Want to become a Guddina Featured Coffee Roaster?

Guddina Coffee is currently looking for interested specialty coffee roasting companies that would like to partner with us to bring our customers their best products. Our partnered roasters will have at many opportunities to increase their national market reach, but specifically will have two channels through Guddina where they can sell coffee directly to our customers.

– Through monthly featured coffee subscription boxes (we hand select the coffees that go in these boxes)

– Through weekly single orders placed by customers in our web app (all approved roasters can list any of their coffees here)

Currently, Guddina is partnered with nearly a dozen coffee roasters across the US, from Denver and Omaha to Columbus and Portland, and we are incredibly interested in expanding our partnerships even further so that our customers have the widest selection of excellently roasted and incredibly fresh coffees that they can try on a monthly, bi-weekly and weekly basis. We don’t take away from the roaster brand, either. All coffees that come through us retain their current roaster name and contact details so that customers can connect with their local roasters and buy directly from them in the future. Continue Reading

Startup Sunday: Why Transparency is Important to this Startup

Welcome to Startup Sunday, a new series of posts by Tim that will focus, not on the coffee industry, but on running a startup company or small business and the struggles and lessons that are found within those experiences. Every Sunday, Tim will publish a new blog post about how Guddina is doing as a new company, and will look for discussion in the comments to see how we can improve our services and products that are offered.

In 2013, I decided it was time to stop filling my work flow with every single app known to man and instead focus on just a few super-apps that could make my life easier. Gone were the days of downloading the newest, greatest app in the App Store or Google Play and trying it for a few days before uninstalling. Gone were the thoughts that I had to have the best software in order to get any work done on a day-to-day basis. Gone was the idea that I even needed a piece of software at all in order to complete the tasks set before me.

In 2013, I wiped my phone clean and started fresh with just a few apps that I hoped would stick around long enough for me to become an pro-user. Evernote, Google Apps and Feedly were at the top of my list, and for a long time I didn’t use any other apps besides those three. This was a new way of thinking for me (having a background of writing at Mobile Nations and editing Android Phones For Dummies), but I knew it would be for the best. Today, those three apps are still installed and still used on a daily basis, with the addition of one more that quickly became more than just an app I use, but a company I watch and am inspired by.

Buffer, which is a tool built by Joel Gascoigne’s Team, makes sharing content on all of Guddina’s social networks super easy, and we use it every day. I don’t want to write about the features of the app in this post, though (check out their website for details on that). Instead, I want to share how the way Joel runs his company has changed the way I will be running Guddina, and what that means for the future of this company.

What does transparency look like?

Probably the biggest thing that Buffer has inspired me to do is to make Guddina a completely transparent company. There are few companies in the world that take transparency as seriously as Joel and the rest of the people at Buffer do, but what exactly does it mean to be transparent?

Here are a few meanings of the phrase that Buffer has acted on beautifully:

Ultimately, what these things do is:

  • Create a company culture and community that the public truly wants to be a part of.
  • Holds you accountable to your customers and stake holders.
  • Gives you a breadcrumb trail to follow back and see the mistakes of the past that lead to current events.
  • Creates the perception that you and your company have nothing to hide and that you’ll always have the customer’s best interests in mind.
  • Keeps misunderstandings of your company from happening as often, since your intentions are almost always clearly stated.
  • Helps people feel more comfortable approaching you with feedback and concerns (that will ultimately make your business better).
  • Paints you as a leader in the industry who doesn’t need to be secretive in order to be innovative
  • You become a resource for other companies to learn from as they get started with new, innovative ideas in various industries (for example, we are learning from Buffer, but we are in a completely different business than they are).

How will Guddina be “transparent”?

All that said, I think being transparent is probably harder than it sounds. There are a lot of pieces to balance, especially in the industry of coffee, since we partner with so many shops and roasters that might not care to be affiliated with a fully transparent company like ours. There are a lot of questions that I need to ask myself too, to make sure we’re doing this “transparency” thing correctly. For example: Should Guddina be posting our revenue results each month (or will that make us look bad if we aren’t meeting expectations that our partners might have of us). Should we draw attention to all of our problems we are running into each week, or just chalk those problems up as part of how startups work and let the solutions speak for themselves?

Ultimately, Guddina will follow in the footsteps of Joel and his Buffer team while we get off the ground, and eventually we’ll try and do things even better than they are. We’ll strive to be open and transparent with you in every way that we can moving forward, even if we aren’t entirely sure how that looks yet.

From this point forward, as is hopefully seen by the beginning of this new series of weekly articles, you’ll start noticing some small changes in the way we communicate. Soon, a few new pages will sprout up on our website that will explain our mission, core goals and company culture philosophies. We’ll start sharing a few more details about how we operate on the backend, so that you can be sure we are always doing things honestly and efficiently. You’ll also have new ways to be able to communicate with us and help us become the company I envisioned a year ago.

It’s all pretty scary, for sure, because it leaves us vulnerable in ways that even major corporations hate to do. But I think it’s the best decision. I’m a big fan of honesty and integrity. Why would I hold back on those two things in my business, if I’m unwilling to do so in my personal life?

It’s not enough to send great coffee to your doorstep. That’s what we’ve been saying from the first day I announced Guddina Coffee several months ago, and it will be what we continue to live by going into the future.

Click here to Sign up for the Guddina Startup Sunday Newsletter to get weekly updates from our blog sent straight to your email.

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Help us find a new “Home” and get a full year subscription of coffee!

People have often asked us, “When will Guddina open its own coffee shop?”, and while we have definitely had a few opportunities to do exactly that (more than a few people have approached us offering to pay for us to open a shop), we just don’t want to go down that route right now. Our goal is to promote other coffee shops and roasters, not to build one for ourselves (this is the same reason why we aren’t roasting coffee ourselves).

However, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t love to partner with a coffee shop for a while and make ourselves at home in the midst of coffee lovers, and that’s exactly what the purpose of this blog post is for.

How to get a year subscription to coffee:

Before I share the details of what we are hoping to accomplish with this post, I wanted to explain how you can get a full year’s subscription to Guddina Coffee. If you know of a coffee shop or roaster that you think would be a good fit for us (read on to learn what that means), send us an email or ask them to contact us. If they end up being the perfect match, and Guddina makes the necessary moves to achieve this goal, we’ll send you a new box of coffee every month until a full year is over.

For more details, send an email to: tim@guddina.com Continue Reading

A look at the best coffee shops in Omaha, NE – Caffeine Crawl 2013!

Guddina hit the road this past week and made the long drive out west to the 2013 Omaha, NE Caffeine Crawl, and boy was it fun.  While we were there we met some awesome people, visited a number of different coffee shops (and a roaster), and drank a ton of coffee.

A Caffeine Crawl is an event that’s put on by the fine people at The LAB (formerly LAB 5702). They pick a great city with a lot of specialty, independently owned coffee shops and roasters (plus some tea shops scattered throughout) and send a notice out to their fans in that city to let them know when they’ll be in town. Once they arrive, guests will get a fun tour around the city as they travel from one coffee shop and roaster to another, taking in all of the sights, meeting people in the different communities and getting to know the world of specialty coffee along the way.

That’s something Guddina can definitely get behind, and so we wanted to support them by visiting our friends, Beansmith Coffee Roasters in Omaha while also joining in our very first Caffeine Crawl. Here are a few of the spots that we fell in love with along the way:

Quick Note before you make the jump to the list: Finding coffee shops like these is exactly what the Guddina Web App is being built to help you do. To find out more, go to out homepage and sign-up for our beta newsletter at http://www.guddina.com/

Continue Reading

4 ways to keep your coffee shop from going bankrupt

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It’s a pretty well known fact that most coffee shops and small restaurants go bankrupt fairly quickly. Within the first year, many coffee shop owners will reluctantly close their doors and say goodbye to their life as a small business owner. Bottom-line: running a coffee shop is a lot of hard work, and there are no guarantees.

We’ve been learning a lot from the successes and failures of others over the last few years, and we think we have a pretty good plan for how to achieve our goal with starting this small coffee company. Of course, we love to share our ideas with our community, too. So here are a few thoughts on what we think might help specialty coffee shop owners get launched and stay running.

1. Don’t start with a full-service coffee shop.

Right off the bat I’m are saying something that could be pretty controversial. Trust me, though, this is an important tip to take to heart.

If you’ve never owned a coffee shop before, an especially if you’ve never even managed one, you’ll be surprised at how many unexpected money-sinks will show up. A hundred tiny events occur every single day that will threaten to take your hard-earned nickels, dimes and quarters, and before you know it you’ll be losing all of your profits. By starting smaller and adding in more services and products to your menu over time, you can find these tiny money-sinks and stop them before they overtake your company.

This is incredibly important for a first-time shop owner specifically, because a loss in even a small amount of profits and cash-flow can destroy your business and render you incapable of moving.

Let’s take a look at an example I read somewhere online recently. Imagine you are selling cupcakes to increase your average purchase amount per customer. You buy 20 cupcakes from your local bakery for $1.25 each, and you sell them for $2.00. That’s a $0.75 markup profit, and things are looking good on first glance, right?

Well, because you’re just getting started and word-of-mouth hasn’t spread about your new shop yet, you only sell 10 cupcakes on that day. You still made $7.50 extra, and you only just got started so you expect to not make a huge amount of profit your first few months. Things are still looking good.

But you didn’t just “not make a huge profit”. You actually lost money. You sold 10 cupcakes for $20, but you bought 20 for $25. As soon as the other 10 cupcakes go stale and you have to throw them away, you lost $5. If you do that once a week, or if your employees eat a cupcake every few days, or if you drop a couple, or if a customer complains about one cause they hated it and return it, or whatever happens on the regular – you are cutting tens of dollars into your profit every month off of just this one thing.

Multiple that a few times and you’ll start feeling the pain pretty well.

2. Don’t expand your menu beyond reach

First off, If you’re opening your coffee shop with a starting missing, then you should keep that mission as the final deciding factor with whether or not you add an item or service to the menu. If something you are offering doesn’t line up with that mission, then it should not go on. Ever. Your brand image and company culture is everything – and those two things include the image that products you offer portray to customers.

In coffee, though, you could probably justify everything on your menu as being in line with your mission – unless you realize that your mission is to also remain profitable each and every month. It’s just not feasible to offer every kind of latte, soda, cake, pastry, flavoring, slushy, brewing method and brand of bottled water imaginable to your customers. Just like in the above point, the first thing this will do is cut into your profits each time you have to throw away expired products.

A side point, though, is that your customers will be overwhelmed with options, which plays a psychological effect that keeps them from making additional purchases (and again, killing your profits). Having a larger menu also has the negative side effect of keeping your employees from being able to really own their drink recipes and preparation skills. Even the best barista gets a little bogged down during rush-hour. Now imagine rush-hour with a menu that’s 100 items long.

It ruins morale of employees who are trying to juggle too many things at once (many of whom will hate making sandwiches when their real passion lies in pulling shots of espresso), it cuts into your profits when you have to throw away that one-off ingredient that’s used rarely in a product that’s only purchased by that one guy who comes in once a week, and it keeps your customers from comfortably choosing high-quality items (and more of them more often) that you are proud to serve them.

Plus, it’s good for brand image when you add items to the menu – it’s terrible when you take away items (it gives a sense of failure that makes customers weary of the stability of the business, plus it immediately alienates those few people who are loyal to the items you just took away).

3. Keep your passion at the fore-front

Subtitle for this point: If you don’t have a passion for coffee or customer service, then don’t even think about going into this business.

Passion is different than talent or ability. You and your staff must have a true desire to serve great coffee and create an excellent coffee shop environment if you’re going to be successful. Potential means nothing. Talent means nothing. If you aren’t actively pursuing your passion in coffee and customer service and creating those excellent experiences, then it will only be a matter of time before you say “This isn’t worth the hard work” and back out.

Even the successful coffee shops that you know about don’t make a whole lot of many in their first year, if they’re making any at all. If you don’t have the passion and drive to get the work done, you’ll start seeing those numbers and quickly get burned out.

Getting burned out, of course, has a funny way of trickling down the totem pole to the rest of the staff, who will lose confidence in their leader and reflect that burned-out feeling in their own work ethic. That’s bad for business. Incredibly bad. Bouncing back from poor customer reviews and a company culture that is going down the drain isn’t just insanely difficult – it’s one of the number 1 reasons why startup businesses in any industry fail.

4. Listen to what your customers say about everything – even when they aren’t talking

Starting up a company is about a whole lot more than just selling a product. You need to build a brand, market to your target demographics, build great business relationships, provide amazing customer service, increase profitability, hire the right people, watch the markets grow or shrink and always be ready to change directions.

In order to do those thing successfully and keep your loyal customer-base following along with you, you’ll need to make sure you’re listening to what your customers are saying (even when they aren’t talking).

Obviously, listening to the critiques of your customers is incredibly important and easy to do. Just make a quick note and keep it in a file somewhere to look back on once a month and see if you need to make adjustments to make your customers happy (do NOT, however, give into feature creep – give customers what they want, not what they ask for).

More importantly, though, watch how customers are responding to your offerings. Do they seem excited or interested? Do they glance and walk away? Are they listening attentively or shrugging it off? When you mention the price do they seem shocked because the price is too low or too high? Do they always buy the same drip coffee and never try any snacks or other (better) drinks? Are they bringing in friends to see your shop or are they always alone? That last one is a big one – if your customers never invite their friends or families to meet up at your store, what can you do to encourage them to do that?

When your customers start watching you make small changes to be more accommodating, they’ll fall in love ever more than if you provided them with a discount at the cash register.

One-time customers come for the sale, repeat customers come for the experience. Listen to what they have to say.

These four tips aren’t the end of the line for what can be done to improve the success rate for coffee shops, but it should get people thinking about the decisions that need to be made before making them. There are thousands of factors that play entire the success or failures of cafes, restaurants and espresso bars, and as the business owner you need to be ready to address all of them.

In a future article, we’ll talk about some different ways to keep track of everything that’s going on and how to quantify the data to make better decisions, but for now I want to turn it over to you in the comments to read your thoughts on how to make a more profitable coffee company.

Win an Aeropress Coffee Brewer!

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Guddina Coffee is giving away a brand new Aeropress Coffee Brewer to one of our lucky supporters!

Winning the brewer is easy, and all you have to do it follow these steps:

  1. Go to our website at www.guddina.com
  2. Scroll all of the way to the bottom and “Sign Up for Early Access”
  3. Leave a comment below saying that you signed up!

If you want more chances to win, you can do so on Facebook or Twitter by:

The winner will be chosen by early next week.

This giveaway is only valid to US-based residents. No purchase necessary. Guddina Coffee is not associated with Aerobie or the Aeropress Brand.

Video: Guddina hangs out at Agnes Grill for a Coffee Training Day

This past week the Guddina crew found itself at Agnes Grill; a new hot spot in downtown Dayton, OH that specializes in delicious, all natural, completely filling and freshly made food. Amma, our photographer, decided that it would be an awesome opportunity to shoot some video to share with you guys, and so on this International Coffee Day we are happy to share the final product with you!

To go along with their fresh and all natural menu, the Agnes owners wanted to add some great coffee in to the mix so that people who are downtown could stop by for a consistently great cup. We brought our favorite roasted coffee beans from Beansmith (Omaha, NE) and Boston Stoker (Dayton, OH) for the folks at Agnes to try, and by the end of it they couldn’t stop telling us how badly they wanted to add our product to the menu.

You can watch the video by clicking the link below or going to YouTube. As soon as Agnes Grill is all setup with specialty coffee, pour over and french press brewers, we’ll post the announcement here on the blog so you can go check them out!

http://youtu.be/74Cl1B_zgHo

If you would like us to feature your business in a video (and on our blog), send an email to hello@guddina.com.