(NY Times Business) Taste-Testing a Second Career, With a Mentor

Only half of all small businesses survive five years, according to the Commerce Department ”” the number is much lower for food establishments. But at his original location, Mr. [Duncan] Goodall said, he’s figured out some rules for indie coffeehouses. These are rules that he has now evangelized to all the mentees, “about 20,” who have found him on the Web.

“You have two types of people” who come for mentorship, Mr. Goodall said. “People who love coffeehouses, and people who love coffee. But there’s no requirement for either of those groups to know anything about business.” So what he offers mentees is like a quickie M.B.A. for people whose background is in ”” to use the Owens’ example ”” preaching or nursing.

Mr. Goodall is emphatic about Rule No. 1: “Figure out your niche.” If you’re attracting the artsy crowd, don’t worry if your employees have crazy tattoos ”” it might be better if they do.

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