Tami in SC
The following is a link to a group of retired business executives who, for free apparently, will coach you on small business matters:
Also, the SBA (Small Business Administration) has a number of helpful articles and a lot of useful information.
Further, check the South Carolina Secretary of State's Office web site for information on starting a small business. You can get there (eventually) from http://www.myscgov.com and click the Business link at the top. At some point there are links for people wanting to start businesses in South Carolina. This will let you know what kind of paperwork is involved in the setup, what kinds of taxes you will be expected to file/collect, what regulations apply to your business type, how to deal with payroll, etc. You will also, at some point, need to talk with SC DHEC for food service, I believe (I have never done food service myself).
My personal advice is to get a good attorney and a good accountant right from the beginning. Their expertise will be invaluable. There are a lot of opportunities out there for women in SC. Good luck. (02/25/2005)
Good Advice from the Guest.
What you will need before you even start working on getting grants and loans is a good business plan. A business plan will help you figure out how much money you will need to start. There are free business plan ideas on the internet. Here are some simple questions that are the basis of a business plan:
What service or product does your business provide and what needs does it fill? In your case a coffee shop provides coffee and food service.
Who are the potential customers for your product or service and why will they purchase it from you? Here you would put why they would want to come to your coffee shop, rather than someone elses.
How will you reach your potential customers? This is how people will know your coffee shop exists. This could be the location, signs, advertising, etc.
Where will you get the financial resources to start your business? This would be the SBA or your own resources. Usually it is some of both to get the loan.
Starting a business is a lot of work but good planning and reading a lot about how others have done it can be a great help. You need to think about how much it will cost to lease your coffee shop space, furniture, equipment, how will you keep it staffed, how many people you will need to hire to keep it running. What competition there is in the area you are planning to have you shop. Lots of stuff.
For any store front business the location is key. If there is a space you are considering where a shop used to be, why did they go out of business? Sometimes people just want to retire but it might be they just couldn't make it there.
There is a publication called Specialty Coffee Retailer that has a lot of resources for coffee shops. www.specialty-coffee.com
It is geared toward espresso shops but you can get some ideas there.
Best of Luck,
Susan from ThriftyFun (02/25/2005)
Check out www.benefits.gov You simply answer some questions and it automatically does a search of all the programs you qualify for and it's all free. This is also quite useful even if you don't have a business or want to start one. Good luck!
There are lots of ideas of where to get information. The most important thing for a cafe business is location, cooking and dish washing equipment, tables and chairs, health department approval, and staff. It will take a lot of planning and once the cost of the building and equipment are figured there is food, menus, signs, advertising, etc. It's nothing to jump into without a lot of planning.
Your best bet is to go to the local Small Business Administration (if you are in the U.S.) and talk to one of their advisors. There are people that volunteer to help those wanting to start a business.
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