Tag Archives: coffee

Springing Back to Life

Hey Toronto-dwellers, I know that winter may be getting you down. But Imagethere is hope in sight. There are just 14 days left until spring! That’s nothing when you think about all of the crazy ice storms, polar vortexes, and snowboobs (who knew there was such a thing?) that we’ve had to endure for the past four months.

Torontonians are tough. But soon we can all breathe a sigh of relief. I can almost hear the sound of birds chirping and smell the sweet scent of flower blossoms that will appear before we know it.

I’ve been cooped up inside for months now, re-building my business after being off for a year of maternity leave and I’m getting ready to get out there and talk shop again. So, as the weather warms up, I look forward to meeting potential new business partners and clients to discuss how I can help you tell your story.

If you like coffee, tea or even jamba juice (it’s sorta tropical, right?), send me an email and let’s chat.

As we look forward to the trees and flowers springing back to life, here’s a little story about how coffee can stimulate your brain – something that brings me back to the land of the living every morning.

Hang in there!

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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5 Ways That Coffee Shops Could Become an “Anywhere Office” for Entrepreneurs

coffee shop entrepreneursEven though I am focused on writing blogs about the Canadian digital landscape and emerging online trends, I wanted to share an idea that I have been kicking around in my head for a while.  I mentioned in an earlier blog that I meet on Wednesdays with my “Career Yoda”, Rachel.  We meet every week at a Second Cup where we discuss my assignments.  I am always amazed by how many people are there working on their laptops and I have noticed that there are a number of regulars (sometimes teams of laptop workers) who are there every day.  I believe that someone could write a book about the companies that these coffee shops have launched and I sense that there is an untapped market out there for coffee shops.

I recently discovered someone on Twitter who also had that thought and is already one step ahead of me.  I recommend you check out @thecoffice to see what I mean.  So, instead of writing a story about the entrepreneurs who now call coffee shops their “coffice”, I thought I’d outline some opportunities for coffee shops like Canada’s Second Cup and Starbucks (obviously an American chain) to tap into a new revenue stream by accommodating entrepreneurs beyond providing free wi-fi.

Here is a list of some of my ideas:

1. Private workbenches to rent by the hour – Toronto has already opened a few Centres for Social Innovation where entrepreneurs can rent a desk and chair or office space by the hour or for a short period of time.  I believe that coffee shops have an opportunity to also offer this service if their shop is big enough.  They could either have an upstairs area or an area in the back designated to entrepreneurs who are working out of their shop.

2. Private call rooms – If the coffee shop doesn’t have the space for full desks or tiny offices, another alternative (or addition to small offices) would be tiny phone booths or call rooms.  They could have one or two tiny “phone booths” that just have a chair, tiny table and a phone that entrepreneurs could again rent for a small fee and would just pay the barista for a key to one of the booths, or book the room online in advance.

3. Conference call dial-in numbers – If small businesses are already there working for an hour or two, perhaps Starbucks or Second Cup could host a number of 1-800 dial-in numbers that they could rent to entrepreneurs for the day via an online service.  This would likely involve a partnership with a Telco – I believe that Starbucks has already partnered with Bell on some web services.  This could either be a separate fee or be built into the fee for renting a tiny space for the hour or day.

4. One or two private meeting rooms for teams – Again, this could be booked by the hour on some sort of web portal hosted by the coffee shop where entrepreneurs could book the room in advance when they know they will be working out of that “coffice”.  The meeting room could be equipped with a projector and conference phone.  Perhaps you could also pre-order coffee and treats to be set-up in the room when you get there?

5. Online Community for Entrepreneurs – Starbucks or Second Cup could tap into a community like Sprouter to have entrepreneurs share their stories about launching their business from their shops and also provide some coffee perks, no pun intended, to frequent users of their office services.

I suspect that there are additional opportunities for coffee shops to accommodate an “anywhere office” for entrepreneurs.  Please share your ideas and I’ll add them to the list.

Don’t be Afraid to Make a Turkey of Yourself

Photo of me in a turkey costume - 2nd from right

Second Harvest "Turkey Run" at the Toronto Scotiabank Marathon

I’ve been told that one of the secrets to successful networking is to show that you are vulnerable.  If you don’t let people know that you need their help and ask for it, you’ll never get anywhere.  I recently made the brave decision to become a freelancer. So, I’ve spent the past few weeks contacting people that I’ve previously worked with to find out how I can help them with their business and/or find out if they know anyone else who I might want to speak with? My goal is to talk to anyone who will listen and who might want to give me some advice.

So far, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of people who have offered to help by either sitting down to talk over coffee or by introducing me to someone else who might be a great contact.  People truly do want to help you if you give them the chance.  As a result, I have met some very interesting and inspiring people and I feel extremely grateful to all of them.

I used to shy away from networking because I was afraid of making a fool of myself but now my mantra is “always be networking”.  What do you have to lose? You just never know who you might meet and everyone has a great story to tell.  You might even make some new friends along the way. I figure, if I can dress up in a turkey costume and run 5K in front of thousands of people, I can definitely call someone up and ask them to go for coffee and chat.  This week, I am staying open to all possibilities!