The life of an entrepreneur is often perceived as hectic and stressful with little time to do much else other than run the business. This doesn’t have to be you! The most successful entrepreneurs find ways to weave work and play together for the benefit of both their business and personal lives.
Detailed in this article we will take a look at five ways that you can incorporate fun into your coffee bar start-up. These include:
- Creating the culture
- Open and honest communication
- Promoting work-life balance
- Make it a habit to celebrate all wins
- Turn tasks into games and create healthy competition
Creating The Culture
Step one in the journey to fostering fun in the workplace is to write it into your business’s culture. First, let’s take a step back and talk about what “culture” really means to you and how it pertains to your coffee bar start-up. Your company culture is a set of goals and ideas created by you and your staff which dictates everything from how you go about operating your business to how you interact with your patrons, staff, and purveyors. The best business cultures create an atmosphere that improves the quality of associates and increases productivity while decreasing turnover. This will ultimately define your brand identity and improve your coffee bar’s overall image in your community.
Now, let’s go back to how to weave fun into the culture that you’d like to create for your business. The best place to start is a twofold approach that involves your own thoughts as the entrepreneur and business owner and the input of those that work for you. Do your research into other successful corporate cultures such as those created by Netflix, Google, and Twitter. All of them focus on creating a positive, fun atmosphere at work and allowing for a balance in time away with the ultimate goal of improved productivity and quality of work. To understand how to create that atmosphere at your coffee bar, poll your employees. Pick their brains on what fun means to them and how it can go hand-in-hand with achieving the goals of your business.
After solidifying what your culture will ultimately entail, the final step is to implement it. Live your culture and hold your staff accountable for doing so as well.
Open And Honest Communication
The ability to make work fun starts and ends with communication. Setting clear boundaries and holding yourself and everyone else accountable for completing tasks sets the expectation. Maintaining a consistent dialogue with your staff and allowing them to feel comfortable in the culture to share their ideas is key in building the foundation for a fun and productive workplace. After boundaries are set and the dialogue is flowing, you can begin to generate free ideas amongst your staff using the mantra “no idea is a bad idea.” Everyone enjoys having a say in their work which always improves the quality of ideas being put forth and strengthens the bonds of the team simultaneously. And when you are all comfortable communicating in a free-flowing environment, fun materializes organically amongst the staff.
Promote A Work-Life Balance
All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy; and you an ineffective entrepreneur. This isn’t so much about having fun at work as it is making time for it outside of work. Taking time away has been proven to increase productivity, creativity, and improve the overall quality of life, but many company cultures don’t promote taking time for yourself. In a survey done by Glassdoor, much of the workforce in America today feel deterred to take time off because of these three main reasons:
- Fear – Employees fear that they have too much work to complete or that they will miss out on important projects by taking time off.
- Guilt – Employees feel guilty that others will have to “pick up the slack” while they are out or that they are letting the team down.
- Work pressure – There may be expectations to continue to respond to correspondence or complete tasks while out or that their company doesn’t want them to take time ff at all for that reason.
Your job as a business owner will be to support your employee’s time off and, in turn, they will support yours.
Like much of the workforce in that survey, many entrepreneurs don’t feel that they can take time away from their business for one reason or another. The fact of the matter is that yes, there will always be things that need to get done and a coffee bar to run, but to be at your best and an effective operator you will need to recharge the batteries from time to time. This isn’t limited to taking a vacation every couple of months but also ensuring that you are making the most of your time off a week to week. Pick up a hobby that isn’t associated with work. Hang out with friends or start a workout routine. Whatever form of entertainment is best to refresh your mind during your time off.
Check out our advice on how to train the best employees HERE!
Celebrate Every Win
As a new business, there are going to be many trials and struggles along the way to success. Taking time to celebrate the little victories is an important habit to form to keep both you and your staff’s morale high and to simply keep at it day after day with a positive attitude. A great way to do this is to organize social events for your staff just to show your appreciation and to take in everything that you have accomplished together in the past week or month. A scheduled event not only gives you and your staff something to look forward to after all of their hard work but also strengthens your relationships through fun extracurricular activities.
Make it a habit to keep track of all of your team’s accomplishments no matter how big or small. Create a poster board of these accomplishments and a timeline until your team reaches the next event. This will serve as a fun visual reminder of the great job that everyone is doing and passively encourage everyone to keep it up!
Turn Tasks Into Games
Let’s face it, we all have those things at work that we just don’t want to do or even the things that nobody wants to do. As the leader, identify what those jobs are and give them a new spin in the form of a game or competition. The concept is simple, but still an effective management tool in creating a great work atmosphere. Completing a task or series of tasks and receiving praise or a reward is simple human psychology. Keep track of how many times each employee volunteers to do one of those jobs. See who can be the most productive by knocking out the most items on the prep list that day. Set the tone yourself and motivate your staff to get involved and play along. Be the driving force of the fun work atmosphere you are trying to create that will also help boost your productivity. Don’t forget to give out a prize after each event even if it’s just in the form of praise, it’ll make the game that much better.
This approach also works when trying to develop new ideas or come up with solutions to challenging problems. When creating your menu and recipes make it a competition amongst your baristas as to who can create the best latte. When setting up the coffee bar delegate the puzzle of where everything should go as a “Tetris” game of sorts for your staff. This will not only take items off of your plate but instill ownership and a little friendly competition amongst your team.
Frequently Asked Questions
Though starting a business with your friends may sound like a good idea on paper, I never recommend doing so. With all of the stressors, financial needs, potential losses, and need for one clear leader there is too much potential to ultimately lose the friends that you start the business with. It’s much less complicated to start-up with no strings attached.
Symptoms of a negative work environment include, but are not limited to:
● Poor productivity
● Poor quality of work
● Loss of patrons and revenue in consequence
● Lack of upkeep in operations
● Poor brand image
Yes and no. There is “no one size fits all” in regards to creating a culture so even if you appropriate a corporate culture. From a successful company it may not apply to your operation and your needs. Taking cues from successful companies when creating your own culture is a better route to take as your values and goals are unique to your operation.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun
My adventure in coffee began when I first launched my first coffee shop back in the early 2000s. I had to figure out so many things on my own and to make it worse within 2 years of opening two large corporate coffee chains moved in just blocks away from me!
As I saw smaller and even some larger coffee shops in the neighborhood slowly lose customers to these giant coffee chains and slowly close up shop, I knew that I had to start getting creative…or go out of business.
I (like you may be) knew the coffee industry well. I could make the best latte art around and the foam on my caps was the fluffiest you have ever seen. I even had the best state-of-the-art 2 group digital Nuova Simonelli machine money could buy. But I knew that these things alone would not be enough to lure customers away from the name brand established coffee shops.
Eventually, through lots of trial and error as well as perseverance and creativity I did find a way to not only survive but also thrive in the coffee/espresso industry even while those corporate coffee chains stayed put. During those years I learned to adapt and always faced new challenges. It was not always easy, however, in the end, I was the sole survivor independent coffee shop within a 10-mile radius of my location. Just two corporate coffee chains and I were left after that year. All told the corporate coffee chains took down over 15 small independent coffee shops and kiosks and I was the last one standing and thriving.
Along the years I meet others with the same passion for coffee and I quickly learned that it is not only “how good a barista is” that makes a coffee shop successful, but the business side of coffee as well.
Hence why I started this website you are on now. To provide the tools and resources for up and coming coffee shop owners to gain that vital insight and knowledge on how to start a coffee shop successfully.
Stick around, browse through my helpful blog and resources and enjoy your stay! With lots of LATTE LOVE!