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The Truth About Opening a Bar: Four Things You Might Not Know

If you're planning on opening a bar, you're about to enter an exciting world of food and beverage and nightlife - but don't let the glitz and glamour fool you. While bars are generally known as places people go to socialize, unwind and have a good time, owning a bar can be stressful - especially if you aren't prepared for everything in store. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure, however, so know what to expect - read on for four things you might not know about opening a bar, but should.

1 - Long Hours are the Norm

Most entrepreneurs who start their own businesses expect long hours and workdays, but bars are open later than most businesses. In fact, when you own a bar, it can almost feel like you're working all the time. From prepping for the afternoon and evening rush to running the show at night and closing out in the evening, many bar owners find that sleep is a luxury they just cannot afford. Ultimately, if you do well, you may be able to transfer some of your duties to a trusted manager and partner, but at least in the beginning, prepare for little sleep and lots of hours.

2 - Being a Social Butterfly Isn't Enough; You Need to Know Business, Too

So you know your reds from your whites and your whiskeys from your scotches. You have plenty of friends and professional contacts, and you've got the money to invest. Think you're ready? Think again. It's important to have strong business acumen when running your own business, especially a bar. There are so many factors that affect your bottom line, and you need to be prepared to deal with them all - and still come out on top. If you aren't an MBA, not to fear. Take some courses on business management and accounting, and partner with someone who has experience if possible. You'll thank yourself in the end.

3 - You Don't Go Home Without It

It can be difficult for people in any profession to avoid taking their work home, but in addition to incredibly long hours, when you're the owner of a bar it's likely the business will always be on your mind. Some people, especially entrepreneurs, function well in high-risk/high-reward scenarios and feed on pressure as fuel but if going to bed thinking about bar tabs, dreaming about cocktail combinations and waking up to the sound of your bar manager calling in sick irks you, reconsider your venture.

4 - Branding Is Essential to Your Success

So you've got a winning concept, investors, and a location secured? Great. But you need to think about branding before you open your doors. Differentiating yourself from the competition is key in any successful business venture, but with bars, the competition is steep, and your sales and marketing strategy needs to account for this. Think creatively about how you want to market your bar and invest in branding materials you can distribute and use within your establishment to raise interest in your bar. From bar business cards to marketing flyers, custom brochures, and cool menu designs, create branding materials that make an impact. It will drive business, attract potential sponsors, and keep your bar top-of-mind for those looking for the next hot thing, or cold drink, as it were.