It strikes me that here on February 8th 2016, that this date in and of itself is rather unremarkable. It isn’t the first of a new season, there is no drastic weather event about to occur to my knowledge, no treaty or declaration is being signed, and yet nonetheless, this day is of significance.
As I entered the building where my Employment Resource Centre is but one tenant, I noticed immediately that the paper covering a rather small ‘opening soon’ tea and coffee shop was removed, the door ajar, and a flurry of activity inside. On the window was the message, “Free coffee today”. February 8th, 2016 is apparently day 1 of this venture; or rather, adventure for the owner.
This has been a business in the offing for months now. It’s the newest business in the mall; for that matter the newest business in the entire area. However the business itself is just the manifestation of an idea that’s been percolating ever since the enterprising entrepreneur running it experienced the loss of her job with the closure of a large supermarket food chain.
So there you have it; the highs of opening one’s own business after experiencing the lows of being out of work and unemployed through no fault of her own.
As any new business owner will tell you, there is an element of risk involved in opening a business. There’s the financial investment of course; the gamble that as a small business with a staff of one, you can compete against the coffee industry with the big boys such as Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, McDonald’s etc. On top of these major players, there are restaurants and gas bars, (some even offering free coffees if you drop in and fill up).
The real key I think is offer more than a coffee or a cup of tea. I don’t mean sandwiches or soup either; I mean the idea of branding yourself as not only the product provider, but in fact the product itself. In a small operation, it’s essential to sell your smile, come to know your customers by their first name, to be visible and capable. It is precisely because tea and coffee are plentiful and relatively cheap that the experience has to be more than just the product itself in your hands.
This is why I think the owner might just have a shot at success. While employed previously with the large supermarket, the woman in question worked at the snack and deli counter. There she made sandwiches, served pizza slices and coffee, ran the till and interacted with the customers. She did get to know many of the regular visitors by name and had a habit of saying she made her sandwiches or pizza slices with love – and that’s what made her unique and memorable.
Unique and memorable…sounds like a recipe for success. What a stressful time this must be for someone just opening a business – day 1. I can see just from a brief walk-by that she isn’t completely ready, that there are some cosmetic things another day or two would completely clear up. However, the rent on the storefront is probably weighing on her mind and the sooner you’re selling, the sooner you’re making money and able to pay those bills.
But what of the free coffee? How can she make money if she’s giving it away? Call it an investment, a marketing ploy, a strategy; it will have people talking, and hopefully spreading the word that she’s open for business and ready to serve. It would be completely different of course if it were an expensive product, but she’s confining it to teabags and coffee grinds, cups, hot water, stir stix, milk and sugar. In exchange, you’re in her space, conversing, introducing yourself and tasting her products. Free samples aren’t about today; that’s an investment in the future.
Now what of you? What are you doing that’s new today? Anything remarkable? Being that it’s a Monday, the week is new, and there’s no reason that February 8th can’t begin a new chapter as you write the story of your life in 2016. On a big scale, you might be starting a new job and if so, congratulations! Or you’re getting married today, buying a house, taking possession of your new car etc. If you’ve got something big happening today, I’m elated for you!
However, sometimes it’s the small things we are doing that still mark fresh starts and new beginnings. Over the weekend I re-designed my own website. If you’re reading this on the website itself, thank you, I hope you like the fresh look. If you’re reading it through another platform, I invite you have a look at my redesigned blog located at https://myjobadvice.wordpress.com/
If you drop by, you’ll find this article and a complete archive of blogs going back to February 2012. You can comment there on what you find and read, click on the ‘follow’ icon so you get blogs sent to your email, and you are welcome to contact me directly. You might even suggest a topic you’d be interested in having my thoughts on – that’s presumptuous but you might.
Whether like me reinventing my blog, or the business owner reinventing herself as an Entrepreneur, you can find fresh starts and new beginnings throughout the year and your lifetime. All it takes sometimes is a push, some inner motivation or a desire for change.
Enjoy YOUR day!