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    5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 26, 2008 12:34 AM by Lighthouse24

    If I have an idea or concept.......

    RJones Newbie

      What things do I need to consider? My concept is for a gourmet dessert & coffee cafe'. The idea is not new but my products will set the business apart.

      If I have no working capital of my own, how do I even begin to get this off the ground any time soon?

      I've read here that "you cannot use borrowed funds from a lender for start up capital" this generally not a good idea? What does one do when you have an idea, but seem paralyzed due to lack of funds to get it started? Is the idea then doomed to be stuck in your imagination until some windfall occurs?

      What's the secret to getting something like this off the ground? Do I start the search for a location?...see how much it costs to acquire & renovate?


      I obviously need some guidance. Any advice is welcome.
        • Re: If I have an idea or concept.......
          LUCKIEST Guide
          *If I have an idea or concept, Welcome*<br /<br />*If I was in your shoes and had a concept for a *a gourmet dessert & coffee cafe (in Atlanta,
          *I would do the following two steps to start.*<br /<br />One. Develop both a Business and a Marketing Plan.
          Two, Visit SCORE in person or online. SCORE is FREE and they can help.

          Good luck, LUCKIEST
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          • Re: If I have an idea or concept.......
            Iwrite Pioneer
            The business and marketing plans are a must.

            To generate funds and start building a client base, what if you were to start as a catering shop more than a cafe? This is only at first, build relationships with businesses and people, create a buzz for your desserts and coffee, and then when you open the cafe you already have customers. Look at providing desserts for events and functions.

            I had a client in Milwaukee who did this and she ended up with a nice business. She started with baskets that she would make for meetings or waiting areas and it grew into a catering business and then a store front.

            She found it easier to get funding when she had sales and recomendations from existing clients, a couple of them being banks didn't hurt. When it came time to open a location, she really struggled with whether or not to do it because her business was going so well with a lower overhead.

            FYI, The Dessert Shop in Buckhead did great of business for years before it changed owners and closed. It was right there at Peachtree and Piedmont. It was great because after a great dinner, you could go and have a dessert of your choice.

            Good luck.
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            • Re: If I have an idea or concept.......
              Lighthouse24 Ranger

              If you have an idea, but don't have cash, then you need to meet someone who has cash, but doesn't have an idea -- and who gets as excited about your idea as you are. You could troll the ‘net looking for that person, but I think finding him/her that way would be a long shot.

              Since you said that it is your gourmet product that sets you apart, you have something of value to pitch now. That's great. Find some way to get it out there, even if it's on a very small scale.

              For example, suppose your dessert creations would be an ideal addition to a gourmet restaurant's menu (or to a caterer's offerings, as already suggested). If the place is already buying pre-made desserts, as opposed to having a dessert chef, you could offer them a "nothing to lose" proposition to give you a try for a week. Your cost would be minimal, but the "exposure" could be priceless. Where are you more likely to find qualified investors than in a dining room full of people who are enjoying gourmet food? And who among them is more likely to get excited about investing in you than someone who is consuming your product and thinking, "This is really good! I'll bet a place that specialized in this kind of thing would make a fortune." It's not unimaginable that the potential investor would approach you!

              Good luck with your enterprise.

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              • Re: If I have an idea or concept.......
                RJones Newbie

                Thank you all for the sensible responses.

                1 I do feel that the business & marketing plans are a must and an area where I should spend careful research for overall plans to be thorough, yet completed in a timely manner


                2 The suggestions for starting on a smaller scale really makes the whole idea seem more of a managable succession of progress

                3 The idea of doing something I love to do, watching it grow while keeping low overhead in an effort to gain a potential client base makes it more attainable and not overwhelming

                I would think I need to now research what licensing requirements there may be for catering according to an in-home or facility based location for preparation of goods.