If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Simple, short and to the point.
People ask quite often of the importance of a business plan when starting a coffee shop. My response is always a statistic: Most businesses fail within the first year due to lack of planning. If you don’t have anything to plan your course by, how can you move forward? Any business vision is blurry without a written plan.
Your plan takes time to write now, but it’s designed to help you avoid costly mistakes later. The true value of creating a business plan for your endeavor is not the finished product, but in the process of writing it.
Experience has taught me that while planning to open a coffee shop, templates and generic plans will not help you much except for the typical form the plan should follow so be very careful. You need to make yours unique, and as coffee shop friendly and specific as possible.
When I wrote my original business plan I read and studied quite a few versions of them on the internet, and picked out sections I liked best. I rewrote it until I was satisfied and then gave it to my banker. He said it was the best business plan he had ever seen. So I put the plan to use and opened my coffee shop, and made lots of mistakes!
My banker loved it but he was not a small business person, nor anyone that was familiar with coffee shop operations. Had I wrote the plan realistically and pertaining specifically to a coffee shop I’d have avoided a bad location, incorrect demographics, lack of capital, and a lot of other mistakes.
You have to be realistic with your prospective numbers and in many ways you have to get creative, especially with marketing. The specialty coffee business is unlike a lot of other food service businesses because of its nature. Writing your coffee shop business plan will force you to think about your business in a way that you will always have to think about it: it’s unique.
And just because you open your shop and may be open for a year doesn’t mean you can put the plan away. You should always be tweaking it. Trust me you will always be a business person and thinking about what you can do different and new. Things change, markets change and trends change so your business has to change as well to adapt. Otherwise, you will be closed before you know it.
It bears repeating: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It’s as simple as that! Be sure you have a specific business plan when starting a coffee shop. Your plan won’t be worth beans otherwise!