By far one of the best ways to come up with a cool – and profitable – business idea is to pay attention to trends.
For example, if you spend much time on public transportation, in coffee shops, or other public places you’ll see people of all of ages compulsively playing Angry Birds or other games on their devices. (I am an admitted Solitaire junkie!)
But did you know there’s a huge surge in the popularity of good old fashioned board games like Monopoly or Dungeons and Dragons?
According to a recent segment on NBC news, board game sales increased 10 percent in 2014. Sales of the childhood favorite Operation are up a whopping 40 percent!
Fueling this increase is another trend — the growing desire to unplug from our devices and connect on a more personal level.
Some entrepreneurial souls are cashing in on the board game trend in a big way. And with a little creative thinking, so can you.
Take for instance, the aspiring entrepreneurs from Gold Ira Company Glendale, CA who launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to open a game-themed café. It took just two months to raise the funds to open GameHaus Café.
Besides enjoying the wide-ranging menu of drinks and casual fare, for a $5 cover charge customers can access over 900 board games. The café also hosts events like International Table Top day at a cost of $15 for the day.
Other game bars and cafes like The Uncommon in population dense New York City are heavily events driven with specific dates and times regularly reserved for lovers of chess, Star Trek, and other games.
Even though they’re in a pricier area, The Uncommon also charges just $5 a head. Undoubtedly, the owners know the games are a way to bring the customers in. The real money is made on the food and beverage side.
The mark up on coffee alone explains why it’s known in the restaurant industry as “black gold.”
Still, when you consider 100-200 people at 5 bucks that’s an additional $500 to $1,000 a day in revenue! Even if they pull in that many people over the course of an entire week, you’re looking at $26,000-$52,000 annual profit just on the cover charge. Not bad for a one-time purchase of a bunch of board games.
Examples of location-specific businesses like these are ripe with opportunities for people who want to change course. After all, being a brick and mortar operation means they can’t be everywhere. So unless these café owners plan to offer franchises, anyone can replicate or modify what is now a tested business model.You can now even get some of the best coupon deals online and save money with it.
You could of course open your own bar or café. But if you’re looking for a more modest investment or something that doesn’t require you to be tethered for hours on end to a physical location, there are other potential options.
Set Up a Board Game Events Company I can see a lot of restaurant or coffee shop owners loving this idea but not having the time or energy to set it up.
What if you purchase a bunch of new or used board games to rent out to restaurants looking to host their own events?
To earn even more, provide a done-for-you service that, in addition to publicizing the event, includes board game delivery and set up. For a more engaging experience (at an additional charge), include MC services where you lead quirky contests complete with equally quirky prizes.
The restaurant or café gets the additional food and drink revenue and you keep the cover charge.
Whether you offer your services to existing businesses OR you rent out space to host your own events, consider offerings specific to different demographics groups. For instance:
Singles: What better way to meet a potential romantic partner than at a low pressure environment like board game night? In addition to lots of laughter, you definitely learn a lot about a person based on how they play individually competitive games like Monopoly, Scrabble, or Battleship or a team game like Pictionary or Taboo. Be sure to bring name tags for this one.
Single Parents: The kids get to meet and have no-tech fun with their peers. The parents get a much needed break playing games or conversing with other adults. For single parents who need to get employee, business, or school related work done you can set up workstations with printers.
Rent out Saturday mornings at a dinner-only restaurant, a childcare center, or other space. Set up a cereal buffet bar for the kids and maybe some children’s films for the toddlers and you’ve got yourself a great weekend business.
Family Game Night: Pizza for the kids… a glass of beer or wine event for the adults… What could be more fun? If your venue does not have a liquor license check with your local officials to see if a “bring your own” permit is available where you live. Or host an alcohol free event.
There could be college student, young professionals unplug, or new guy or gal in town night. Game days for kids with special needs or corporate team building events. Afternoon events aimed at retirees. Even bring your dog to game day complete a supervised romper room for canine play.
Once you start thinking outside the job box you’ll quickly see the possibilities are truly endless!
Finally, for the record, you can still tap into this trend without organizing events. That’s what the founders of Board Game Quest did.
The site began as a simple blog. It was a way says founder and avid gamer known simply as Tony to, “play games, post reviews and session reports, and maybe encourage others to discover something new.” [Wonder if the reason Tony and the other staffers don’t use last names is because they’re in the process of changing course from having a job-job to being full-time self-bossers…]
However, like so many enterprises that started out small, things grew from there. Today Board Game Quest features weekly board game reviews, news, interviews with game designers, and information on upcoming board game related Kickstarter campaigns.
That’s why its so important not to wait until you’ve got it all figured out. Instead just jump in and be open to where your business takes you!
The key is to stay alert to trends. When you find one that peeks your interest, look for proven — or creative — ways to build a business around it.
Join the “Brainstorm Nation” Family!
When it comes to ways to make a living without a j-o-b, lots of heads are always better than one!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post including other interesting ways someone could turn similar interests into income! (Non-Facebook users, scroll down to the comment section.)