Hey everybody,

This will be the second time I've posted in this category. The first time didn't quite go totally as I'd hoped, and since I really don't need to be ripped yet another new @$$hole, I'll try to make sure I word this very, very specifically.

As mentioned before, I would like to open a coffee shop of my own. I have put some feelers out already as to what are some possible steps one could take in undertaking what will surely be a very difficult, arduous but potentially worthwhile task. I was just wondering what data my fellow BXers could add to the equation.

I am motivated by a couple of very personal events that have happened in the last year. I gained a child and lost my father. Both events have made me take stock of my life and realize that life itself is precious. The opening of a shop is not something I even expect to be lucrative. I do expect, however, for it to be worth my while, kind of a personal legacy if you will.

If previous comments conveyed a sense of "amateur-ity" then I sincerely apologize. My intent was not to belittle the previous contributions made to this website. I know that we are all here because we all love what we do. The other day, two customers came into the shop I work at here in Sweden and were utterly surprised when I said that I loved my job. They'd been around the city asking various people that very question and I was the first person that answered positively. That's because it was true. I love making coffee. I love seeing people's face light up when they taste a beverage that I've made them. I love knowing the regulars by names (or at least faces) and having their drinks ready for them by the time they get to the counter.

Love it.

As far as the coffee itself, well that's a whole other aspect. I love that such a little cup can contain so many surprises. I love the way that depending on just the tiniest of variables (grind size, dosing techniques, CLEANLINESS) each shot of espresso can totally blow your mind...or make you want to  spit it out. I love the way coffee sourced from one part of the world can cause one reaction in your mouth while coffees from the other side of the globe can cause a completely different reaction. I love that coffee can simultaneously taste like fruit, nuts and candy. I love that folks here in Sweden have their coffee preferences but folks back home in America have their own (for the record all Swedes think American coffee is "weak." The fact is we just like to be able to taste it!)

Why go on and on about this? Because coffee makes me feel good and I want to share that feeling with everyone. Making coffee gives me a sense of purpose topped only by hearing my daughter yell out "Papa!" Opening a shop means more to me than hopping onto a trend. It's the only way I could think of that would combine passion and purpose.

It's not something I want to do but rather something I HAVE to do.

The thing is, all the passion in the world don't mean diddly squat if there's not a solid plan behind it. I know that's what many of you were merely trying to convey. Well don't think that I don't already know that. That's why I came here. For input. Not to be coddled. Not for my hand to be held. Not to be told, "yes you can." I know that Barista Exchange can be a vast well of information but is not the ONLY source. I never expected to find all the answers I needed here by any stretch of the imagination. Nor did I expect you all to tell me exactly the steps to take to accomplish such a task. What I sought was merely information, ideas and input that I could process and figure out which options might be worth pursuing. That's all.


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Researching the business plan information online is really simple compared to actually writing one. It really does take a lot of thought. In fact, it makes you really ponder and question your own ideas.
Many aspects are involved in preparing a business plan. *a serious business plan* includes everything from $ per square foot, store layout and building codes to purchasing costs and local food codes to human resources and state, local and federal tax information and government regulations that affect your business for instance- what type of business are you planning- a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or a limited liability company?
Your research should include Insurance information, i.e. - what happens if someone sues you? Depending upon your business structure- you could literally lose your own home.
I look at the above information as the not so fun stuff involved in owning your own business. This is the information that the banks and insurance companies are interested in. They do not care about your passion for coffee or whether you can pull a great shot or not. (We care about that of course, but they are loaning the cash, we're not.) the banks are interested in whether you understand the processes involved in determining financial your requirements. What are the sources of your start-up capital can you describe the components and uses of financial statements such as a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement?
Are you able to interpret financial ratios to diagnose the financial health of your business?
Will you be able to identify ways for improving cash flow?
Do you have a marketing strategy?
Can you identify the current causes of small business failure?

Honestly consider your (desired) lifestyle and discuss this with your wife (as I’m sure you have already). What exactly are yours and her expectations and what are potential conflicts that could arise from owning your own place? How will you two work it out? You must have a plan in place. How many hours do you expect to work? Any staff that you hire - whatever you pay them- is money that you could be earning. I understand it takes money to make money= but you've got to make a living. As a new business owner, you must put yourself first and foremost.
Will you be able to pay the mortgage, the utilities, the car payment, put food on the table......play with Junior, while also running a business, paying the rent, the utilities, the vendors…
i totally understand your original defensiveness, you were sharing your dreams and desires. However, i can also see through the eyes of many of the posters that responded to your questions. They have either been in your shoes, dreamt the same dreams or have witnessed someone else who has.
Think of the original posters as your Loan Officer, or Leasing Agent......they may be asking you the very same questions. How will you respond?
Don’t be too defensive and put on some thick skin- you are about to embark on a huge...and very risky...endeavor. Not only will you have those wonderful customers to serve, but you'll also have the employees to train (and reprimand), the toilets to repair, the health department to appease and the tax man to pay.
Many of the above questions that I’ve asked have been taken straight from the syllabus of a Small Business Management class that I took a couple of semesters ago. Tough questions- and so was developing the business plan (our project).
Food for thought. Pieces to chew on.

We do wish you the best of success and are here to offer suggestions (and suggestions they are), because ultimately this is your dream. I know that I for one am very excited to hear the outcome!!!


Great resource-
Small Business Administration
http://www.sba.gov/


Cheers,
Sandy
Sandy,

Thanks a ton. This (and pretty much every response to this post) is exactly the kind of info I was digging for. These are things that I had an inkling about but really no full grasp of. And it's the kind of info I WANT to know.

For the record, upon finding out that we were expecting a child two years ago. I decided to leave everything I'd accomplished behind and move to a country where I knew no one, didn't speak the language and had no family save for the one I was building. I'm just saying that stepping into a frightening situation is something I'm just a little bit familiar with.

I appreciate all these details, the more I have to process, the better. Keep it coming.

Sandy Hon said:
Researching the business plan information online is really simple compared to actually writing one. It really does take a lot of thought. In fact, it makes you really ponder and question your own ideas.
Many aspects are involved in preparing a business plan. *a serious business plan* includes everything from $ per square foot, store layout and building codes to purchasing costs and local food codes to human resources and state, local and federal tax information and government regulations that affect your business for instance- what type of business are you planning- a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or a limited liability company?
Your research should include Insurance information, i.e. - what happens if someone sues you? Depending upon your business structure- you could literally lose your own home.
I look at the above information as the not so fun stuff involved in owning your own business. This is the information that the banks and insurance companies are interested in. They do not care about your passion for coffee or whether you can pull a great shot or not. (We care about that of course, but they are loaning the cash, we're not.) the banks are interested in whether you understand the processes involved in determining financial your requirements. What are the sources of your start-up capital can you describe the components and uses of financial statements such as a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement?
Are you able to interpret financial ratios to diagnose the financial health of your business?
Will you be able to identify ways for improving cash flow?
Do you have a marketing strategy?
Can you identify the current causes of small business failure?

Honestly consider your (desired) lifestyle and discuss this with your wife (as I’m sure you have already). What exactly are yours and her expectations and what are potential conflicts that could arise from owning your own place? How will you two work it out? You must have a plan in place. How many hours do you expect to work? Any staff that you hire - whatever you pay them- is money that you could be earning. I understand it takes money to make money= but you've got to make a living. As a new business owner, you must put yourself first and foremost.
Will you be able to pay the mortgage, the utilities, the car payment, put food on the table......play with Junior, while also running a business, paying the rent, the utilities, the vendors…
i totally understand your original defensiveness, you were sharing your dreams and desires. However, i can also see through the eyes of many of the posters that responded to your questions. They have either been in your shoes, dreamt the same dreams or have witnessed someone else who has.
Think of the original posters as your Loan Officer, or Leasing Agent......they may be asking you the very same questions. How will you respond?
Don’t be too defensive and put on some thick skin- you are about to embark on a huge...and very risky...endeavor. Not only will you have those wonderful customers to serve, but you'll also have the employees to train (and reprimand), the toilets to repair, the health department to appease and the tax man to pay.
Many of the above questions that I’ve asked have been taken straight from the syllabus of a Small Business Management class that I took a couple of semesters ago. Tough questions- and so was developing the business plan (our project).
Food for thought. Pieces to chew on.

We do wish you the best of success and are here to offer suggestions (and suggestions they are), because ultimately this is your dream. I know that I for one am very excited to hear the outcome!!!


Great resource-
Small Business Administration
http://www.sba.gov/


Cheers,
Sandy
Ill post these two once again since they are very helpful for under 25k funding

www.prosper.com

www.lendingclub.com
Thanks Luke, these are great. Interest rate I got was slightly high (probably because of my monthly income), but awesome backup resource.

luke hudek said:
Ill post these two once again since they are very helpful for under 25k funding

www.prosper.com

www.lendingclub.com
christopher myers said:
Thanks Luke, these are great. Interest rate I got was slightly high (probably because of my monthly income), but awesome backup resource.

luke hudek said:
Ill post these two once again since they are very helpful for under 25k funding

www.prosper.com

www.lendingclub.com

That is literally what we used it for, when we came in just shy of our total capital, and its clutch for a loan you can get in a week.
Sandy,

That SBA site seems to be really thorough. Thanks for the link.

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