Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Yvonne Scobbie, founder of The Osney Cafe & Social, located in Halifax, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a small cafe in Halifax's North End that specialize in breakfast, lunch, and espresso based drinks. The cafe is run by myself, my fiance Graham, and our employee Brandon. We're a small team that strives to provide quality products and service to every guest that walks through our doors. We have food and drinks that will satisfy the more adventurous eaters as well as those that prefer the classics. It's so important to us that our guests not only enjoy their food, but also their overall experience with us.
Tell us about yourself
I'm originally from Ontario and I moved to Halifax in 2017. My partner Graham and I had both worked in the hospitality industry in various positions for years, and spoke of our dream to eventually open our own business some day. I kept my eye out for the perfect space for us, and once I found it we decided to take a leap of faith and begin our journey.
It has been such a huge learning experience for us both - with many amazing milestones as well as many difficult situations. The amazing relationships we've built with our guests and fellow community members have been our biggest motivation every day.
We've gotten to know so many people and we love to make them happy. We regularly ask them all for input on new menu items, policies, even playlist suggestions! Their support, enthusiasm and friendship motivates us so much every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is that I can confidently say we have created a product, space and community that I can be proud of. We have worked so hard to create our business and build this amazing community of guests that we have, and I know that this hard work is paying off in more ways than one. In a few weeks we will be reaching our cafe's first anniversary, and I'm thrilled with how far we have come in that time. Not to mention that we are reaching this milestone in the midst of a global pandemic!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being a business owner is HARD. Your business takes up most of your time and your energy and it can be pretty exhausting.
It's also hard to give yourself a break at times because you feel guilty for not doing more. We've learned that we can't provide our best service if we're feeling burnt out and exhausted, so we've dedicated our Sunday's off to ourselves as a day to relax and prepare for the week ahead.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
1. Reach out for support from your community! Fellow business owners have so many resources that you might not be aware of. Building those relationships is so important because you can help raise each other up and build a supportive community of local business owners that are often experiencing the same successes and also difficulties.
2. Listen to your audience. Ask them what it is that they want/what needs to change/what they love. It's important to let people know that you are listening to what they have to say and you are acting on it, if you can. This is something that has benefitted our business and has also benefitted our relationships with our guests.
3. Make sure you are finding a work/life balance that works for you. A business isn't sustainable if you are always burnt out and exhausted. Make time for yourself so that you can be the best business owner that you can be.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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