Pursue Your Passion and the Rest Will Follow: Insight from Philz Coffee


Growing up as the son of an entrepreneur, Jacob Jaber couldn’t help but feel inspired. Phil Jaber worked hard to transform an idea into a world-class coffee store known for its delicious coffee. From his father, Jacob learned when you have a passion for what you do, success naturally follows.

Phil Jaber began experimenting with coffee more than 25 years ago, determined to create blends that were flavorful. Through his corner grocery store, he began serving coffee to his customers, consistently trying out different flavor combinations. Thanks to years of hard work and a firm commitment to his customers, Phil built a business that he now runs in conjunction with his son. Phil and Jacob Jaber recently shared their own thoughts on successfully building a brand. I’ve personally applied these to my online invoicing company and it’s helped me out significantly.

Key to Success #1: Commit Fully

Phil put 25 years into developing and perfecting his coffee blends. Despite his experience as the owner of a corner grocery, however, he still didn’t just jump into coffee shop ownership. Prior to opening his first Philz Coffee in 2003, Phil visited more than 1100 coffee shops, a well as five-star restaurants and hotels. He wasn’t examining the competitors’ products and service, however. Instead, his attention was on the people in those shops.

By studying the habits of coffee drinkers, Phil gained an in-depth insight into the customers he would be serving. When a business puts the emphasis on the customers, it creates a product that will connect with those customers and success naturally follows. Phil’s experience demonstrates the importance of putting serious work in before opening your doors.

Key to Success #2: Pursue Your Passion

Some people are all talk and no action. Phil believes the key to success is in actively pursuing your goals. But first you should believe in what you do. As Jacob pointed out, when someone merely opens a business for the sake of opening a business, the chances of success are minimal. It’s important to find a passion and learn as much as possible about that aspect of business. When you do what you love, success naturally follows.

At the same time, however, it’s important to get the business experience you’ll need to successfully launch a startup. While Phil had a love for quality coffee, he had spent years operating a corner grocery. He was able to combine his business savvy with what he’d learned about coffee to create the best possible coffee franchise for his target demographic.

Key to Success #3: Hire the Right People

A business’s success relies heavily on its employees. Philz Coffee has enjoyed phenomenal growth over the past decade thanks in large part to hiring the right people. Phil and Jacob have a similar vision for their business and it is a vision they share with the people they hire. If a small business puts the wrong people in place, those employees will be working at cross purposes, potentially negating the hard work its founders have put in.

Whether you’re hiring a tech team or a staff of baristas, the basic principles are the same. Hire for talent, not to fill positions. During the hiring process, learn as much as possible about each candidate’s professional goals and values and make sure they share your vision on issues like customer service, as well as your strong work ethic. Over time, you’ll establish a core group of team members who care about your customers as much as you do.

Phil and Jacob Jaber are proof that hard work pays off. Their commitment to their customers and shared mission to create a community coffee experience serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs in all industries.

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