are more energy efficient which means energy savings for you.

The right aesthetic doesn’t have to be crammed with art or a lot of decoration, it can be simply a welcoming place to be that delivers a positive vibe. Hardwood flooring contractors can solve your flooring problems if they are in disrepair and warm up the space with new hardwood floors. The secret to creating a preferred shop is making the shop look and feel clean, crisp, and welcoming.

7. Hire Trustworthy Staff Members

The success of your coffee shop depends highly on a staff that you can trust. You must hire people that will show up and move with integrity. A secret that is often not talked about when it comes to hiring staff for starting a small coffee shop is that many small business owners don’t do background checks. This is a critical error.

It’s essential if you are going to hire people outside your own family that you do background checks on your employees. If you don’t want to do them yourself there are agencies that you can pay to do them for you. You must check out references and learn more about the people that you hire before you hire them.

Your employees represent your business, and they will be handling cash. Get the background checks done. Do your due diligence before you hire anyone.

8. Consider a Unique Selling Proposition

Here’s a secret you likely have not heard of when it comes to starting any business. You need a unique selling proposition. What does that mean? A USP in a nutshell is what your business offers that your competitors do not. For example, will you be sourcing coffee beans from a specific location, or do you offer complete organic options, these two things are USP.

Your unique selling proposition makes your coffee shop stand out from the crowd. Will you be offering food options or just coffee? Will you build that patio where people can sit and sip their coffee for as long as they want? You must decide what it is that your coffee shop is bringing to the table.

The secret to building a better business is being able to define what is special about your shop. Coming up with a unique selling point will ensure that consumers become curious about your shop and want to try it out. It takes a bit of planning and thought but it is a necessary aspect of finding success with your coffee shop. Give it some thought.

9. Consider Competitor Plans

Another secret to success is keeping up with what the competition is doing. It’s not corporate espionage to check out the competitors and see what they are charging and what their unique selling proposition is. Staying abreast of what competitors are doing and planning is essential to ensure your business starts out competitively and stays competitive.

Of course, you don’t have to be covert about your plans. You can network with other local coffee shop owners (if they are not right across the street) and pick their brains a bit. If you are not in their immediate vicinity, competitors are usually willing to share information about what works for them.

Keeping up with your competition is essential for the survival of your business. You will need to learn what the going rate for a cup of coffee in the area is to set your prices. You will also need to know what you are up against. Go check out other coffee shops to learn more about the business.

10. Make Community Connections

If you are new to the area, a secret that you must know before starting a small coffee shop is that it is wise to make some community connections. Consumers like to meet small business owners out in the community, they especially like it when small business owners give back to the community. While you are just getting started, making a financial donation to the community may be out of reach, but you can give up your time.

Getting out in the community and making connections with other business owners and community members will result in new business for your coffee shop. Actively engage with your customers and the local community. Establish loyalty programs, host events, and collaborate with nearby businesses. Host an open mic night or display art from local artists in the coffee shop.

Building a sense of community around your coffee shop fosters customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth. Showing people, you are a valued member of the community will draw in new customers. Get involved and your coffee shop with thrive. Consumers like supporting business owners they know. Make your coffee shop a community hub spot.

Owning your own business is a goal for many people. Taking the first steps now will put you on the path to where you want to be. Starting a small coffee shop is an exciting time. It can be a challenge in the beginning to get your business off the ground but if you follow these 10 secrets it will be easier.

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