Starting out a business is scary, and the pitfalls are endless. But with the right amount of planning you can limit your risks, and help identify the processes you need to go through to maximise your chances of success.
With the experience of so many shops who have provided us feedback on what worked for them and what didn't, we tried to boil down the top things you need to tightly control.
Prepare a solid business plan
Identify all the risks and hazards you believe you may encounter, regardless of how unlikely or insignificant they may seem. You can filter these out later.
But thinking through the processes, understanding where your cashflow will come from and what your forecasted expenses may be will probably give you a greater sense of the volume of business required, and hence identify your key performance indicators.
Choose the right location
Making sure your shop is in the right spot is so important for a food and catering business. Pick places with high amounts of pedestrian traffic, such as shopping malls, shopping streets, near schools or metro stations. This way you can maximise the amount of people who pass by your store front.
We mentioned cashflow in the previous point, but how much capital will your require to get off the ground? How will you fund the business until it can break even, then move into profit?
You will then need to identify whether the money you inject into your business will be in the form of equity or liability. Make sure you know the entire financial structure prior to any large financial commitments!
Consistency in your products
Of course, in a bubble tea shop one of your flagship products will be a serving of bubble tea, and the pictures that you present will generate an expectation in your customers' minds.
Then you will need to deliver the same product all day, everyday. Make sure your staff are trained to cook things to perfection and to minimise variation between batches.
Drinks must look and taste fantastic
Why do people buy bubble tea? Because they like the taste, or perhaps they were intrigued by the pictures they saw. You may only have one chance to wow a customer, so make sure your products can impress anyone.
Have you ever ordered something like a hamburger from a menu, only for it to appear totally different or sloppy on your plate? It is a similar principle here. Make sure the amount of tea, boba balls, milk. etc. are all as you display on your promotional material.
Buy only the highest quality products
Here at Taipec we have a careful selection procedure to ensure only the best products are supplied to you. We have very strict criteria on quality as well as health and safety.
Ensuring you buy from only the most reputable sources, and through a company that has your best interests at heart.
Who is going to purchase your newly added bubble tea drinks if no one knows that it's being offered? Who is going to purchase Bubble Tea when no one knows what it tastes like? Good marketing does not mean that you have to spend a fortune.
How to address this? You can go as simply putting up a poster in your window at customer eye level to engage the attention of people who are simply passing by. Another inexpensive way to market is through sampling. When your drinks are perfected and you are ready to start selling, have some samples out for people to try.
Poor management system in place
Poor management leads to the neglect and eventually death – of the business. It is important to watch over your employees to make sure they are not giving away free products or wasting products. Both of these things will cut into your profit and lead to a decline.
How to address this? A good manager will also be a great leader who will create a culture that motivates people around them. Train people who will oversee your business for you.