Also known by several names like coffeehouse bookstore, book bistro, book café, literary café, etc., the bookstore café concept has been around for over two decades and continues to wax strong.
The goal is to show you how to open your bookstore café as this business remains popular.
How to Start a Bookstore Café
By starting your book café, you create a haven for tourists, book lovers, retirees, professionals, families, students, etc.
As the name suggests, bookstore cafés provide a serene atmosphere to read good books while enjoying delicious coffee & tea, amongst other services & products.
Research the Idea
If you must be successful in opening and running a bookstore business, then research is one essential requirement you must not skip or ignore.
Regarding business research, different aspects of the company are looked at. These include product research, market analysis, & consumer data.
Research also covers financial analysis for a bookstore café, competitive analysis, and industry research of the food & beverage sector to which bookstore cafes belong.
The research seeks to provide actionable insights for achieving strategic business objectives.
It must be said that expenses for business research can be pretty costly and time-consuming. However, the benefits far outweigh the costs incurred.
You’re better informed about the bookstore café business concept, thus significantly improving your chances of success.
Find a Niche that Resonates with You
It’s important to state that bookstore cafés already belong to a niche. However, you can improve your competitiveness by having a sub-niche where your services and products stand out.
While that is true, caution is essential, as too much could derail your operations.
So, what are these bookstore café sub-niches to consider? Examples include organic & fair-trade cafés and serving specialty drinks, etc. Here, you have the freedom to experiment with different ideas.
You can look out for inspiration by combining or leveraging on your competitor’s areas of strength.
Draft a Comprehensive Plan
To establish a successful bookstore café operation, you must have a comprehensive and implementable plan.
This is important because a well-organized plan does a lot of good for a bookstore café business. With your project, you’re able to stay on strategy.
It allows you to set priorities while taking educated guesses. Also, such a plan helps you set clear milestones while keeping track of the same. Your business cash flow is well-planned and managed. A good bookstore café business plan will help with course corrections, thus saving you from certain pitfalls.
When writing your business plan, add critical sections like the executive summary, company description, and industry analysis.
Other areas to add include target market analysis, competitive analysis, marketing analysis, operations plan, management team, and financial plan.
Identify Funding Options
When starting a bookstore café, it’s essential to consider startup cost implications. Here, you’ll need to identify financing options available to you.
Some practical ways to acquire financing include grants, peer-to-peer lending, small business financing, SBA loans, and personal savings.
There are more options like crowdfunding, angel investors, merchant cash advance, lines of credit, etc. You’ll need to assess and meet each source’s funding or loan requirements to get started.
Your business plan will be an essential requirement for obtaining business financing.
Rent a Space or Outlet for the Business
A bookstore café isn’t a business that can be started from home. As such, part of your expenses will include renting a space or outlet for the company.
Here, size and location will be critical in determining your total costs. So, paying close attention to these factors is necessary when looking for a suitable space to rent.
Bookstore cafés do best in areas with a lot of foot traffic. This is one of the factors to consider before renting a business space.
Suitable locations include historic tourist locations near college campuses, residential areas, busy shopping malls, and many more.
Open a Business Bank Account for your Bookstore Café
One of the basics of opening a bookstore café has to do with the separation of your personal and business finances.
The easiest way to do this is by opening a separate bank account for your business operations. Such action offers you a range of benefits that include more organized finances.
A bank account helps simplify your record-keeping while also making managing revenue, expenses & budget possible. Securing business loans or financing with a business bank account is also easier.
What more? You’re able to keep better track of inventory, etc.
Decide on a Legal Entity to Adopt
In your bid to set up your bookstore café operations, you’ll do well to consider the legal entity or structure to adopt.
There are several benefits derived from this action. Such include limited liability protection, added credibility, tax benefits, easy transfer of business ownership, etc.
The most commonly used business legal entities include sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each type has its pros and cons.
As such, you’ll need to find out what these are and possibly seek the advice of a legal expert on what will be most suitable for your bookstore café.
Get Equipment and Supplies
To effectively run a bookstore café, you must get all essential equipment and supplies for the business.
A long list includes bar rags, aprons, disposal sinks, coffee brewing equipment, drip brewer, grinders, espresso machine, coffee bar accessories, and storage containers & shelving.
Because a bookstore café combines two businesses: a bookstore & café, the section needs specific equipment & supplies like stationery supplies, bookstands, barcode scanners, a point-of-sale system, bookshelves, and price stickers, amongst others.
Have a Marketing Plan
Your bookstore café must be sold to potential clients through an effective marketing campaign.
The marketing plan is an integral part of the campaign, serving as a roadmap for achieving set marketing activities. A good marketing plan should contain certain sections.
These sections include the business summary, business initiatives, target market, market strategy, budget, and marketing channels.
Under the marketing strategy sections are the product, pricing, promotion, people, process, and physical evidence.
You’ll do well to seek or consult with a marketing consultant. Such professionals will either create one for you or guide you through the process.
You can now open a bookstore café using the tips provided here. To succeed, you only need dedication and commitment to achieving your goals.