Christopher Wood and his business partner, Doug Lee, opened the first BeCaffeinated coffee shop in 2019. Since then, their efforts have multiplied, with four locations that employ 40 part-time workers, a roastery called New Wave Coffee, an in-house bakery, and a business and marketing coaching business called HiveThink Media. In all of that, Wood finds himself in a variety of roles -- human resources manager, researching new coffee recipes, and sometimes serving behind the counter as barista. Wood and Lee prioritize working with other small businesses, as well as giving back to the community. Each month, BeCaffeinated partners with a local non-profit who receives a percentage of the shop's earnings.
What is your best business habit?
I believe perspective is crucial. It provides context to everything, from the purpose of the business, to how we handle employees and customers. When I have a tough day/week/month/year, I try to look at the silver linings. Having issues with an employee? Next time, you will better know how to handle the situation. A stranger does something weird? Time to install cameras to better protect employees. Bottom line not doing so hot? Time to think about why that is. Figure out how to ask questions and pay attention in the right places. Answer those, and you will end up better, even if it hurts in the present moment.
How did you discover or develop it?
A lot of this stems from my appreciation for author Simon Sinek and his "Start With Why" philosophy. It's his belief that people don't buy WHAT you do, but rather WHY you do it. Determining one's "why" for both life and business, I believe is paramount to sustaining both through difficult times. If you have these guidelines in place, then you need not be present for every decision because the action can be weighed against the characteristics you have already set out as important.
How has it improved your work and/or personal life?
The ability to scale the actions of the owner to as close to all actions as possible is every founder's dream. Once it is no longer just the founders on the frontline, there is a huge risk for loss of culture, values, work ethic and customer service. But if a leader is able to set forth priorities and boundaries, then others can use that as a guide for decision-making throughout the company. This creates a higher level of satisfaction for everybody -- employees, customers and leadership.
How might others apply it?
Read Sinek's "Start With Why" and the sequel "Find Your Why." Having foundational pillars set up as a guide makes tough decisions easier because you can think about them like a flow chart. Ask yourself why you do what you do. Then ask yourself again. And again. Your first three answers won't be specific enough, so keep asking until you get to the root of your passion. Doug and I didn't start a coffee shop because we liked coffee. We started it to create a space for people to be safe, loved and valued.