Spilling The Beans

Does your coffee cup runneth over?

Corporate downsizing, an unstable economy and an abundance of entrepreneurial spirit across the land have all been said to fuel the growth of small business in recent years. But perhaps there's another culprit: coffee.

According to a 1995 survey conducted by Cleveland-based banking company KeyCorp, entrepreneurs in business for five years or less drink more coffee than their peers who have been in business longer. In fact, the survey found that-gulp!-37 percent of those in business five years or less drink five or more cups each day. Only 29 percent of business owners operating 6 to 20 years, and 24 percent owning businesses 21 years or longer, drink that much of the brown brew.

Why the abundance of java junkies among fledgling entrepreneurs? Some avow that the long hours and high stress compel novice business owners to crave the stimulation of caffeine coursing through their veins. And many, including Ted Lingle, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, aren't the slightest bit surprised about the recent findings. "Historically, coffee has been a productivity stimulator," Lingle asserts. "When entrepreneurs are starting out, they have to make a lot of things happen in a hurry. They need to be in peak performance mode-and coffee gets them there."

So if you thought getting your business off the ground was your most challenging feat to date, meet your next challenge: kicking your new-found caffeine addiction!

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This article was originally published in the February 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Spilling The Beans.

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