Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Local Coffee Shop as Small Business Incubator

It's probably cliche at this point, with hundreds (if not thousands) of articles written on all of the small businesses setting up their meetings at the local coffee shop and essentially using it as their office. Near both of my offices, you can observe this phenomenon on any given morning.

If you poke your head into Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks, you'll likely find a longer line of people getting their coffee for the morning. But at those stores, the people are grabbing and heading out to the trains, buses and other ways to get to work. The wi-fi can be inconsistent, the space too noisy and the ambience just far too hectic.

Travel a block away to a true, local coffee shop, and you'll find a quieter scene. One filled with tables of people having meaningful discussions about the future of their apps, the local PTA discussing the next fundraiser, or just some old friends catching up. The Internet connection is more robust, the ambience quieter, the coffee a little stronger, the food offerings a bit tastier and the overall mood is a bit more optimistic.

When things do get crowded, you can end up sharing a table with someone who you've never meet before, who may have a totally different approach to business than you've ever considered. Sitting with Matt a few days ago, he explained to me how his investment business focused on small and local businesses and was always on the lookout for new opportunities. When the discussion turned to what I do, he immediately became interested in some of the small businesses I represent, especially those who could use some additional funding to get through the cold winter months.

With that lovely robust Internet, Matt and I are able to look over some financial figures for his business immediately and make some possible connections for him to continue to invest and help grow our local businesses. Matt and I will likely bump into each other again sooner rather than later.


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