I'm sure if I trolled through the pages of BX long enough I'll probably find more than enough info to answer the question I have but, I don't really have the time to do that so here goes:

I am leaning more and more towards the idea that now is the time for me to pursue opening up my own coffee shop. Having worked in the retail and service industry for just over a decade, I've reached the point where I would like to be my own boss, set my own hours and simply take more control of my future. These thoughts have grown stronger over the past year as I've welcomed a child into my life and have lost a family member. Both of these events have made me think more about the future and in what direction I want to take it.

So I definitely have the motivation to see something like this through. What I don't necessarily possess is the business acumen to even begin to know where to start.

I mean I have a ton of ideas on paper that can easily be fleshed into something saleable. I just don't really know what to do as far as the financing aspect nor the real estate aspect. For instance, let's just say that I've targeted one specific location and have even approached the realtor managing that location for more info. Then what?

Really though, it's the financial aspects that are more than a little bit intimidating. Any suggestions, recommendations that you all may have would be appreciated. Or heck, for any current shop owners, just relay your own stories of how you saw your visions through to their completion.

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To touch on the subject of financing. Stay out of the bank. Don't go to them for credit. Once you have a solid business plan, present it to someone you know who has money. We all know people with cash. Our shop was started on 100% borrowed money from individuals. We received investments from 5 individuals and couples. Put together an agreement as far as returns and the term. We set ours at a 3 year term with a 10% ROI each year with full capital back at the end of the term. We also but a clause into the agreement protecting the investors money by liquidating our assets in the event that this thing fails. This gives you a lot more breathing room, and a chance to take a salary right away. I'm currently taking a monthly salary that covers my small, southern Manitoban mortgage as well as some groceries. Thank goodness that my wife gets a real paycheck.
Please don't mis-read any of the postings here. It's hard enough to communicate in person/ face to face much less this list kind of thing. When I communicate face to face I have to sometimes ask more than once what someone is really asking here.
Yes, to what you just said about asking family, friends, former employers, associates, means a lot when it comes to making life changing decisions for yourself. One of your first questions to them should be, do you know anything about running a coffee business? If they say no to that, that should tell you something.
I have no idea how you got or who on this list gave you the idea we here on BX believe we are the only source for coffee business information. It is a great resource because many of us are running coffee businesses as I take time out to write down for you.
Seriously back at you Reggie, read these and know that not all of these posts to you are from ego centric coffee professionals. Many of us actually care and would like to share this coffee business world with you.
Cheers and best wishes in your coffee journey.
Joseph Robertson

Reggie said:
Funny, okay so yes I did seek advice on BX but I like how everyone seized on one phrase and used it to base their entire opinion about someone none of you have actually met.

I didn't know Barista Exchange was the only resource for information of this sort. My bad. I guess me also asking family members, friends, former employers and associates means nothing.

Seriously people.

What your opening line meant was "My time is more valuable than yours. So, spare me the inconvenience of researching this forum and kindly repeat the advice you have given 50 people before me."

All things considered, you were treated very well here and given sound advice. On Home-barista you would have been flamed to a crisp.
Based on your first post, I hadn't thought much about forming any sort of opinion about you, mainly an excited newbie who's caught up in the heady rush of wanting to open a business. However, considering your follow-up postings, I'm developing a very specific opinion about you indeed...

What you obviously want are "yes men" - people who will laud you and your efforts without regard for the realities of the situation. You're right, we don't know you - therefore, we're not worried about seeing your face and the hurt in your eyes when we tell you that your ideas are currently misguided. Your friends don't want to hurt your feelings. Your family doesn't want to hurt your feelings. The BX Community is more concerned about your financial well-being and success in business than hurting your feelings.

Bear in mind that many of the people who have posted to this thread are "in the field" and know what it takes to startup, operate (and even bankrupt) a business. Heed the advice or not, it's your business, your money and your future on the line, not ours.
How about we all get back to the discussion and NOT trying to develop a personality profile? No one is benefiting from these posts.
Okay, enough is enough.

A) I am not a home barista. I am actually a working barista and have been for a number of years. On TWO continents no less.

B) Jeff's response is exactly what I was looking for. Sound, tame, professional, an non-aggressive.

C) I had no idea that Barista freaking Exchange was the holy grail of coffee knowledge and I'm sorry if my clearly improperly worded post hit a little too close to home for some of you.

D) Hey, you know what? I actually have friends and former colleagues who have gone on to open their own shops in the last few years. All of whom I've already sought advice from before coming to the Library of Congr-- oops, I mean BX.

E) Wanna know something else? I actually have friends and family who work in both the construction AND real estate business whose expertise I have also sought out.

F) What exactly is a home barista?

G) In all seriousness, I didn't expect this to be such a #¤%& hot topic. Everyone jumped on one phrase and seemed to completely ignore the rest. When I said I don't have the time it's because I literally didn't have the time when I wrote that. Geez, get over yourselves a bit. It's a little hard to sit down and peruse hours and hours of older discussions when you have a one and a half year old who needs to be entertained, fed, changed, taken outside to play etc. Sorry if I would rather do that than peruse the vast back catalog of encyclopedic coffee wisdom that this sacred website contains.

H) Also, I'll have to check my profile page again but I think my credentials within the actual coffee field speak for themselves. I'm no James Hoffman by any stretch of the imagination but I've trained baristas and have been trained by some of the best the business has ever seen and have worked with some of best baristas on two continents.

Yes you all gave some sound advice. But what I take serious offense to is what seems to be a presumption that I'm some unproven rube off the street who just came up with the crazy hair-brained scheme of "hey, people seem to like that java stuff, maybe I'll go sell it!" I actually love the stuff, am quite passionate about it and ask anyone that actually knows me and they'll tell you the same.

The point was that I wanted to take my passion and my personal motivation and combine them into something I would be totally willing to fail at because I love it so damn much. Sorry if any of you read that any other way. I'll try to word myself differently next time.

Good night and good luck.
the single biggest determining factor in whether your business will succeed or fail is this: can you listen to advice and be flexible, no matter how harsh it may seem? can you glean every important and true tidbit of information out of all the sensory input you get on a daily basis? can you be humble enough to listen to myriad opinions and consider the merits of all of them?

you've demonstrated within a couple posts that you aren't capable of this skill at the moment - so i'd work on that before you do anything else.
OK. I think the OP's questions have been sufficiently answered.


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