Are you interested in opening a coffee shop in a small town? What a lovely idea! Coffee shops have grown in popularity in big and small towns and people just love spending time in them, even if they don’t love coffee as much. There’s just something inherently cool about a coffee shop, and basking in whatever that secret factor is, is just so much fun! Opening a coffee shop is an exciting and thrilling idea, but like any business, it requires careful planning.
In this article, we’ll look at the different elements you need to keep in mind so your coffee shop can be successful and the kind of place folks want to hang out. Follow all the advice shared here and you’ll achieve your dream of opening a coffee shop in a small town in no time!
Have a Solid Business Plan
Before opening a coffee shop in a small town and living the kind of life we see in romantic comedies, you need to have a watertight plan for your business. No successful business person has ever achieved greatness without having solid, reliable plans ready. So, prepare your coffee shop business plan before you start thinking about everything else that you need to do.
You can start your business plan by doing research into your target market. Who will you be serving in your small town? What kind of coffee do they want most? Will they want many treats to go with the coffee? Are there local cuisine options they’ll prefer over generic ones? Answer these questions and then move on to the other elements discussed in this article and tick them off as you add them to your business plan.
Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a fortune of your own to invest in a new business, you’re going to have to get funding somewhere else. Money is essential for any new venture, and getting your hands on it won’t be quite as easy as you may hope. Your initial funding can ensure the success of your coffee shop, and the lack thereof can spell its doom. This is a part of your business plan that you need to dedicate a lot of time to.
You can reach out to your friends and family and ask them to invest in your shop, but you’ll need to have relevant data to convince them. Your solid business plan is crucial for this step. There is an alternative, and perhaps a better, option (family and business often don’t mix well)–you can approach a bank or financial service provider to lend you the money you need for your business. This won’t be an easy road, but all good things in life are worth enduring hardships for.
Find the Right Location
Okay, so you’ve come up with a fantastic business plan and you’re getting the funding you need, onto the next step of opening a coffee shop in a small town: finding the perfect location. It can be tempting to settle for the first open space you can get, but that’s not the best idea. You need to be in a location where people can easily access your shop and won’t have to travel far to reach it. The more convenient your location is, the better! You should study the different available options closely and find one with the most traffic (more customers) and the best environment (good vibes only!).
Purchase an Existing Business
If you’re not having luck with finding an ideal location, or your funding didn’t get you as much money as you’d hoped for, there is another option to choose from so you don’t have to feel discouraged and give up on your dream of opening a coffee shop in a small town. Many entrepreneurs buy local businesses and turn them into something special and unique, and you can do the same! You can purchase an existing business, perhaps one that’s already a coffee shop or something similar, and transform it into the coffee shop of your dreams.
Renovate Your HVAC System
Whether you’ve found the perfect location or bought an existing business, the building’s HVAC system is something you’ll have to inspect closely. It would be best if you hired a local heating and air conditioning service to take care of this inspection so they can fix any problems and ensure that the system is updated and working properly. You’d hate for your customers to be uncomfortably cold or warm in your shop, right? So make sure you sort out the HVAC system, and if there isn’t one, get a new system installed before opening your shop doors.
Learn as Much as You Can About Coffee
Although opening a coffee shop in a small town can be a purely money-driven venture, it’s probably best if you’re at least a little bit passionate about coffee. Learn more about coffee and the various roasting and brewing techniques, and become an enthusiast who knows how great coffee should taste. The more you know about coffee, the better you’ll be at understanding what you should be serving your customers and how to improve what you currently have. You don’t have to get some sort of degree, but formal coffee training will be a good investment of your time and money. If you can become more than an enthusiast and actually be a coffee aficionado, even better!
Immerse Yourself in the Coffee Industry
This point plays in with the advice on learning more about coffee. While you’re studying the intricacies of coffee making and appreciation, get to know other coffee lovers and begin networking with them. You should see other coffee shop owners as colleagues, and not rivals. You can learn a lot from these folks, and they may even have trade secrets or tips and tricks that can completely change how you run your business! Attend as many trade shows and coffee-related events as you can and make friends while you’re there.
Repair Your Parking Lot
The parking lot available to your customers plays a big role in whether or not they want to come back again anytime soon. Remember how we mentioned the importance of convenience earlier? Your parking lot has to be convenient for customers to use and in good condition. A parking lot with holes in the asphalt, concrete, or gravel will reflect badly on your shop. Hire reliable and experienced parking lot paving contractors to repair anything that needs repairing and consider a landscaper to help you beautify the area. Adding lush bushes and other attractive features will enhance the parking lot’s appeal.
Purchase Seasonal Decorations
You can decorate your coffee shop just how you want to, but you need to keep track of seasonal events. Decorating accordingly can attract many more customers. For example, decking out your coffee shop with hearts and ribbons around Valentine’s Day will encourage couples to visit, and adding unique elements like a white Christmas tree or German nutcracker during the Christmas holidays will attract more families. Don’t try to force these holidays down people’s throats as some businesses do, but embrace them enough to please everyone. Use seasonal events to your benefit and also make the most of them marketing-wise. Have special coffee blends and treats available for special occasions.
Hire Qualified Employees
Opening a coffee shop in a small town and making a success of it requires many hours of hard work, careful planning, and the right people standing by your side. It may be tempting to hire people you know, but can you put the future of your business in their hands? Your staff will help you run your coffee shop, make your drinks and food, and deal with customers. Make sure that they’re qualified for these tasks and don’t hire people who won’t be assets to your business. It can be hard to find the right employees in small towns but don’t settle when it comes to this.
Get Your Roof Repaired
How many times have you thought of your coffee shop’s roof while planning every other detail? Probably not even once, and that’s normal. However, your roof is an important part of your shop, even if you don’t use it. The roof must be in good condition with no water damage or other problems to cause issues for you in the future. Don’t wait until the ceiling starts sagging before you get concerned. Hire commercial roofing services even before you open your shop doors to inspect your roof and ensure everything is in order and working as intended.
Create Outdoor Seating
A coffee shop without outdoor seating just doesn’t sound right, does it? You need to have outdoor seating as part of your basic plans for your coffee shop because it’s something that customers will expect, and if it’s not there, they’ll be disappointed. If you don’t have a good place for outdoor seating, do your best to create one. If you have to, reach out to aluminum awning companies and have them make umbrellas or similar shade-providing structures you can put outside so folks can enjoy their cuppa Joe outdoors. If possible, add a small area where children can safely play.
Upgrade Your Door
Take a look at your coffee shop’s current entrance. What does it look like? Does it invite people to visit your shop, is it an interesting architectural element, or is it just ‘there’? If your door feels a little bit lackluster to you, it may be a good idea to get an exterior commercial door that makes you feel more inspired. Make sure the door you upgrade to is sturdy and durable while also being good-looking and fitting in with the rest of your coffee shop’s aesthetic and overall theme. Also, have wide doors so people don’t bump into each other or have to wait before they can enter your shop.
Invest in a New Sign
While you’re planning all these exciting things for opening a coffee shop in a small town, don’t forget about your business sign. You’ll need a nice, big sign that announces to everyone in the area that they can get their caffeine fix at your place. Contact a local custom signage company and work with them to come up with the best design. You should have your business name and logo clearly on the sign, and have a good place to install it so people can easily find your shop.
Update Your Plumbing
Plumbing isn’t a glamorous topic, but it is a important one. You need to be certain that your building’s plumbing can handle all the work you’re giving it, and if you’re not completely sure about its current state or condition, you should call your local plumber and get it updated. Rather safe than sorry, right?
Install Beautiful Lighting
One of the perks of opening a coffee shop in a small town is that you won’t have to install bright, glaring lights that give the place a modern look and feel but result in headaches for your staff. Instead, you’re free to install any kind of lighting you want, and we recommend that you go for something soft and cozy that will help your customers feel relaxed and enjoy their coffee in a serene environment. Hire a commercial electrician to sort out the lighting because this is a big job and will require skill and experience working with commercial buildings’ electric wiring and so on.
Promote Your Coffee Shop
Although word spreads quickly in small towns, you still need to dedicate time to planning marketing strategies for your coffee shop. Proper promotion will ensure that everyone is talking about your business, and then you can rely on word of mouth to get people to visit your shop. You can start small with flyers and social media marketing before moving on to targeted ads and other more complex marketing ideas.
So, now you know a lot more about successfully opening a coffee shop in a small town. You know enough to not only open a shop but run it like a pro and make it grow into something amazing and wonderful to be proud of. As long as you remember everything you’ve learned here, you’re off to a brilliant start. Good luck!