Shift your business
It’s a daily topic of conversation; the developments concerning the COVID-19 virus. We are all affected by this, and we understand that especially local entrepreneurs are being hit hard. Many sources of income are drying up: passers-by can’t sit down in your shop to have a coffee or buy their weekly supply of beans. Apart from the financial worries, you and your regular customers miss out on a lot of social interactions. In this blog we would like to share some ideas you could implement in your company that could help you to shift your business and overcome these difficult times. We understand that the options we mention most likely are things you as an entrepreneur have been thinking about yourself. But maybe we give you new insights to implement in your business that you haven’t thought of yet. Our goal with this blog is to inspire you.
1. Up your interaction on social media
When your regulars can’t meet up with you, make sure you meet up with them! Social media is one of the most powerful technological tools at the moment and we see that the current worldwide developments have a positive effect on entrepreneurs‘ ingenuity. Let your followers know you’re not sitting still and are busy to keep your business running. Make sure you post updates regularly and find what content suits you; personal stories and experiences, posts related to your products, innovations in your product range, or a combination of all these points. Remember that consistency is key when using social media; make sure you are being seen.
We see that many companies have their meetings, presentations, and conversations take place digitally. Why not do the same in your coffee business? For example: start offering online coffee courses with original subjects; ‘how to dial in your coffee grinder’, ‘how to prepare the perfect espresso’, ‘how to pour latte art’, and so on. Get creative, and get your audience involved!
2. Shifting your business online
Instead of just using your freshly roasted coffee beans to prepare the best coffee drinks, you might think of starting up a business wherein you start selling your roasted coffee beans as-is. Have you ever thought of opening an online business, but never took the opportunity? Now is the time. Today’s online resources make it very easy for you to shift your business and offer your products and services online. Assuming you already have a website, you’ve already done a big part of the work.
There are several tools and web services that enable you as an entrepreneur or small company to offer great looking and good working webshop facilities. These tools don’t require you to have any technical website knowledge like coding or programming. Tools like Shopify and BigCommerce have clear user interfaces that you, without any coding experience, can utilize. To realize this, make sure your business is prepared for shipping goods, local pickups and deliveries. Make your products as approachable as possible.
3. Going Wholesale
Making your coffee blends available online can already make a huge difference. This way, your local returning customers can still get their coffee supplies from you. In addition to that, you can reach new customers when you focus on your social media and online presence. Being a brick-and-mortar shop, offering your products online can reduce the loss in income during difficult times like these. We advise you to check out the possibilities regarding online sales. Like mentioned before there are a lot of user-friendly tools that can help you set up your online business.
Possibilities are offering coffee subscriptions by making all your coffee blends available online in multiple portions. Or offering coffee accessories you would normally sell from your shop. The possibilities are endless. When you have a clear picture of the products you want to offer people, therefore it’s time to think about how you are going to reach them. One way to do this is to reach out to the other local companies. Most companies are trying to keep their head above water, so let’s try to help each other out when we can. Find out if there are possibilities to offer your products in other local businesses like supermarkets, grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, etc.
„The past couple of years we have been working with local entrepreneurs as much as possible. We did this because we strongly believe that there’s one thing that will always distinguish local businesses from the online mass and multinationals, and that is the personal attention we as local companies have for our environment.“
– Miss Morrison, Delft
4. Online solutions
Next to the possibility to offer your products locally and on your webshop, there are online platforms that allow you to sell your coffee products. Recently, roasting software manufacturer Cropster launched its coffee marketplace Shipsbeans. As a buyer you can search for coffees based on any aspect you find important. But more importantly, as a seller, you can showcase your coffee blends, shift your business to the platform, and promote your products online for free!
‘’When we saw the impact COVID-19 was going to have on the coffee community, we were eager to find a solution for coffee businesses to help simplify and increase their ability to reach out and communicate with their customers and partners. The result is shipsbeans.com, a free service and site dedicated to connecting coffee retail stores and roasters with consumers.’’
– Cropster, Sacramento
You can easily set up your shop for free and Cropster will instantly connect your coffee offer to a centralized market. You can let your customers know when you’re open for take-away, still roasting your beans, or are offering delivery options. In other words; it’s very easy to shift your business online this way. Increase your visibility, open up your webshop, and continue your business.
Cropster introduced this option to support the local entrepreneurs that face difficulties reaching out to their customers. This way, new audiences can be reached in an easy, sustainable way. Simply create your profile, upload the products you offer, and start selling.
5. Relief resources
We take into account that you, being an entrepreneur, are aware of the relief options there are in your country. Know that many banks are offering relief loans and other options for their customers. We advise you to get in touch with your bank to take a look at the possible options for your business. In some cases, local governments and municipalities have their relief programs. Get in touch with your local chamber of commerce or get in touch with your trade union to get fitting advice based on your situation. If you would like to read more about the COVID-19 effects on the coffee industry, we suggest you take a look at the NCA (National Coffee Association) COVID-19 Resource Center. This website provides you with the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus and is updated daily.
We realize the relief possibilities will be very different based on the country you live in. Our advice is that you do your research and find out which options are suitable for you.
We hope these options will help you to find a solution to get through the COVID-19 crisis. We’re in this together and if you could use our help in any way, feel free to reach out to us.
6. Some tips to consider:
– Many people, probably including your regulars, want to show their appreciation and support towards local businesses. Why not promote your gift cards a bit more in this period?
– You probably have less work to do compared to the situation before COVID-19. Therefore, make sure you spread your work schedules across the week. This will minimize interaction and reduce the risk of COVID-19 contamination.
– Postpone meetings, training sessions, and collective cupping sessions and try to increase your available physical space.