Every entrepreneur has flirted with the idea of opening a coffee shop at one time or another. The initial idea may seem very desirable, with the smell of fresh roasted coffee, hip music in the background, poetry and folk music on the open microphone, and the like. Coffee shops have become the replacement for bars as meeting places. And every independent shop has that strong sense of community. However, as wonderful as all of this sound, don’t go ordering your custom printed cups just yet.

Okay, here’s the dose of reality. This industry is incredibly competitive. Don’t take this statement lightly. You see, it is almost guaranteed that a successful shop went through some pretty leans times at the get go, when coffee cups and lids were almost barely affordable. Remember that strong sense of community mentioned in the last paragraph? The loyal customers probably didn’t show up for months at the onset. Consumers, such as these, had to be cultivated for quite awhile. Stopping by a favorite coffee shop becomes a standard part of a morning routine, one that few people get the desire to deviate from.

If you’re planning on giving it a go, understand that you must have enough to buffer your initial investment. If you only have enough funds to get the business started, you may want to reconsider. The only way that a coffee shop becomes successful is with the passing of time and a consistent product. In addition, the love of good coffee isn’t nearly enough. An appreciation for accounting is probably a good quality to have as well.

Understand that what is being presented here isn’t meant, in any way, to deter you from your goal of opening a sustainable business. By all means, the desire is for you to succeed. However, the wonderful dream of opening a shop compared with the very real struggle to make one profitable can be two very different pictures. Rather you get a decent warning then none at all.

As it was stated, the coffee business is extremely competitive. And building an aspiring business in this industry will take a lot of work and some serious determination. If you’re not willing to go the long haul, including the financial means to get through the lean times, you may want to rethink your plan. However, with the right planning and money, if you can remain steadfast in your goal, and if you possess accounting skills as well as the barista’s touch, with some luck you may have a shot at making it. As the saying goes, nothing worthwhile comes easy. But the rewards are there for those that can see it through.