Recently, I received a pretty interesting business opportunity. On paper, it looked great. The contract would diversify my audience, increase my reach, and establish myself as a, for lack of a better word, “thought leader.”

I wanted to say yes, because logically, it was great.

But, I took a step back to consider it. This might sound kind of free-spirited, but… I laid down on my apartment floor, stared up at the ceiling for a good five minutes, thinking, “Do I want to do this?”

During this period of reflection, I also analyzed my emotions surrounding it: Was I excited? Was I uninspired? Would this make me want to get out of bed in the morning? That last one is pretty important, because I’ll be honest, it almost takes a crane and the immediate reassurance of coffee to get me out of bed.

I eventually said no to this opportunity. Because I wasn’t excited and I couldn’t even fake the excitement for it. I understand that I have the luxury to say no.


How does this apply to a coffee business?

Consider the pumpkin spice latte.

Your customers want it, but you hate it. What is it about the pumpkin spice latte that you hate? Do you hate that Starbucks made the intensely sweet drink popular? Do you hate dousing the espresso with loads of milk and syrup? In that second case, do you serve mochas in your cafe (and how would that be any different from a pumpkin spice latte?)?

Ask yourself this: Can you make the pumpkin spice latte better and can you make it so much better that you are excited to serve it?

While you don’t always have time to dedicate five minutes of staring-at-the-ceiling for every decision you encounter, can you reexamine some of your decisions?

When you said no to the pumpkin spice latte, were you saying no because you hate Starbucks or because you know that your customers don’t want it?