How to start your own gaming lounge
For millions of people all over the world, gaming offers an entertaining way of shrugging off the stresses of everyday life. Whether you’re already a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, this throws up some very exciting possibilities. One avenue you could explore is inviting everyone in your local community to come together and share their love of all things game by setting up your own gaming lounge. However, like any other business venture, there are a number of considerations and challenges you need to overcome. So in order to pave the way to success, just some of the aspects you need to take into account beforehand are:
1. Who are you looking to attract?
First things first, you need to be clear on who your target audience is. Figure out what type of person is most likely to become a part of your customer demographic. Ok, you’re looking to appeal to people who play video games, but what does that even mean? Nowadays there are people from all different age groups and professions all wanting to spend a couple hours relaxing in front of their favourite games after a hard days work. Besides, thanks to the internet, gaming has become much more social with gamers now having the ability to play with anyone from anywhere in the world. With so many different people all playing games, how do you find the people who are going to spend money with you? Research! Attend networking events and speak with people who are already familiar with the complexities of this industry in order to gain some insight. Read as many articles as you can find on the subject. Encourage people in your area to participate in surveys. By using as much information as you can gather, you’ll be in a stronger position to decide who your venue should appeal to, whilst keeping in mind that this is something you’ll regularly need to update in order to remain relevant.
2. What gaming platforms will you offer access to?
Next, you’ll need to decide what types of gaming platforms you’re going to provide access to. The term ‘gamers’ covers a very diverse range of people who all have different preferences when it comes to their choice of platform. As well as consoles, some gamers may prefer to use PCs, Virtual Reality Headsets (VR) or Arcade Machines, so pinning this down in your research is vital. If you already run an established business, you could try bringing games in on a trial run in order to see how your customers respond. If the feedback is encouraging, establishing a gaming lounge might be a good way to further boost your revenue. Just remember, you’ll need to have multiple gaming platforms available at any one time and constantly stock up on the latest titles for this aspect of your business to become profitable and grow.
3. What type of environment are you looking to set up?
You’ll also need to think about what sort of environment you’re hoping to create. If you already run a business, consider how a gaming lounge might affect your customer base and ambience. Could this aspect work harmoniously or cause discourse within your business? Like any other customer, gamers want to go to a place that emits a positive vibe that appeals to their tastes. This means potential refurbishments, adding extensions, air conditioning, seating arrangements, waiting areas, having super-fast internet and even planning what sort of music you’ll play. If you’re going to have VR headsets available you’ll need to create suitably sized cubicles that have padding on the walls. This will give room to swing their arms around without the risk of injuring themselves in the process. You should also look into using harnesses that’ll be connected to the ceilings of each cubicle, preventing them from falling over or causing damage to your system by getting tangled in the wires.
4. Are you going to provide food and drink?
Another aspect to consider is food and drink. Over time your gamers are going to get hungry, and the last thing you want is for them to leave and spend their money elsewhere. This means a loss of potential earnings which could have gone towards further developing your business. As such, if you already run an established restaurant or hotel, you have an advantage. If not, then you may well need to create an area where your gamers can purchase food and drink, whilst setting up a commercial kitchen. Should you be successful in this, it could add a further 20 or 30% to your daily revenue. Food for thought?
5. How are you going to run efficient day-to-day operations?
In order for your gaming lounge to earn a reliable income each day, you need to figure out how you can make your operations as efficient as possible. If you create a website or design a mobile app you could encourage gamers to book gaming sessions in advance or have them do so in person. Having an appointment-based scheme in place will help avoid disappointment, loss of customers and maximise your takings. Plus, back on to the matter of food, this could also be a useful way of taking orders and ensuring that your inventory is well stocked in advance.
6. How are you going to maintain interest in your business?
Plus, you constantly think of new ways to keeping gamers coming back for more. This requires creativity and out of the box thinking. If you don’t, the atmosphere will quickly become stale and customers will eventually start losing interest, eventually spelling the end of your business. Think. What can you give gamers that they can’t get from the comfort of their own homes? Community and a space to socialise. In order to maintain high engagement in your lounge you could try:
- Holding weekly or monthly events
- Setting up tournaments
- Offering discounts and prizes to your regulars
- Throwing birthday parties
- Hosting tips and tricks workshops
- Arranging gamer networking events
7. Are you aware of what funding opportunities are available?
Finally, there’s the matter of funding. Regardless of whether you own a functioning business or not, establishing a successful gaming lounge will no doubt require a sizable financial commitment. Although using your own funds might seem like a smart move, doing so could give rise to any number of issues that could affect your business’ development. If the expenditure exceeds what you can comfortably afford through your cashflow, exploring the available external funding opportunities could be the way forward.
If you’re a start-up, your limited trading history will cut you off from some funding opportunities, but not all. At this stage, you could try applying for Investment Crowdfunding or Loan-Based Crowdfunding (Peer-to-Peer Lending), or take a look at some of the other start-up funding options available to you. However, if you run a business that’s been trading for at least 2 years, the array of funding opportunities available to you may have since expanded. Thanks to the Alternative Finance Industry there are now more finance solutions on offer to you than ever before. Yet with so many different products and lenders to choose from, speaking with a qualified business finance professional could prove invaluable.
Need help starting your own gaming lounge?
If you have a detailed business plan and the means to see it to fruition, starting your own gaming lounge could eventually become a highly successful and profitable venture. However, to get to that point, you need to be aware of what challenges may arise and how you can overcome them. One of the most common reasons for any business failing is a lack of funding. But with access to external support, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed. For many business owners, the answer to this issue is business finance. Business Finance is a term that covers a wide range of finance solutions that all work in different ways to provide you with the support your business needs. All you need to do is decide which product is most suitable for your goals and financial situation.
At Rangewell, we’re an Access to Finance specialist working with over 300 lenders to offer you an overview of more than 23,000 business finance products. Our services are free to use and we’ll also guide you through the application process. We’re with you every step of the way, whether you're looking for the funding to start a gaming business or even a game development business with specialised finance for gaming. So if you’re looking to set up or add a gaming lounge to your business but lack the necessary funds, apply for Business Finance today or find out more with Rangewell.