Even though it might seem like a pretty straightforward business to run, starting a brand new escape room business might be a challenging task for even the most experienced entrepreneurs out there.
First, you should know that, like with most businesses, numerous steps need to be taken, and face many potential pitfalls along the way that might slow down your efforts. And just like starting your first retail store, unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet to help you get it right. In addition, each new escape room concept differs from what is already on the market, so you will have to devise a custom strategy to fulfill the steps to kickstart a prosperous escape room business.
However, since we’ve closely monitored how thousands of escape rooms launch and grow into highly profitable, thriving businesses, we might know a thing or two about how to start your adventure. Below, we’ll list some vital advice from escape room owners who made it big.
Create A Comprehensive Business Plan
In the words of the great Dwight D. Eisenhower—plans are worthless, but planning is essential! Yes, being aware of your existing priorities, long-term objectives, and how you’re going to achieve them is crucial for any new company. The best way to do that is by putting together a comprehensive business plan to serve as a systematic approach to achieving your goals.
First, write down a short company description—your escape room’s business name, description, and even location. Afterward, conduct market analysis on demand, supply, and competition. Next, write down the services you plan to offer, for example, how many different games you are planning to offer and what types of games will be available. Furthermore, write down the partners you will work with to create the escape rooms. Escape rooms necessitate numerous custom parts and components to be functional and open to customers, so write down the estimations of how much it will cost you for a custom plastic molding service to manufacture the parts you will need for your rooms.
Next, decide if there will be any products you will sell, like t-shirts, keychains, mugs, etc., and where you will source them. Last but not least, write down your initial marketing plan and how you will meet your market’s needs. Once you round up your business plan, you are ready to take the next step!
Select A Suitable Venue For Your Escape Room
Finding and securing adequate space for your new escape room business follow right after concluding your business plan. And when we’re talking about the escape room space, in addition to being convenient and practical, it kind of needs to be located in a good, highly-frequented area.
The major factors that actually constitute a good escape room location are foot traffic and accessibility, low crime rate and security, there should be no direct competition, rental costs and business rates should be in line with what you can afford in the beginning, and it should provide the potential for business growth and expansion.
Of course, you must not forget to consider the physical attributes of the space, like room size, access to electricity and water, fire exits, assembly points, office area, event space for team offsites etc.
Come Up With Exciting Escape Room Narratives And Themes
Next, consider the creative escape room narratives and themes you’ll offer your customers. For example, will you build a medieval escape room where the participants need to defeat the horde, or perhaps you’ll develop a Western-themed cowboy room, or perhaps a mission to mars? Whatever you decide, work with your designers to articulate your ideas as clearly as possible through the rooms.
To discover what themes and narratives will help you be successful, consider which themes and escape room narratives would be relevant to the audience of your local environment. Moreover, check what your competitors try to do and strive to be different and unique.
Don’t Forget To Take Care Of The Legal Requirements
Last but not least, please bear in mind that the boring legal stuff is always part of the escape room business so try not to postpone it forever. Before you open your shop to the public, make sure that you get your new business authorized and get all the required licenses on time.
In the end, as an escape room owner, you carry the burden to not only create a fun space that engages customers with thrilling games but also protects them adequately at all times. Don’t be negligent on this part because even the smallest accident can ruin more than just your business.
Even though their name might suggest otherwise, escape rooms have become more than just a regular game these days. Escape rooms are among the most thrilling social activities for people of all ages, so while it can be challenging to start this business up from the ground, it definitely can prove to be a worthwhile investment for the years to come. And if you are ever in SF, come by and visit one of our future tech escape rooms.