After nearly 3 years running an online board game store, I thought I’d write this short list of things I feel a prospective entrepreneur should know before they launch the store.1) Captialise, Capitalise, Capitalise
Firstly, unless you’ve taken a lot of time to do your business plan, it’s wrong. Even if you do spend a lot of time on it, it’s most likely wrong. A lot of businesses fail between year 1 to 2 because of a lack of adequate capitilisation. That includes us – we didn’t have sufficient funds and if we hadn’t been able to tap into additional capital, we would have been in serious trouble.
2) Cashflow is King
Even if you are making a ‘profit’; you could still go out of business. It’s not a matter of the profits you make, but your cashflow. If all your ‘profits’ are going into inventory, when your bills come due, you won’t be able to pay your suppliers or yourself.
3) It Ain’t A Competition
Experience seems to indicate that it’s really, really hard to ‘steal’ customers from other stores. You have to grow them organically yourself. So it’s a long, slow grind to get sufficient sales, but it’s the customers that matter, not your competitors.
4) No Time for Fun and Games
I used to game about once a week, guaranteed. If not at least twice to three times. These days, I get lucky if I get to game once week two weeks. Certainly in the first couple of years, your ability to play games drops hugely. And worst, I rarely get to play a game I like more than twice – I’m always learning new games because I have to.
5) Love the Business – not the games
Lastly, and this is perhaps the most important point of all, you need to love running a business as much as you do playing the games. It’s something I have discussed with other ‘hobbyists turned business owners’ and that if you don’t love the business side, you’ll find yourself struggling. Since most of your time is going to be spent running the business, it’s easy to lose your love for the hobby especially if you hate running the business. So make sure you want to own a business, not play games.
Of course, this is all my opinion formed by my experience. If you have a different opinion, do feel free to comment.