Starting a Family Entertainment Center – Where to begin.
Are you wondering where to begin when planning a Family Entertainment Center (FEC)?
What, Who and How?
The first step in planning your center is finding your market. Will you market to toddlers, youth, teens, adults or all of the above? What other activities does your market offer that you will be competing with? (Parks, Laser Tag, Malls, Youth Recreation, Church Groups)?
Action Ninja Warrior and Wipeout style obstacle courses have become very popular and there are options for all ages. Take a look at Action Games for some inspiration.
Location. Location. Location.
Once you decide who your target market is, you will then need to decide on a location. An FEC is dependent on repeat customer visits. A location near traffic area such as malls, school, commercial or retail areas are ideal. The location needs to have ample parking and easy to get into and out of when driving. Do not pick your location based on price as there is a reason the lease is so cheap. Zoning of the building is key and look for any upcoming road work that could affect your business.
Plan, Plan and Plan Again.
Now, you will want to create a Business Plan. In the plan needs to include what products you will need to purchase, what your expenses for your location (rent,water, electric, security) will be, what your employee costs will run and what the maintenance on equipment will be. This will be important as it will give you a decent, high level overview of how much money you will need to generate each month to cover costs alone.
Once you have your business plan, how are financing this new venture? Where will you get the capital needed for this business venture? From a private investor, bank or self funded. Check your local Small Business Administration group, which might yield some good options.
One of the most important steps when planning your FEC is having it function well, flow, and a theme to make it successful. Have you put thought into the design? Don’t just go and buying everything you see. You want to have a clear plan to serve your clients and have it in a space they feel welcome and enjoy coming to. Is the traffic pattern good? Will people feel over crowded? These are all important things to look at. Hiring a quality designer is an excellent option if this is a task that you feel is out of your hands. They can help to make it flow and quality contractors can modify the space to suit your needs.
Unique Selling Point.
What is going to set our apart from the crowd? What is going to be the statement piece that sets you apart from any competition, the piece that keeps customers coming back time and time again? Adrenalator™ has been a popular item for either portable but fixed installations as the “WOW” piece. If you’re focusing on laser-tag and dark/glow rides then Cyborbots™ might be the visually stunning game you’ve been looking for.
You will want to start purchasing equipment no later than 3-6 months prior to your launch date. This will allow you ample time to work out any issues prior to your grand opening. You can use this time to offer sneak peeks via social media and build hype around your pending opening. You can also use this time to secure parties, fundraisers and launch a huge kick off party!
Advertising – Shouting from the rooftops
Start advertising 3 months prior to opening your facility. Some of the most effective advertising is locally targeted social media. You will also need a quality website as it is going to be the customer’s first impression of you. You want it to be easy to navigate and as few clicks as possible to get the customer the information that they are looking for.
Strength in the Community
Build partnerships with your community. Local schools, churches, youth groups and other non profits is a great start and offering them group rates would be a great way to attract business early before the doors actually open. You want to get as many eyes and bodies into your facility in the first month to start spreading the positive word of mouth reviews.
Looking for a little advice? Feel free to give us a call anytime. We are happy to speak with you about your new business venture. (941) 697 0324