What I Wish I Knew: Advice From Coffee Shop Owners

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The following post originally appeared in full on the Bond Street Small Business Blog

Starting a coffee business is not for the faint of heart. It will bring blood, sweat, and tears (plus a lot of caffeine).

Yet, there’s still something that makes the pursuit worthwhile.

And as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. So what better way to truly learn what it takes to successfully build a coffee business than to turn to those who know best?

The editors at Bond Street asked individuals behind some of America’s best cups  to share what they wish they knew before opening their coffee shops, or other caffeine-infused operations. The result is 33 pieces of advice that all aspiring entrepreneurs would benefit from knowing.

From mistakes made to tricks of the trade, you’re bound to discover at least one nugget of wisdom that will save you time, money, energy, and quite possibly your sanity — or all of the above.

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Innovation, Sustainability, and the Global Coffee Industry

By Bambi Semroc, Conservation International

[Ed. note: To learn more about this project, join Bambi Semroc and Annette Pensel, Global Coffee Platform, for the breakout session “Making Coffee the First Sustainable Commodity,” at the NCA Annual Convention 2017, March 23-25, Austin, TX]

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Source: Conservation International, Cristina Mittermeier ©

Innovation is all around us.

From a 3D printer that enables doctors to construct human tissue, to a virtual reality headset that transports a policymaker in Washington, DC to a remote village in the Amazon to experience projects helping prevent deforestation. Things we never dreamed of 20 years ago are changing our daily lives. And, innovation is not just defined as “the next hot thing” – it’s critical to ensuring the sustainable growth of an industry.

The coffee sector is continually innovating. Consider the new roasting and brewing techniques that led to cold brew and single serve coffees. Or, consumer engagement through creative retail shops offering everything from hands-on technology to fully compostable cups.

That said, innovation in coffee also includes things the everyday drinker might not know about – from researchers developing new varieties and improved practices, to small-scale farmers adopting those varieties and experimenting with new techniques on their farms.

One of the most important innovations the coffee sector has been leading includes the work being done on sustainability.

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Coffee Career Center: Jobs of the Week

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Turn your passion into your profession.

Discover new opportunities at growing companies across the industry at the Coffee Career Center. If you’re looking to build your team, find out how you can post a job or internship today.

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Senior Traffic Coordinator
| Rothfos Corporation
NY

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Financial Analyst, Central & South America
| Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA
VA

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VP, Coffee
| Fair Trade USA
CA

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Leading To The Future: Innovation and Your Coffee Business

By William (Bill) M. Murray, CAE, CEO, National Coffee Association

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Despite the fact that coffee has been part of the human experience for centuries, innovation is now a necessity for companies across all sectors of the coffee industry – more than ever before.  In fact, if you search online for “innovate or die” you’ll easily return more than a half a million results.

What are the factors driving this change? How do we approach and address the challenges? How do we focus strategies and resources to adjust for success? And how can individual executives and business owners come up with new ideas?

First, here’s a snapshot of the issues:

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How to Be a Better Boss: Leadership in Coffee Operations

By Andrew Russo
The following post is an excerpt from Fresh Cup Magazine

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In 2005 I stood in front of thirty soldiers, all with more experience than me, and was introduced as their leader. I was barely twenty-one years old, standing in front of a wide range of people of different ages, education levels, and socio-demographic backgrounds. Soon we would jump out of airplanes together, deploy together—and they expected me to lead them through it all. Sound intimidating? It is.

In coffee, taking charge of experienced baristas, roasters, and buyers is equally intimidating. How a team is led can make or break the experience.

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Coffee Career Center: Jobs of the Week

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Whether you’re an industry veteran or looking to make a change, there’s never been a more exciting time to pursue a career in coffee.

Check out this week’s featured job listings – and visit the Coffee Career Center for more. (Please note that you will need to set up a free account to view the full post.)

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Financial Analyst, Central & South America
| Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA
VA

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VP, Coffee
| Fair Trade USA
CA

Education Manager | Toddy, LLC
CO

Food Safety Quality Manager | Toddy, LLC
CO

Machine Technician | La Colombe
NY

Barista | Cafe Grumpy
NY

All positions | Urth Caffe
CA

Branch Quality and Technical Manager | illycaffe
FL

Visit the Coffee Career Center to view more listings, share your resume, or post a job. 

Video: How Wasted Soap Became a Catalyst for Change

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The theme of the National Coffee Association 2017 Convention is “innovation” – inspired not only by our host city Austin, TX, but the transformations and transitions we’re seeing across the coffee industry.

Wherever it’s found, innovation can be fueled by the power of “weak connections”  (and strong coffee). In other words, exposure to fresh perspectives through conversation and acquaintances – such as networking with more than 700 coffee industry executives – helps your brain combine different ideas in new ways.

Because often, inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. For instance: leftover soap can catalyze life-saving change.

Here, Derreck Kayongo, Global Soap Project Founder & CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, shares how learning about the hospitality industry’s considerable waste led him to create a global humanitarian initiative.

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19 Signs of Executive-Level Leadership

By Bill Murray, NCA, CEO

See the full post on LinkedIn or visit the Coffee Career Center resource page for more leadership tips. 

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With thanks to Laura Freebairn-Smith of the Organizational Performance Group, for permission to cite her findings. 

Ensuring that the right organizational leadership is in place is a task that is so challenging that it has spawned an entire industry.

Whether you search the web or pop into an old-school brick-and-mortar bookstore, the amount of advice on offer about “being a leader” is staggering.

One of the reasons that leadership can be a challenging subject is because it pertains to human behavior. A second difficulty relates to things like stylistic differences, gaps between what is said vs. what is done, and self-promotion.

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Coffee Careers: What Are Internships Worth?

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Internships are critical for hands-on experience in a new profession – especially in an industry complex as coffee. Developing new skills and connections gives you a critical advantage in today’s competitive job market.

For employers, interns offer companies fresh perspectives, critical support to boost team productivity, and/or specialized talent to knock out that key project with long-term benefits. It’s also a great way to give back to the industry, cultivating future leaders through education and mentorship. [Ed. note: Check out our new Coffee Career Center for internships tailored specifically for the coffee industry.]

Here, NCA CEO (and association veteran) William (Bill) Murray shares the importance of establishing an ethical internship program, creating a mutually beneficial and rewarding experience.

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