One major question, tea start-ups have to make is either to start from a brick and mortar tea shop, tea room, or starting a tea shop online. There is no perfect answer to this, and often it depends on your start-up budget, your personal passion, and your skill set. Whatever you choose, do not feel restricted in the future. After all, tea shops can expand into online as an additional sales channel and online stores can expand into offline shops. Read further below in which we discuss the major factors that you need to consider.
As with many businesses in the world, your financial budget and restrict certain options. You might see this as a constraint, but at the same time it can help you make decisions easier. If you are on a tight budget, it can be better to start an online business first as you will avoid major monthly cost of offline tea shops and tea rooms such as rent and employee salaries
Some people have very natural communication/sales skills when speaking to people face to face. If you possess this, then opening a tea shop could be an excellent idea to convert more store visitors into customers. In addition, you might as well visit restaurants, hotels and cafes in your neighborhood and become their tea supplier. Let your passion for tea shine through your sales pitch and you will for sure gain some long-term frequent customers.
Do not underestimate the initial cost of starting your own online shop though. IT cost for developing a website can range from 2000 to 10.000 USD depending on factors such as web design and site functionality. Besides simply web development, there could be unexpected IT maintenance required. If you don’t have the necessary IT skills and you are on a tight budget, you could consider starting off from an eBay or Amazon store. Though these platforms will take a certain % commission of your revenue, it can save you big on IT development. If you do possess IT skills, then use it to your advantage to create a powerful and great looking web store. Do keep in mind that a new website needs more initial marketing than an eBay or Amazon store, which we will discuss in the next paragraph.
If you are shy or for whatever reason not excelling in face to face communication, then don’t worry. After all, more and more people are online these days and this means that there is a big potential customer base that you can tap into. Especially the young generation are very used to being online. If you have strong knowledge on how to navigate online environments such as social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and forums, starting an online store can be your best bet to drive traffic from those online environments right to your web store.
This article is part of a series of blog posts about: How To Start A Tea Business