Coffee Shop Math

24th May 2016

By: Jeff Jacobson

Small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers aren’t always cut from the same cloth but almost all of them can be considered “scrappy”. We are always looking for ways to work more efficiently and get the most bang for our buck. Rags to riches stories have become legendary for companies like Apple, Amazon, Nike and Google who all started out working in garages. Other great ideas grew out of basements, home offices and coffee shops.

Coffee shops? Let’s talk about coffee shops. Since the first Starbucks launched in Seattle in 1971, the coffee shop has transformed the way we live. Getting a morning “joe” has become as much of our routine as brushing our teeth. To satisfy the demand, there is a coffee shop almost anywhere you look. It is estimated that there are over 55,000 coffee shops in the United States.

Coffee shops have transformed into a place to meet, socialize, and in a lot of cases, a place to work. Notebooks and tablets adorn tables and wifi and electrical outlets are in as much demand as non-fat milk, sugar or that alternative sweetener you put in your drink.

I meet a lot of people who work from coffee shops. They seem to love getting out of their house and around people and activity. But what’s the number one reason I hear? “It’s free!”.

Free? Let’s dissect that statement a little further. Here is a little “coffee shop math”:

Let’s look at a typical day in the coffee shop:

If you truly work from the coffee shop, that’s about 22 days a month. So your monthly “coffee shop” expenses would total $244 monthly. A far cry from free.

But it’s not always about the money. The coffee shop is usually in your “hood”, so it is almost a given you will run into friends, family and acquaintances. Add in the obnoxious loud talker sitting next to you and you will often find yourself in a somewhat state of distraction.

Studies show that productivity drops severely at 85 decibels and coffee shops often surpass such levels.

Coffee shops are awesome. They are good for a lot of things but one of them isn’t boosting productivity. Add in the fact that it is really hard to hold a meeting or present to a group and you’ll soon find that you might want to graduate to a better place to run your business.

So here’s my advice: take that $244 a month and apply it to a “real” place to work. Your productivity will increase, you won’t have to deal with random loud talkers and suffer from the coffee jitters.

Work small, dream big,

Team Kinglet