I learned much from my nine days on the road. The Transition Tour was about taking a deliberate break between ‘chapters’ in my life. It was also, and very importantly, about cataloguing and validating ideas and concepts. By visiting as many coffeehouses as possible, and taking note, it was an opportunity to see how similar ideas I held might work. The trip was cut short, but I was still able to refine my ideas about coffee and the coffee business. I also learned much about solo motorcycle travel. Following are some of those lessons:
Solo Motorcycle Travel:
- Don’t rush planning. Don’t over-plan either. A plan can be loose and flexible, but one needs to take time to consider holiday traffic, summer construction and time and distance calculations.
- Get your packing right. Take test rides and make sure you have what you need, and where you need it.
- Space out the hard stops. Having some place to be (or people waiting on you) is great (and I saw some really great friends along the way), but it can be a constant pressure to ‘get somewhere.’ This resulted in some really long days. Having stops is good, but space them out.
- Service your bike before you go. This will alleviate doubts and free your mind as you travel. It will build confidence.
- Have a good data and phone plan. Make sure everything is good before you depart.
- Have an alternate (or weather) route considered. I got hammered by flooding and lightning storms. I wouldn’t turn around on that alone, but knowing where to expect issues and generally knowing how to adapt is a good idea.
- Make sure you have the tools you need to perform the work you are comfortable doing.
- KOA campsites are great!
Building a Successful Coffeehouse:
- Master the basics. This is foundational – get the service model and coffee right.
- Books add a lot to the atmosphere of a coffeehouse.
- Bricks and wood are warm features.
- The music sets the mood.
- Consider what the central theme of the coffeehouse is and don’t stray too far from it. Am I a roaster, a coffeehouse, or both?
- Fire features are always cool.
- Guitars are always cool.
- A full-wall world map and postcards. Love it.
There is much more I took from my week on the road. I am now refining my business plan to reflect this. The key I think is to ensure I am not scattered, but clear on my concept. As a result I now have a better sense of what I need to do in preparing to advance my business. It seems like I did stray, but I am certain I can now get this back to basics and be ready to start searching for a location in earnest; once the kids are back to school.
Furthermore, this adds to the story. Failure is as important, and in many cases more so, than success. Action (and failure) and adaptation has been credited with getting the Wright Brothers recognition for first in flight. It is now time to take action.
So, now I will spend some quality time with the family before a focus on action becomes my priority. You will also note from the attached picture, which posted to Instagram today, that I am still getting out on the bike to explore more local coffeehouses. Today was the British Cafe in Aylmer (Gatineau).