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Get Your Bar Off to a Flying Start

At one point or another – usually after a fair few drinks – the idea of opening a bar is often floated around and discusses enthusiastically, only to be forgotten in the hangover of the next morning. However, if you have woken up and you are still serious about the prospect of launching a drinking establishment, this is the article for you. After all, this is an incredibly competitive field that you are trying to break into and it is not always going to be easy.

Your quickest route to failure is to attempt to please everyone. Instead, you need to be focusing on carving out a niche for yourself and attract a particular type of customer. You need to establish a crowd of regulars Cheers-style and get them recommending your bar to everyone they meet. And you also need to establish a unique selling point that helps you to stand out from the crowd.

Do Your Research

A lot of people who think about launching their own bar have never actually had any experience. So, if you can work in a bar (or even multiple) before you get started to do your research, you are putting yourself in a position of serious advantage. There may also be some qualifications which help you out such as The better you understand and appreciate how a bar actually works, the more likely it is that you will be able to make a success of things.

Create a Business Plan

Now you have reached the stage when you need to start putting your ideas down on paper. Try to summarise your overall concept in a few sentences that you can pitch to potential investors. Determine the amount of capital that you think you will need and add at least 10% as a contingency budget. Describe the type of space that you will need to bring your vision to life and your hiring policy for staff members. Consider what sort of food and beverage you plan on specialising in. Also, think about your financial plan in terms of when you expect to recoup your initial investment and make a profit.

Location, Location, Location

Once you have your business plan firmly in place, the time has come to choose a location where you are going to establish your bar. The neighbourhood you pick and the types of businesses that are already in the local area should have a big influence on your decisions. Research what sort of foot traffic that you expect to receive. Also, look at the venue, keeping in mind the spacial requirements that you set out in your initial business plan. Make a shortlist of the neighbourhoods that you think will work out the best and which ones fit within your price range. Once you have settled on a potential location, the time has come to negotiate the lease and get your liquor license

Raise Your Startup Capital

There is no doubt that the issue of raising the funds that you require to start up your bar in the first place can be very daunting. To begin with, you could ask your friends and family if they are able to help out with an initial loan. However, make sure that the potential risks are clearly laid out to them as mixing your business and personal lives can be a toxic combination. Other options which as worth looking into as alternatives include equity financing, debt financing, and convertible debt.

Build the Space

Now we get to the fun part of starting up your own bar – building the space itself. If you have done enough in the initial planning stages, this is where your vision will start turning into a reality. If you are on a tight budget, stick to the essentials to begin with – you can always improve your bar over time when it starts to become successful. It is likely that you will need to hire some help to deal with the details, so make sure that you choose your architect and contractor carefully. You could always try out some DIY methods as an alternative to buying everything new.

Hire the Right Team

You might have the best space in the world, but unless you have a dedicated and professional team to make your customers feel instantly at home, you are going to struggle to make a success of things. While you may initially feel that you want to manage the bar yourself, you need to fully understand what a commitment you are making. Hiring an experienced manager can help to take some of the weight off your shoulders. When it comes to choosing bar staff don’t simply go for the people who can make the best cocktails. A personable bartender or two can end up being a game changer.

Market Like Crazy

Your marketing strategy needs to be taking place while you are renovating the bar and not after you have already finished. Perhaps graphic design isn’t your area of expertise and you choose to hire a professional designer to create a logo, sign and marketing materials. Once the visual stuff is sorted, it is time to get promoting. In the modern world, the internet and social media will be your best friends. And maybe you could get some customers through the door in the first place by offering some discounts and promotions.

Now that you have read through this entire article, you may be thinking that all of this sounds like an awful lot of work. However, the feeling that you get from seeing your vision come to life and creating a place where people can come together is one that you won’t forget in a hurry. So, if you are willing to put in the time, energy and commitment, these are the first steps that will get you on your way to bar success.

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