There are many reasons that can bring you to the point of setting up your own business. There are all sorts of circumstances that can bring you to the point of ‘let’s go for it.’
Let me ask you some questions at this point: what’s your big idea? What is it that you’re trying to do? What are you trying to do that’s different from everyone else?
When we were planning The Coffee Kitchen we filled up notebooks with our ideas. We searched online. We talked to coffee roasters. We spent a few days down in London visiting coffee shop after coffee shop. We visited trade shows. At this time, all we were doing was trying to get information together about our idea. We noted where the coffee was good. We looked for good service and wrote notes about that too. We took menus away with us. We even took pictures. It was all about been inspired.
We sketched out how we wanted things to look. We spent so much time working on the ideas part. Eventually, we talked to friends. What did they like in coffee shops and cafes? What didn’t they like (bad service was a common theme)? All the time we were working on the ideas, working on the things that one day would become The Coffee Kitchen. This was the fun part. How long did it take us? Probably somewhere between six and nine months.
You see we knew we were entering a very competitive market. Cockermouth is renowned for its cafes and coffee shops. We had to be different. We had to offer something that no one else was doing.
And this is what our idea looked like: we wanted to create a place that served fantastic coffee, real bread and which had a warm welcome. That’s the whole idea boiled down into a sentence. In essence, we wanted to create a place that we would love to go to.
Can you do that with your idea? Can you bring all your ideas together into a sentence? Try it, because it will focus the mind on the very essence of your business.
Next time: Laying the Foundations