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Truths behind running a small business.

Daniela sent me a post she had read that hit home with her, and when I read it, I completely agreed. So, I wanted to share it with you all. I know that amongst those of you reading this there are other small business owners who may also agree, but perhaps the post may also offer a little insight to those who don’t own a business but use some small businesses.

The post is by Gillian Fautley of Courts of Rayleigh, a beautiful florist in Essex.

“The unfortunate truth of owning and running a business.

Running a business is really hard.

What they don’t tell you is that it can cause severe stress and anxiety and drains you mentally to the point of depression in even the most laid-back people.

People will talk about you, compare you to others, use you, they will view you as a service and not a person anymore.

Friends and family will expect discounts and people will value you and your hard work less than a big chain store or company.

You have to worry about if you forget to email/message someone back, are they going to think it was on purpose? Did you disappoint them? Will they hold that against you? When in reality you just can’t get to everyone’s messages and emails.

Starting up or taking over and running a successful business puts incredible strain on personal lives and relationships, many of which fail because there is just often no work-life balance.

You need to be the director, the worker, the admin, the marketing team, the accountant, the cleaner..... All whilst being a parent, a husband or a wife, grandparent, family support, friend...

There’s a reason you don’t see many people succeed in small businesses after 5-10 years.  If they are successful, they are overwhelmed. 

It takes a toll. It’s freaking exhausting. Especially the past couple of years when so much has been out of our control.

Here’s a small reminder that we are just normal people with hectic lives.

Please support small and local businesses’ cos we do it because we actually love it despite the stress etc, it can also be very rewarding at times ❤️”

What is important to note is the last part, we love it, and yes, it can be very rewarding. Daniela and I love the hardwork and when we get all the orders out or manage to serve all the customers and everyone has their coffee and has left happy – then we are happy. And some days we can have a lot of fun along the way. But there are some days/weeks/months that are really testing.

There are a lot of factors affecting small businesses now, apart from the cost of living. We are all competing with the bigger companies, the supermarkets, Amazon! You seem to be able to buy everything with them nowadays, and yes, the smaller companies may have more speciality items, but the big shops will have something that is quite similar but at a cheaper price point. They may even have the same product! I was in a supermarket and saw an item that we sold at the time on sale at the cost price to us! I have had people in our shop looking up items on Amazon in front of me and going with them as they are cheaper. Again, the machines were being sold near enough the cost price to us. We don’t blame people for wanting to save money, but we can’t compete.

Many of these large companies have warehouses full of stock and a dedicated team working 24 hours a day to pick and pack orders. We don’t, we have a small team who do a 9–10-hour shift, in that time they process and pack your orders alongside serving the customers, and all the other jobs that need doing. The pace at which orders are placed and the delivery time expected has been set by these companies and we work very hard to keep up.

Another current issue affecting so many businesses is the inability to find staff. The staff we have are amazing, some have been with us for years, but we need more. But what we, and many other businesses we have spoken to, are finding is that there is a real struggle to find staff. So many businesses may be short staffed - adding further stress. Our "To Do" List stays "To Do", never done! 😊


People view you as a service. And yes, we are providing a service, but we are also human. Please consider that we, and others, may be under pressure and that we are trying our best. Be kind and speak to people as you would like to be spoken to. For the most part we are blessed with kind people. But there are sometimes those that are just not feeling the love, shall we say.

There is a whole list of issues and complexities at play that may not be clear to the customer. We have always been fully transparent so if you wanted to speak to us about anything feel free to email us.

There are many facades to running a business, it can be filled with many highs and many lows. Many laughs and many tears. You can make many friends, and many enemies. It can be all consuming and very rewarding. On the plus side, we get free coffee to keep us going! (And may be some of the chocolates too…sssshhhh!)


I absolutely love your coffee beans. I’ve been able to consume coffee from all around the world because of your business. I use your coffee beans for my morning coffee, my espresso martinis and at times desserts. Your store is the reason I purchased a bean to cup machine and why I have saved £000’s no longer buying takeaway coffees.

I’m surprised at how cheap your products are, I save hundreds a month not buying takeaway coffee and your beans are much higher in quality and fresher than any place I’ve been to and cheaper! I’ve just bought 9 × 250g bags, 6 varieties, they arrived recently.

I love opening a bag for the first time, the aroma. It never gets old. When my friends come over I’ll always serve them a double espresso flat white, my flat mate loves it for his flat whites and lattes.

I will always buy my coffee beans from here. You’ve managed to build an amazing business and for me I’m a loyal customer because of the high quality, the customer service both online and in store, it’s obvious you care about your customers and that you also appreciate them.

You hike prices and I would still be back! For me it’s about the experience, I love that I can make proper coffee at home when working, or when I can make it for my takeaway cup when going into the office or travelling.

It’s only ever been a positive experience from checkout to bean to cup!

That’s a good post. I ran my own business for a while and it was exhausting. Thanks to you all

Love your shop. I have been using it in person and latterly on line for over 50 years. Keep it up!

I quite understand your sympathy for Daniela’s blog. I have run a small publishers . But don’t forget yr customers love you & all yr staff & yr magnificent shop & coffees. I’ve been coming since I left Oxford 50 years ago !

I love your shop and your coffee. I hope you continue to trade and survive.

A very good reminder of the challenges faced by small businesses and I enjoyed reading it! Thank you.

I have been using your wonderful shop for years – and still do (mainly by mail order now that I no longer live in London). I have no intention of stopping! Your products are far superior and the shop is a little piece of London history … and a bit of the London that hasn’t been destroyed, demolished, built on, or in some other way totally ruined such as to make it unrecognisable from the London that I was born and bred in. What always gave London that special flavour for me, was the fabulous array of long-standing family-run, small businesses and restaurants, that had a unique offering, sold specialist products, or offered particular hard-to-find services. Sadly, many are now gone, which makes London much the poorer; but I will continue to give my patronage to those that remain.

I used to come into your shop regularly, buy coffee and have a chat. Now I usually shop with you online but I do miss the personal conversations. You are definitely appreciated as far as I am concerned and it would be unthinkable if I couldn’t get my coffee from you. Keep on smiling.

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