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An unexpected problem now that all is well

MattTurpinMattTurpin subscriber Posts: 22
As most probably know by now, my goal is to open my own cafe. It`s been a long road full of unexpected twists and turns, a few forks and just as many hurdles. Originally, the plan was to start full sized - I would, with a perfect business plan and movie star charm, get the 150,000 loan nobody else can get, and all would be well. When this was the plan, my partner was gung-ho. It would`ve taken a year or so to get the money for the equity at least, and the idea was a dream that still had much uncertainty to actually see through.
Fast-forward to the present, and I`ve come up with a plan to bootstrap my way to full size, by beginning with a mobile cart situated in a hospital lobby - a recommendation by my consultants, and verified by a friend of my father`s who did the same thing and flourished. It`s proven money, and it requires only a fraction of the cost to start up. It`s money I`ve already been preapproved for by at least one bank. Now, the cafe isn`t a matter of if, but when. I`m getting my certification for food service, and shopping for supplies; getting a list of hospitals in the neighboring states and my own, and really getting down to business.When the cart(s) work as planned, and make the expected profits, the savings would go to funding a full fledged building cafe, and people would be hired to man the carts, as the supplemental income of multiple fronts would be a blessing in the slow times. It would be the realization of a dream, and I would be the owner of my own company.You`d think that would inspire enthusiasm, but instead, it`s like a marriage - and the immanent reality has given my partner cold feet. We both have a warehouse job at Staples, and while it`s not a dream job, it is a safe job. I won`t abandon my plan. I have to DO something, if this cafe is going to be a reality. I can`t postpone. I can`t slowly save. The longer I procrastinate, the less likely this cafe ever happens. I have one opportunity right now. The money is there, the business plan is 90% complete barring the specifics of the hospital in question. I have to act now or I never will.The problem is, and it`s not a problem that will affect the startup of the business, as I can go it alone via this plan, is that I might be put in the unenviable position of abandoning my partner, and this hurts me. I desperately have to sell him on the idea that bootstrapping isn`t permanent, but is necessary. Endeavors in this economy can`t start big, expensive and risky. The bootstrapping won`t have me saddled in debt. I can afford the monthly payments if the business flounders, just by getting my current job back, or any regular job like it, if I move back in with my parents. Bankrupt, I`ll never be.I suppose I`m curious how you folks would handle the situation. I know what I have to do. Would you do the same? My current thought is to possibly go it alone with the promise to give a chance to hop on board once I`ve saved enough for the building. I don`t know. My achilles heel as a businessman is that I like people too much. I don`t think I could easily fire somebody that I respected in the slightest. I feel equally horrible at the prospect of leaving a hesitant partner behind. My first plan is to sell him on the idea, but the worst thing I could do is to invest an extra 25,000 for a 2nd cart when he`s not as sold on the idea as me. For us to succeed, we both have to not only do our jobs, but we have to give 200% and be proud of ourselves and work each day knowing how great the cafe is. If the idea of working a coffee cart to get started is embarrassing, that just won`t work. Anyway, comments are welcome. I don`t really have a point. Just thinking out loud, venting.


  • nevadasculnevadascul subscriber Posts: 3 Member
    What`s embarrassing about a food cart.  I knew a man who cleared $150.00 per day after expenses from a hot dog cart.  Many college students pay part of their college expenses working small food or drink kiosks. 
  • MattTurpinMattTurpin subscriber Posts: 22
    Seems the problem was a misunderstanding of the reality of the term "coffee cart". Whereas I was doing my best to describe the situation as an office sized movable kiosk of sorts, a picture proved to be a thousand words. Apparently I was giving the impression that the business would involve us walking around with small metal carts, somehow. Anyway, all is well on the business front. We went location hunting today. Now that the if is out of the question, we get the fun of the when. Talking to lawyers, taking certification courses, negotiating - now the real fun begins. I`m so relieved this is no longer a pipe dream.
  • stoaviostoavio subscriber Posts: 3
    I feel it`s difficult to give you advice with the same kind of certainty CraigL has without better knowing your partner and the entrepreneurial potential of your team. Although I don`t entirely disagree with Craig`s opinion, having a partner who thinks through things thoroughly and is maybe rightfully apprehensive about something in your business plan doesn`t necessarily mean he should be left behind. 
    If this is your dream and you`re passionate about it, you do need to be careful about selecting a partner, should you choose to go that route, who can be advantageous to your venture and like Craig said, not need babysitting every step of the way. If you feel like proceeding with him is going to be a struggle, you need to be forthcoming about your feelings and let him know that you`re prepared to continue without him (because that`s how passionate you are and how badly you want to see this come to fruition). stoavio6/10/2009 10:08 AM
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