The Power of the Process
The purpose of time in starting a coffee shop
There are some business ventures and entrepreneurs that are able to jump into given opportunities, where for whatever reason time doesn’t have to be a lengthly variable. Even we had the chance to own a coffee shop where if we said yes, it would’ve been ours in a week! But one thing I’m learning is that in our story, time is a necessity and over this past year I’ve seen the value of it in building upon the foundation to a successful shop. What are some areas time has revealed as important?
The value of time in developing…
Passion– What’s the point of striving towards the dream of starting a coffee shop if you decide it’s not for you? Dreams can often be romanticized, but time will show if you’re a good fit for your dream, as much as you think it’s a good fit for you. Time will also test if your passion will hold up, how bad you want it, and how much you’re willing to endure the bad and ugly along with those victory moments. Will the test of time fade out your flicker, or will it fan into a fire?
Persistance– Time, circumstances, transitions, and other pressures in starting a business can be very revealing. Throughout this process you’re pushed, stretched, stressed, tried and tested. You learn the weight and cost of your dreams. Is it worth it? Can you even handle it right now? If not, there’s no shame in the game– who do you have to impress? People just see the outside, not the cost that goes into it behind the scenes, or the cost of failure if you are rushed into it. Let the pressure of this process push you forward in persistence, or lead you to better things.
Personality– Not only does pressure push you to decide the worth of your dreams, but it builds you up into the person you need to be to reach them, grow them, and keep on dreaming. It’s no question that trials can be used to grow our character and mold us as a person. Throughout this past year specifically I’ve been forced to develop, and am continuing to learn important traits like problem solving, decision making, patience and endurance. Theories become reality on a practical level, and good thing too, since these will be necessary to a successful coffee shop. I might not have these traits now, but am willing to let the process create them in me.
Protection– Sometimes you’ve got to jump into a short-window of opportunity. But more often than not, time is very telling and it doesn’t hurt to intentionally and actively wait. Over this past year, we’ve implemented this way of thinking where we pursue things, but not strive. We refuse to make decisions under pressure where we sense we’re driven by fear and doubt. Instead we take time to wait and if it makes sense to go forward we do, and if it doesn’t seem right, we don’t. At first there’s often a moment of regret, wondering if you missed your chance, and a frustration that you’re still waiting. But there are always more chances, and time has turned those frustrations into thanks. We often look back at this year thankful that we dodged some bullets, and waited for things that in their right time proved to be better decisions.
Plans– Your plans and vision will also need time to improve and develop from day one. Our starting plans a year ago were totally different than what we have in mind to execute today, and I’m thankful we had this time to develop our business. Not only will your vision become more refined and sharpened, but the technicality of your plans and how you will make things happen will become better fine tuned and cost-effective. While you might want to begin tomorrow, you’ll be thankful you didn’t start the shop that was thought through on a napkin!
Purpose– I love how this point was illustrated in John Maxwell’s book, “Leadership Gold:”
“Don’t be like the boy playing chess with his grandfather, who cried, “Oh no! Not again! Grandpa, you always win!” “What do you want me to do,” replied the old man, “lose on purpose? You won’t learn anything if I do that.” The boy responded, “I don’t want to learn anything. I just want to win!”
“Wanting to win isn’t enough. You have to go through a process to improve. That takes patience, perseverance, and intentionality.” -Maxwell
It’s not a race about wanting to “win” a coffee shop, or owning a business. What is a coffee shop in itself? Taking time helps take a step back to value the greater goals and purposes that drive you, and about learning to win, and something greater than yourself. This can only be accomplished through a process, as time continuously teaches and reveals.
The Point– the process asks the question, do I really want this after all, and am I willing to put in what it takes? It’s an important question to ask, but not an easy one. Which is why sometimes it takes a process to really get down to the answer. Nothing good ever comes easy, so if you’re an aspiring coffee shop or business owner and you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, it may not be purposeless. Let the process of time create value in your purpose, pressure, personality, protection, prize and overall point of the matter.
On one hand, this journey is about aspiring to own a coffee shop, a current dream in my life, a dream some of you might share. But on the other hand, I don’t see purpose of life as living your dreams for the sake of your dreams. If I’m just here to encourage you to shoot for the stars, and throw caution to the wind, that actually might be dangerous in itself! Starting a coffee shop or business is risky, and so with caution should you invest in this your savings, family, time, life— especially because people have failed! Valuable things should be handled with care and wisdom:
- Take time to pursue your business venture in the context of time, life stage, money, market, and all variables at hand.
- Take the time to write a business plan and think through associated risks.
- Take the time to lay down a solid foundation for a business that hopefully will be sustainable for years and years.
And if not, know what amount of time you’re willing to limit yourself to, and know why it’s a good decision for your business. There’s no copy-paste way to start a shop, but at least know how and why you make decisions! It’s true that many of us can hold onto dreams without taking the effort to pursue them. If Ernest had it his way, he would’ve opened up a few months after we decided to start a coffee shop. But if I were doing it like I do, I’d be planning and waiting for years without ever knowing when that “perfect” time would be. But it’s not about picking extremes. Learning to be a good business owner involves examining your options, deciding what works best for your specific time and situation, being able to support that… and doing this continuously and repetitively.
Time- useful or wasteful? How has time played a role in your ventures? Share your input below!