Today is the 9th of April. We’ve been open for six months. What have I learnt in business in terms of running and operating a speciality coffee bar. Well there are many things all have which I would like to summarise into each month.
Short video showcasing my progress of the coffee project that I was working on with my wife Hoxton North Coffee. It was also our 5th year anniversary of the blog. When I first started the blog, my intention was to log my thoughts and showcase what industry changes were in terms of technology, media, marketing, social media and everything else in between.
It has been a great journey. Thank you again for continuing to read the blog. I hope your own entrepreneurial journey is going well. Thanks again.
Third video showing our progress
Life Lesson #18 Behind the rubble there will alway be a clear space
Second video showing the progress of my coffee shop new venture Hoxton North Espresso & Brew bar
Life Lesson #17 Keep focused on the endpoint
Brief video of when we got the keys. It was an exciting day for us and one that would be a small step towards our goal
Life Lesson #16 Champion the small wins, because they lead you to the big wins
Also check out what late night eating looks like below when working on a new project. Read more →
It’s been a very exciting week here at Hoxton North Coffee. We took our first big step forward and signed the lease for a unique building which is part of a heritage site in the small spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England. Harrogate is a wonderful example of an English picturesque spa town full of grace, charm, history and character.
It is renowned for its wonderful shopping and hosts an array of independent shops & boutiques unique to the town. It is home to the Harrogate International Centre one of the largest conference and exhibition centres in the North of the country, hosting trade shows, public events and conferences, attracting both business and leisure visitors to the town year round.
The premises, a grade ll listed building, comprises a self contained lock-up shop unit with feature arcaded entrance and display windows, original edwardian timber and glass mirrored shelving units, small store facilities and a WC.
We will look to keep, enhance and incorporate the original features of the property into the design and layout of the store. The emphasis will be on a friendly, relaxed and stylish environment with plenty of customer interaction, encouraging people to talk, relax, enjoy exceptional coffee whilst appreciating their unique surroundings.
Interesting read via Fastcompany.com that discusses the 9 east to steal habits of the super successful.
GET UP INSANELY EARLY
It sounds scary, we know, but consider what would happen if instead of watching reruns of bad movies at night, you went to bed at a reasonable hour, thus allowing yourself to wake up early and be SUPER productive?
Waking up before anybody else allows you to work out the logistics of the day to come, track your time, and (most importantly) unplug for a few hours.
When it comes to choosing someone to do work for you. There are some basic rules that I believe that you should follow. I call them the 3R’s
We all live in a technology focused world. We are only a click away from a review website where we can find out more about the product or service we are about to use. They are there as a guide, however don’t forget to use your common sense.
The second is recommendations, Everyone know’s someone who know’s someone. Use your personal network.
As above use your close network of friends and family and you will undoubtedly find a referral for whatever you’re looking for. To incentivise referrals you can offer some kind of reward or gift. Anything to get people to start talking and asking questions about what it is you are looking for.
Life Lesson #14 Never trust a builder without a tape measure
Today is the first of July 2013. What does that mean? Well for one thing, it means that we are half way through the year of 2013. Scary, yes. Time, so they say goes quicker as you get older. But hang on, I still feel young, does that mean that I can slow things down? The answer is probably, yes, no maybe. So today is the first of July. We had a meeting with our prospective new accountant. She was professional and listened to all our concerns. In short we covered all the points we needed to find out about including:
All in all it was a good meeting
Life Lesson #13 Never judge an accountant who doesn’t ask questions.
As an entrepreneur you’re used to being the boss, in fact you are used to being the cleaner, the head of marketing, head of sales, head of anything that needs doing.
You see, as an entrepreneur you’re used to being the boss. The thing that I have had to become more aware of, is that I am not an I, I am now a “we” You can see how that can be tricky for someone, anyone who is used to being in charge.
The road towards being a team player is a long game. Yes every team needs a captain and team leader. What I am learning is that every team leader needs a good team.
Life Lesson #12 You’re only as good as the team that you play with. To find out more about what it take to be a team leader
Apologies for the delay. My wife and I finally made the move from London to Yorkshire. London has given us the variety, diversity, and enthusiasm to be able to move forwards and create the Hoxton North Coffee concept. We are now embarking on a journey with no guaranteed success. However, as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Life Lesson #11 It’s amazing how many boxes you can fill with 10 years of living
My business partner and I decided to begin visiting coffee roasters. The process started by first compiling as list of our top 5 coffee roaster [See below for our list] We then sent an email out to them explaining what we did and why we wanted to work with them. After arranging back to back meetings with the various roasters we then created as list of what we wanted out of a roaster, whether that was free training, ongoing support, or more importantly if we got on with them.
Life Lesson #10 Relationships are hard work. Take your time to get to know someone. And ask lots of questions. Read more →
One thing I am learning is that things seem to take longer than expected. For someone like me, who is very impatient the delays with the project are very frustrating. One thing that we are now having to deal with is planning consent. Listed building consent is required if a building has special characteristics or features that are worth preserving. The premises that we are looking at have been deemed to have this and for this reason, we’ve had to write a letter explaining what we want to do [See below]
On the 18th of February I gave myself a self imposed timeframe of 2 months. This was the 2 months notice period that my wife had after handing in her notice and for us to decide if we were going to setup our new business or go travelling. The deadline was set. If we didn’t find a premises before the 18th of April, we would go travelling around the world. If we did find a premises, then we would begin our journey as owners of an Espresso and Brew Bar. As it turned out, we had decided to go to Ibiza for a week the day after my wife’s last day at work. A few days before I received the following letter.
As I wait to hear back about the property that we are interested in for my new business. I have had some time to think and reflect. Whilst doing so, I came across this great video from Best-selling author Seth Godin who challenges entrepreneurs to get out of their comfort zones and embrace vulnerability.
I just had an email from my solicitor outlining their fees. [See Below] My initial thoughts were WOW! I’m in the wrong industry. The fee structure is based on my understanding that they are making sure that nothing is missed in terms of the terms of the contract. It all seems very complicated on the one hand and very simple on the other hand. Either way the process of communication has started.
See initial solicitor letter below:
Having seen the property that we want we’ve begun the negotiation process with our property agent. One thing I’ve learnt is that you have know what you want. Stick to you top and bottom line in terms of what you want out of the deal. Essentially the property agent is working on behalf of the landlord and wants to get the best deal at the best price. Remember the following:
It is best to negotiate as much as you can with your agent before instructing your legal team. This will not only save you time, however, more importantly it will save you money.
Life Lesson #6 Stay focused.
After a month or so I finally got to visit a site that my wife and business partner had been interested in for sometime. The location is in a prominent Harrogate location opposite the Royal Baths Complex and near to the Harrogate International Conference & Exhibition Centre. The premises comprise a self contained lock up shop unit with a feature arcaded entrance and display windows with a small store and staff facilities.
The specifications are follows
The property is in need of a total refit and is subject to a listed building consent. I am finding the process rather is rather exhausting in terms of trying to make sure that your figures are correct and whether or not you can afford to move forwards with the project. Only time will tell. It is however a rather exciting time also.
Life Lesson #5 What you think is the right thing, may turn out to be even better.