The Business of Making Coffee: 3 Tips on Running a Successful Café 347

The Business of Making Coffee: 3 Tips on Running a Successful Café

The following article is a guest post.

Before anything else, let us define what a successful coffee shop means. For the benefit of this article, success will be defined as getting a steady profit and being financially stable.

Success is attained either through hard work or luck. If you came across a weird business model or a quirky product (like fidget spinners), its success is probably due to luck.

While there are others who clearly worked and elbowed their way through success, some of which only succeeded after years of struggle. However, there are times when success is a combination of both, and hopefully, your coffee shop is a product of that.

Whether you just had the idea while maneuvering your Nespresso coffee machine this morning or it has been a plan for many years, you can’t go wrong with starting a coffee, tea, and pastry shop. Pass by any popular coffee chain or even small, independent ones, there will always be customers filing in to get their cup of joe. But its success is dependent on how you can maximize the tried and tested business model, pioneered by Starbucks and replicated by other successful coffee chains around the world.

1. Buy the best equipment.

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People rarely care about a product being 100% of the quality you are marketing it to be. There are just some items that are better with less of what you are offering.

Take shirts, for instance. Some people prefer a cotton-polyester blend than a 100% cotton shirt because the latter is thicker and the former holds color longer. The same is not true for coffee.

If you do not serve the best espresso, coffee consumers will most likely walk past your shop. To do this, other than knowing how to create espresso, you have to use the best equipment for it. Additionally, get only the best Arabica beans or a mixture of 90% Arabica and 10% Robusta beans.

2. No need to be in a high traffic location.

One of the top worries of independent coffee shop owners is not getting as many customers as cafes like Starbucks. So they choose high traffic locations, hoping that the exposure would get the word faster than waiting for coffee enthusiasts to recommend it to their friends.

This kind of strategy does not exactly work for coffee.

Remember that drinking coffee is more of a lifestyle rather than just some product people can buy on impulse. They have to choose to be there. Not to mention, being in high traffic locations mean higher rent and more intense competition.

Think back on the independent coffee shops you have visited before, how did you find them? You found them because of coffee enthusiasts spreading the word and on social media.

There is a reason why ‘aesthetic cafes’ are getting so much attention, and it isn’t just for Instagram. It’s because they were able to create an atmosphere of casual relaxation through their decor, and it just happens to look great.

So don’t focus too much on getting high traffic. Instead, show them that you have the atmosphere they are looking for as well as the best coffee they’ll ever have.

3. Make sure the workstation follows a smooth flow.

One of your concerns isn’t just the design you’re going to have, but the placing of chairs and tables as well.

Again, cafes are supposed to be the perfect place to work, have a conversation with, to meet with friends, and so on. It has to be relaxed, and you can do this by knowing where to put your couches and tables in the store.

To borrow a term from digital marketing, you can do an A/B testing for this.

You just can’t assume that big groups of friends don’t like being sat in the middle of the cafe (even if this is a common behavior), you need to test it out. You can do this by situating big tables or couches at two places: one in the middle and one at the corners of the cafe, and then observe where your customers are sitting.

The workstation layout is also important. You don’t want your baristas fumbling and bumping into each other, especially during the rush hours. Make sure that everything is accessible, from the coffee machine up to the bins underneath the counter.

Go back to your business plan and keep these tips in mind so that these can guide you while you’re making improvements. Good luck on your coffee shop!

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One Guy’s Journey from a Work-at-Home Transcriptionist to Starting an Educational Institute 7

One Guy's Journey from a Work-at-Home Transcriptionist to Starting an Educational Institute

This is an interview-style post with Mahesh Kumar.

Hey Mahesh. What do you do?

I’m the Spokesperson of the Transcription Certification Institute, an Ellensburg-WA based educational institution that provides an in-depth online transcription training and certification course.

The online course, which is created by industry leaders, enables transcriptionists to gain a well-rounded understanding of the field and become a professional transcriptionist for better job prospects and higher wages.

How did you start your career?

I’ve started my career as a home-based transcriptionist and have experience of 8+ years in transcription industry. I’m currently on a mission to help work from home moms and make them aware of one of the straightforward and lucrative way of earning money from home, i.e., transcription.

I love writing and so I regularly share my words through my blog. At present, I am working as the spokesperson of Transcription Certification Institute.

What inspired your journey?

I was not cut out for regular jobs because of health and family issues. But, I wanted to earn decent money.

Most work from jobs required me to be online during fixed hours. That did not work for me.

A friend referred me to a copywriter who needed transcription services in an extended time frame. This was my first assignment and exposure to the industry. I had issues with grammar and lots of difficulty in understanding accents. My transcriptionist friend gave me the very first lesson in punctuation. It was a great lesson.

That was the aha moment!

I wanted to share it online with all other new transcriptionists. My expertise in transcription was still limited but my interaction with other transcriptionists. And other work from home professionals found that there was no organized information in this industry.

That’s when with the help of the team we created an ebook as would serve as a handbook to transcriptionists. It was called Everything You Need To Know About Work From Home: General Transcription Business Opportunities.’ It’s available on our website for free.

What is the transcription business about?

It’s a dream that allows parents, caregivers and those with disabilities to stay at home and earn.

We call ourselves Team TCI. None of us has complete skills but together we have made a dream into a business that is sustainable, profitable and manages to help others earn more.

We like to think of ourselves as not just one single successful business owner but a team of accomplished transcriptionists and hedonists who have come together to share their expertise on a platform that is globally accessible to all.

Our objective is to make you a better transcriber so that you can earn more at the same time. 

Through our internship program, we ensure that new wannabe transcribers get a foothold in the industry. Our job board aims to bring transcribers and employers together on one platform to make hiring and finding jobs easier.

We are 9+ years old but the journey has only just begun.

What were your biggest challenges when setting up the institute?

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Together, we had 2,459 dollars to spare!  This was just enough to put up a website and host it for a year.

We had no budget, no marketing plan and no strategy.

More than money we invested our skills, time and above all intent. When we launched, making money was not the objective. The objective was to share information, educate and in the process recover the costs.

We were totally bootstrapped. In fact, we all transcribed extra hours to generate money.

Each year we invested the money earned in the course, it’s upgrade, website upgrade and more. All exams are manually graded and that is expensive.

What do you offer on the website and who can benefit from it?

We offer a course in general transcription.

Our course is for anyone who wants to work from the comfort of their home, enjoy flexible timings and the ability to choose workload. The course is very popular with parents of young children who want to be around when they grow up, ex-serviceman with disabilities, single moms and others who want to work from home.

Some would say that there is nothing to be learned in general transcription but that would not be true. I did start out without training and if it not had been for the help I received my career would not have been successful.

In fact, as the popularity of transcription as a career option grows getting a foothold in the industry is becoming tough. That is why we came up with an internship program that gives hand on experience to new transcriptionists and exposure to the industry.

The job board benefits them by bringing employers and transcriptionists on the same platform.

What’s one thing you do to unwind?

We were introduced to meditation a few years back and to unwind we like to meditate.

What’s your favorite book?

It keeps on changing but time and again for inspiration, I find myself reaching out to The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. Never stop dreaming! Give context to your dreams!

Check out the story of how one guy went from a work at home transcriptionist to setting up a transcription institute and help others start working from home.