How is my life as a Web worker affected by the closing of 600 Starbucks nationwide? Let me count the ways. But seriously, I’m sure there are many a Web worker lamenting the possible closure of their corner Starbucks due to the company’s “re-organization” strategy (no store locations have been revealed at press time). Do they not know the important role each and every Starbucks plays in the day-to-day lives of Web workers all over?
I mean, having a Starbucks on practically every corner in some cities is the kind of convenience that we’re all used to getting online where if one Web site or Web app isn’t exactly what we need when we need it, another is only a few mouse clicks away. A few steps to the next street corner is only slightly more strenuous than those mouse clicks. And now, we’ll have to actually walk whole blocks to get to a Starbucks that hasn’t been ripped from our streets in the name of improved profit margins for the ubiquitous coffee haven. Well, what about our profit margins as Web workers? Without those 600 Starbucks, how will we survive?
To get everyone through these tough times, I’ve come up with a 5-pronged strategy to ride out the shake-up but also to make sure that we don’t get caught back in the vortex of coffee chain market oversaturation and end up feeling the same pain. Here are my tips:
1. Diversify. Are you a one-Starbucks kind of guy or gal? You need to identify several Starbucks in your area within a reasonable distance from your home base in order to ensure that you have a backup location in case another one closes down. A Google Maps search will help you pinpoint the prime locations.
2. Act Locally. Better yet, stop by some of your locally-owned mom and pop coffee shops that actually offer free wifi versus the pricey AT&T or T-Mobile online access that many Starbucks provide. I tend to split my work time away from the home office rotating between several locally-owned establishments for my caffeine fix, free wifi, and relatively quiet workspace.
3. Visit Globally. Why not enjoy the Starbucks experience while you are on the road for business? It turns out, according to CNNmoney.com, that the company is “still opening a large number of stores in overseas markets like Western Europe, where growth is slowing down and profit margins are lower.” So you may be in luck if your job takes you to Western Europe this year.
4. Really Diversify. These days, wifi isn’t relegated to the ol’ coffee shop. After toggling between two locally-owned (and woman-owned, by the way) coffee hang outs in town, I’ve added a natural foods restaurant to the mix. Wifi is everywhere including libraries, gas stations (and truck stops if you are literally on the road driving to another town for business), even laundromats. What could be better than getting your online work done while taking care of the laundry? Talk about multi-tasking!
5. Raise Your Own Profit Margins. What’s the real bottom line here? You’ll see a lot greater profit from your efforts in Web working at the end of each year if you make your own coffee at home. You can even throw in a little bit of Tip #2 by buying coffee from local roasters. Making your own coffee daily instead of buying an overpriced cuppa joe can save you upwards of $1000 annually, and that’s if you only partake in a single cup per day. Those of you with a heavy caffeine habit could buy a small car with your profits. Maybe even a hybrid.
So you see, my five-pronged strategy for surviving the Starbucks closures could not only help save you some of your hard earned cash but could also help to save the world.
This post was somehow inspired by this one by Paul Kedrosky of Infectious Greed.