What Is Working Spotlight is an ongoing series that aims to highlight the successes, challenges and unique lessons faced by different group of entrepreneurs. Below, our editors ask Abraham Sitt about his biggest challenges, proudest achievements and how he hopes to shake up the NYC coffee scene.
What, according to you, are the main challenges facing small business owners today?
Raising capital and knowing what is ahead of you. You can't predict the future but you can plan to have it a little easier. By planning for the first eight to twelve months, you are making sure that you will be able to pay your fixed cost and cover your expenses.
What inspired you to start your own business and what is the biggest challenge you've faced to date?
Ever since I was a kid I would do anything to make a buck. When I was seven years old I took my bike, received as a birthday present, and picked up a paper route. When I was about ten years old I sold candy out of my backpack at a summer camp to the faculty and other campers. By the age of fourteen, I was already beginning to learn the stock market and where to invest my money. As a young kid my dreams and goals were to be my own boss. I envisioned myself running and operating my own business. It's a feeling that is hard to describe with words other then that it has just been in my blood.
Balancing my social time and work time has been challenging. Working over 80 hours a week, I find that I rarely have any time to spend with family and friends.
What's the one piece of advice you'd give to aspiring small business owners or entrepreneurs?
LOVE WHAT YOU DO!
A daily routine is extremely important. Experimenting with new and creative ideas. Failing is one way to make yourself stronger. Adapting to your environment and learn from yourself and others.
Start small. Don't take on too big of a project that you can't handle. Let your mistakes happen on a smaller scale so that by the time you're ready to go big, you wont hit any large bumps in the road.
Know your cost! Know what you need to make each day, every week and every month to make a profit.
Create a warm family environment. Your employees are the most important. Always hire good people. My employees are excellent! They are enthusiastic and have amazing people skills. Treat them well and with the respect that you want them to have for you. At UR CUP we are a family.
What's the one achievement you're particularly proud of?
Opening and owning two coffee shops in NYC at the age of 22.
What makes UR CUP different? What do you offer that no one else does?
At UR Cup, our mission is to serve the neighborhood only the highest quality ingredients. Using local and organic components, we are mixing up the finest coffee, tea and espresso. Our goal is to produce the most conscious, flavorful drinks in the best way possible: pure and fine!
We view quality products and excellent customer service as being inseparable and crucial to success in small businesses. My business depends on word of mouth and the cafes reputation in the neighborhood. To maintain that stellar reputation, I need make sure I am consistently producing something that people love and that my staff is super-friendly to customers.
Everything that you can possibly put in or on our coffee cups is 100% compostable. We use Compostable Cups that are printed with soy ink. Everything on our condiment counter is compostable, from the lids, stirrers, spoons, napkins to sleeves. Our cold cups and straws are made from corn so if you get a little hungry after you had our delicious iced coffee, you can eat the cup... but I wouldn't recommend it.
When you walk into a UR CUP you become part of our family. We look to educate our customer. Teaching our customers about what they are about to eat or drink is what we love. I want my costumers to walk out with an amazing cup of coffee but at the same time gaining knowledge on what they are about to drink.