465 folds

Cafe 465, the cafe that opened in May, replacing the ill-fated Come the Revolution, has closed. The unit is back on the market. One of the founders, Nicola, confirms:

We started on a shoestring and unfortunately didn't get enough custom to survive. But many thanks to everyone who did support us.

The particular spot they occupy on the high street is not very promising as a location for a cafe and punters may not have realised that the place had changed hands, especially as the People Before Profit estate agency still lives next door.

However, it´s a shame they didn´t give themselves a little more time to make a success of the place. It´s extremely unusual for any business to break even, let alone turn a profit in six weeks - most businesses take more than a year to become a success. They also seemed to give themselves a couple of major handicaps by limiting the opening hours to 10am-4pm and not embracing the marketing power of the internet more fully.

Good luck to the team in whatever they do next.

31 comments:

kolp said...

Well that's that then!

foxicus said...

What a bizarre riposte Nick!

I'd like to say well done to Nicola and all involved in the cafe for having the enterprise and community mindedness to take a risk and give it a shot.

Brockley Nick said...

It's not a "riposte" to anything. Statement of fact and advice for future local entrepreneurs. Opening for 6 weeks is not "giving it a shot". If you're only prepared to give it a go for six weeks, you are setting yourselves up to fail.

Still, agreed, good luck in the future to all those involved.

kolp said...

It's not really the time to be dishing out advice. It's like someone who announces that they've got cancer and telling well you shouldn't have smoked. But all the best.

Anonymous said...

No Kolp, not really like that at all.

Anonymous said...

As I said at the time, they didn't cater to the bacon and egg sarnie crowd and lost because of it. You can't run a cafe if you're not serving fare!

foxicus said...

My point was that it sounded like one (a riposte) and hence it being bizarre - churlish at the very least.

I certainly don't agree with you that one shouldn't even embark on new ventures unless one can guarantee optimal conditions for success.
As a small business owner myself I know I certainly wouldn't take such a risk, but fair play to them for seizing an opportunity to give it a go. Would you rather the premises had sat empty?

Brockley Nick said...

@Foxicus - I'm not arguing that one needs optimal conditions. I'm saying you need to expect that it won't be optimal!

There are lots of people who read and use this site who are thinking about starting up their own business (some of them who want to open in Brockley). Therefore it makes sense to point out what can be learned from this.

EnterpriseIan said...

Foxicus, do you actually disagree with any of Nick's points?

They seem like basic small business advice to me:

1. Anticipate that you won't be a success from day one and work out in advance how you're going to cope with that.

2. Do some marketing.

Would I rather the premises had sat empty? Well it was only open for a few weeks, so it makes no odds either way, really.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
foxicus said...

EnterpriseIan - I thought I'd made it quite clear that I do indeed disagree with Nick's points: I'm not suggesting it isn't sound business advice, nor that others could benefit from it, but rather that this 'advice' seems somewhat misplaced (not to mention boorish, pompous...) following immediately as it does from Nicola's announcement.

That's how it came across to me anyway so it's not impossible that it would do likewise to others.

Why not start a separate topic on business advice to entrepreneurial minded readers - if that is really your aim?

Brockley Nick said...

@Foxicus - I'm not clear what point you're disagreeing with me on, other than one I didn't make (that everyone needs to have optimal conditions).

I have created several threads about advice for entrepreneurs. I even organised an event for local businesses with Enterprise UK a few years ago and ran an article based on an interview with Lewisham's small business support team.

This is another opportunity to talk about some of the issues (rather than just create a random thread about business matters).

I never speculate, or allow speculation, about local business failure. But in the event that it happens, I think it is fair to reflect on it.

Lou Baker said...

Well said Nick.

If the business lasts just 6 weeks it was obviously badly thought out and not very well run.

And, Kolp, if a smoker gets lung cancer that'll teach them. Only a complete prune could not understand the risks.

fpxicus said...

Nick, I was just saying that it feels to me like you made an error of judgement on this occasion... It seems odd and unecessary - in my opinion - to follow up a quote from the founder about the demise of her business with comments of that nature. It comes accross to me as insensitive and gloating rather than informative or helpful.
As the author I don't expect you to agree!!

Anonymous said...

Short opening hours for a cafe...

Brockley Nick said...

Foxicus - So you agree with the analysis, but you think I should have been more sensitive than to express it.

I see that point of view.

I did think quite long and hard about whether to post it and certainly I am not gloating - I'm disappointed this has happened. I supported the business and promoted it on this site and deleted reader comments predicting failure.

However, on balance I decided that I should say it because:

1. Two failures at that site in quick succession might put off future occupants from trying to start something at that location. I think it's important to point out that there were other possible reasons for the failures.

2. There is no shame in failure. Most new businesses fail. It's a badge of honour for many successful entrepreneurs that they've had one or many failures. Failure is valuable if lessons are learned.

3. You say the article doesn't contain anything informative. I'd dispute that. Perhaps it is obvious that you need to be in it for the long haul and that using the power of the internet is really important, but evidently these points are worth repeating.

Ultimately, I have to account for the things I write to the people I write them about, so I don't say what I say lightly.

Anonymous said...

for someone who has a 'natural aversion to earnest authority figures' you're doing a very good job at being one Nick

Osh said...

Shame it closed, but two months really isn't long enough.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the PBP state when one of their glorious founders took on the lease it was 2 years until the owners started developing the site?

If that was said 1 year ago, just leaves 1 year?

Demolition of the existing building fronting 465 New Cross Road SE14 and the construction of a 5 storey building....

Brockley Nick said...

Foxicus, following your feedback, I have tweaked the text. It makes the same points, but hopefully in a more sensitive way.

Anonymous said...

Am I right in thinking you mentioned a people before profit estate agency?! How on earth does that business concept work?

Mb said...

Yep, try as I may the idea of a PBP main man running an estate agency - a more capitalist enterprise you couldn't hope to find - has bemused me from day one.

Anonymous said...

Shucks I was going to try it this weekend

kolp said...

Sorry 5 July 14:21 it WAS!

Anonymous said...

Local Tories have taken it over I hear and it will soon be called "Come the Bankers"

Transpontine said...

Technically it isn't a People Before Profit Estate Agency - it is Housemartins, a long established local estate agents that predates the existence of People Before Profit by many years. As far as I understand it, it is a straight commercial business.

But it is true that Housemartins is run by Ray Woolford, a prominent figure in People Before Profit. The cafe space is next door to the estate agents and indeed has sometimes shared an entrance and signage.

I think for a cafe to get going there it would need to be relaunched as something completely distinct from the estate agent with its own clear identity. But if the building might only have a little time left it might not be worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

PBP messages I guess from Ray appear on the front page of Housemartins website.

Would Housemartins turn away buisness because a seller is only interested in the profit they will make?

At what point is it decided the profit has been put before people?

Anonymous said...

Talking of profit...the home page of Brockley Central gobbles up 3Mb of my internet allowance, which restricts me to only 110 visits a day.

Brockley Nick said...

Does it? wow, sorry about that. A few too many hi-res images in the articles at the moment, by the sounds of things.

Anonymous said...

I'm forming a new party called Purple before Profit and am thinking of taking on this cafe and decorating it entirely in purple!

Come the Purple People Revolution!

Anonymous said...

maybe they went out of business because PBP don't understand business requires profit...and in business it isn't a dirty word...

Latest Tweets

Brockley Central Label Cloud

Click one of the labels below to see all posts on that subject. The bigger the label, the more posts there are!