Throughout the last ten years, I have been eager to set my eyes on any form of a 'Cultural Café', that serene thought-provoking setting that makes cafés more about igniting and inspiring the mind than a brainless consumption of that magnificent grain. However, and to my disappointment, that kind of Cafés doesn't exist in my country anymore. All I could find is pale alternatives focused more on mainstream attractions and short-term money-making while in the 60's and to the 80's those were the direct or indirect cause of a humane cultural revolution.
Thus, my decision to revive that wave. After a bit of confabulating with some people who share the same interests, it came to my mind that all that concept needs is a revival and update to make it suitable to the current generation. I took it as my mission to give them a taste of that combination of entertainment and culture under the same roof and at the same moment.
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'A social enterprise, the cultural café is a hub offering food/drink with cultural events.' http://www.culturalcafe.co.uk/ [Accessed: 31 Dec 2012].
In order to have a profitable business, it is necessary to have a good sense of Entrepreneurship which is a set of critical skills used to introduce a new idea or product to the market. A good entrepreneur should have well refined discipline, thus not being distracted by day-to-day hindrances and having a sense of respect towards his staff, customers and suppliers.
Confidence is a key element in distinguishing a successful entrepreneur, having the self-trust, self-respect and will te be a leader is the solid basis of a business-driver. Leadership is not always about authoritarianism or domination, but also about having the courage to take critical decisions and being able to sail against the wind.
An entrepreneur should be creative and innovative since the spirit of an enterprise is bringing something new to a market, or renovating an existing structure, product, service or idea (Intrapreneurship). Open mindedness is a required mindset in terms of managing a team and handling customers.
If all those traits are the fuel of an entrepreneur, passion is the fire igniting it and keeping it lit. As long as there is passion the motivation behind an idea never dies and never gets exhausting or regretful.
I have decided on the creation of my cultural café, under the name of 'Braingasm Café''. However, I needed to measure how successful it would be, and to be sure that it could be realistically made instead of relying on just dreamy eyes and good intention. Looking at it from a profitability aspect, the rarity of such a 'Business' is the major advantage of my idea. However, each business needs a targeted audience, mine is the educated crowd. And to appeal to that exquisite bunch, the best way would be to organize a smart promoting campaign, based on social media and internet-based social-networks; since it would be much cost-effective and it would reach throughout the country. 49% of the country is connected to the internet according to the CIA factbook, and that 49% is all I need to start.
Financial plan :
My initial capital will be 225.000 DH, an offer from 'Banque populaire' under the name of 'Irchad' which funds start-ups for individuals with an interest rate of 5,2 % which is very convenient.
I have chosen Maarif in my home city, Casablanca, as my location. Maarif is a grand neighborhood, luxurious and secure, and considered as a cultural hub. The location price for the ground floor varies amidst 20000 and 40000 dh monthly with decent frontal parking. Assuming I get the best bargain possible at 30000 dh I will be left with 195000 for the first trial month. 90000 dh is just enough to acquire high-standing furniture including arrangements and painting.
As for the food and drink supplies; according to 'Nader groupe', a large distributor of those supplies for the majority of downtown cafés, 10000 dh is the monthly cost for the whole necessary provisions. The provide a set of a chef and two kitchen workers and a waiter for 10000 DH a month.
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A yearlong wifi service, an in-house library, a jukebox and a television cost 30000 DH . 'Braingasm café' would be left with 55000 to organize some decent cultural events such as inviting some young musicians or organizing reading sessions for the duration of a year.
The average daily profit for cafés at maarif is 2000 dh for offering standard café and viennoiseries. 'Braingasm café', being a conceptual and new setting would surely attract less of a customer-base.The plus of offering a cultural setting would make me able to raise the price, for each item for an additional 2 DH which will make our daily profit equal to theirs despite the lower rate of visitation. A daily 2000 dh rounds up the monthly profit to 60000 dh while the monthly cost is 50000 dh leaving us with 10000 dh monthly net profit from which a small portion would be used to pay up the debt and to have a solid amount for the event-organization for the next year.
SWOT Analysis :
- 'Braingasm Café' would be very innovative and unique since there is no such facilities in Morocco, thus it would be very attractive and eye-catching.
- The setting is planned to be highly fidelizing since the customers are supposed to have refined discussions and get in different cultural activities together. Relationships would be created and linked to the place.
- The location allows the business to be referenced in high-stand touristy-spots guides.
-The location allows the prices to be raised in the future since it is luxurious and snobby.
- The initial capital does not allow a grand opening and promotional campaign.
- The profit is merely enough to progress slowly.
- The location is very expensive.
- The loan taken is a heavy burden on the long term.
- Partnerships with different cultural organizations and institutions such as Moroccan Government funded youth houses "Dour Echabab", schools and universities would be very beneficial to business in terms of bringing customers and giving a truthful cultural stamp.
- Providing fidelity cards helps to build business-loyalty and make it easier for the customers to come back.
- Offering a discount for students would give a good business image.
- Morocco is going through a financial crisis, although it is not severe, it makes this project a risky shot. An average Moroccan's buying power does not allow investing much in cultural activities. The customer-base would be just enough, but to make it really larger it would need years.
- Casablanca is a competitive environment with many ready-to-gamble investors. The creation of any innovative business is followed-up with many imitations usually.
- Having any trouble paying the loan back can end up in bankruptcy since the business is in the form of a sole-proprietorship.
PESTLE Analysis :
- What are the major Political factors that could have an effect on the business ?
- The political environment in a monarchy such as morocco is pretty sensitive towards cultural gatherings in general and tends to be overly preventive and supervising which could be suffocating for my setting.
- The tax policy towards the private sector, especially new enterprises, consists of a high tax rate and is not very helpful.
- The patent should be paid for yearly instead of once.
-What are the important Economical factors in question ?
- The economical environment is growing slowly and does not allow a
serious expansion for a starting business.
-The interest rate is decent and is not really punishing.
- The average-joe's buying power in morocco does not make spending on cultural activities very easy.
Which Social aspects are most weighty?
- Morocco is a country in which the demographics display a larger young population, youth is more prominent than the elderly or infants, which is suiting my business very well.
- Culture is not much of a priority in morocco as in first world countries. The majority is still struggling with basic vital need which is very inconvenient.
-A cultural awakening is starting to show as of the last few years, it is promising and comforting. Different cultural programs are laid down by various associations and government-funded agencies to enlighten the moroccan population and give and highlight the importance of the cultural side.
What technological innovations are more likely to aid the business ?
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- Check-in applications on smartphones, which are most of the time connected to social networks allows a faster and more elaborated word-of-mouth spread about my business. Customers with the most check-ins would get discounts and a symbolic virtual trophy, " Bronze regular, silver regular, golden regular " depending on the number of times they visit the café AND display it electronically for others to see on the social network of their choice.
- Electronic maps implemented on the same devices make getting to the café easier. Instead of struggling with printed maps or asking around, a customer could easily type 'Braingasm Café' into his device and have the path routhed and traced in a most efficient and convenient way.
What legislations may affect the business?
- Health and safety regulations are very loose in Morocco, which is unfortunate for the customers but gives businesses an upper hand in terms of controlling their work environment and procedures. I do not intend in any way to have a shady work environment but too many regulations could be suffocating for a manager.
What are the most prominent environmental considerations ?
- Neither the climate, weather or geographical position would affect my business since casablanca is a moderate city. A café is attracting on cold weather as much as on summer days for both have their attractiveness.
The cultural happenings :
'Braingasm café' would organize and hold many cultural happenings such as musical or comedy gigs, speeches and talks, poetry rounds, debates, book or movie analysis, and art displays. Artists and intellectuals would be contacted a month prior to the happening in question. The focus would be on giving a chance to the young starting artists and gifted intellectuals, introducing them to the audience. The advantage would be that those people are very cost-effective, easily attainable and more open to the public. Instead of having a few curated individuals to animate the happenings, the plan is to give a shot to as much as possible and letting the audience judge, thus having more diversity and being a probable recognizable first-step to rising artists. Those more acclaimed by the customers would be asked to animate events that are more elaborated, more promoted and which will require ticket purchasing to attend to.
A few events are going to be broadcasted or streamed online, live, as a promotional tool. Some video-compilations will be selected for sale on CD's to make extra-profit depending on the success of the events. There is also a possibility of contacting radio stations to broadcast the more auditory-inclined session.
Occasionally some trips would be organized to cultural spots, involving anyone interested for a fee that varies depending on the expenses of the trip in question taking into account profit-making. The cultural spots vary from historical monuments or any place with historical significance to theaters, music concerts and natural landscapes. Transportation, accommodation and meals are to be included in the fees. Bringing a group of customers to the businesses involved in the trip would allow deals and discounts.
Intellectual property :
IP is a legal notion consisting of protecting any intangible intellectual property which is a result of creativity. Any business needs to be protected from competitors to keep it profitable. Getting a patent for the café is the first thing to think about. The business's name, "Eargasm Café'' is nonexistent and can be trademarked to avoid it's use by anyone else in the future. The name and logo are to be recognizable signs as our label and will be trademarked. If any trademark infringement takes place, legal action will pursue immediately. An internet domain name will be acquired as soon as possible and copyrighted to have exclusive rights to it. Before any individual with bad intentions gets hold of it and uses it to taint the reputation of the business, or tries to blackmail the management, or get us to buy it at a higher price.
The main aim of these procedures is to prevent the customers from being misled into dealing with a mendacious or deceitful imposter. As well as gaining the trust of the suppliers who need to preserve their reputation. If there is an intent to sell, transfer or license the business, following these legal procedure would make it easier and would raise the goodwill value.
Goodwill is a notion in accounting that means the intangible value of a business and consists mainly of it's reputation. Amortization is the calculation of the increase or decrease of this value once measured by calculating the sales rate, the current ratio, the customers return rate and the profitability.
The business hours :
The café would open it's doors at 10 AM at weekdays and be closed at 10 PM. On the weekends, the schedule would be 8 AM to 12 PM, since more events are likely to occur on weekends and would need an early opening or a late stay.
Since it is a small-business, service-provider and not in the form of a company, government work hours regulations do not apply and the BH could be changed when there is a need to.
Facility renting :
There is a possibility that an outsider party may need to rent our locale for uses that are similar such as gigs or debates as examples. The tariff would vary depending on the timing seeked, number of people that would be invited, the services needed, the drinks or food required and the number of staff members requested.
Additional to-do list and personal plans:
Getting Insurance and more than enough insurance.
Writing occurings and thoughts down. Having a daily/weekly task list.
Setting goals. Then creating steps to achieve those goals.
Figuring out my money makers. Nothing is worse than wasting time on something that will make you little money.
Not being afraid to get rid of bad clients or customers. They will end up costing my business money. Being nice but firm. Using expressions like "I'm sorry my business can't fulfill your needs."
Sticking to what I am good at. Never over-extending my services.
Creating a proper image for my business. Spending the money on a good web site. Business cards, etc. Nothing is worse than looking like a fly by night business.
Knowing my customer base and market.
Targeting my market and the people who I want to be my customers.
Having a disaster plan.
Writing out job descriptions for my employees. Reviewing it every 3-6 months.
If I am looking to hire. I should be picky. It is better to wait to hire someone than to spend countless hours dealing with the wrong fit.
Going that extra step for my customer. Even something as simple as helping them out the door goes a long way.
Not being afraid to fire someone. If they are doing anything bad or are a bad fit. I should get rid of them the sooner possible. They will drag my business down.
Killing any sort of office drama.
Creating a good business culture.
Reading. And reading a lot about anything to do with my field and business. If something will fit into my business, I should make a plan to integrate it, then follow through.
Treating all clients equal. It doesn't matter if someone spends 10 DH or 100 DH. You never know who the customers talk to. If I offend the person who spends 10 DH, they might be the one who tells the most people about my business.
Learning to manage time efficiently.
Breaking up projects into small pieces.
Spending at least a few hours a week improving my business. If I have trouble finding time, I have to schedule it.
Keeping a schedule.
Defining my processes and tasks. Looking at every process or task. Figuring out the best way to do it. Writing it down and applying the new method.
Not being afraid to contract someone for a job or project. Just because I know how to do some thing doesn't mean I should or that it is the best use of my time and money.
Not being afraid of change. If I don't change I will be left behind.
Training myself and my employees well. It is often what makes or breaks a business.
Networking my business. Going to networking meetings. Becoming a leader in my community. But not having the attitude or come off as a "buy from me" person. Sharing my knowledge and having the "How can I help/What can my company do to make your company better" attitude.
Charging what I am worth and make sure I am worth what I am charging.
Not being afraid to bill people. Be up front with the person. If you are rendering a service, finding out how much I can legally ask for upfront.
Being upfront about freebies or bonus things you give your clients. Don't let them expect it every time.
Not spending money I don't have.
Learning to know when to apologize. Things happen. I should apologize, correct it (going beyond expected if possible), then move on.
Cutting out dead services or products that aren't making money or have a low return, especially if I can replace them with something better.
Taking time for myself. Going on vacation.
Listening to your customers and employees. But being smart before making changes.
Creating fair, honest, and clear policies for both customers and employees.
Staying away from dark patterns and deceptive practices.
Learning to say "No". Especially to services outside what I offer. The money will be tempting but if anything goes wrong, if will cost me more in the end.