I am a new field owner, rather, I am opening a field finally in the next few month, by the end of Jan. What I find a little down is the positive feedback on our industry. It is a simple thing, if it were not profitable in the least then there wouldn't be 20 million +players from all walks of life and ages across the nation. I own a seconf business, a martial arts school, and I am not much of a paintball player. I am a business man of a sense and I did my share of scenarios in the Army.
What people that want to open a field need to realize is yes it takes 3-5 years to break even. The thing to think about it branding and marketing. You have to do these things or you might as well not open the doors. For example, there is one Dominos in our town. That is a branded store and just typical national marketing and a storefront is all they needed and guess what, they have the market cornored on delivering pizzas up here. If you are opening a buisness and you want to save money before you market well then, you might as well have the cart pull the horse.
After you come up with the dollars and at least the basic idea of what your marketing is going to be, plus having a solid idea of your branding, then you really need to know what the public needs,wants, desires in the services you will provide. You have to decide the locale...don't just pick one and give up if it doesn't work out. Try to put your ducks in a row and in the same pot. For example, don't rent a small space in a strip mall to do inside stuff if you desire to do outside. Before you know it you may just out grow it and your field will sufficate itself.
You have to know your demographic. If you are having a hard time finding that out, there is a simple solution: find properties that are for sale, multi-million dollar properties. Specifically properties that want to sale as a whole, 10+ acres in the middle of town. The owner and/or broker wants to sell this to you especially if it is zoned for business, so they are more often than not going to have a brocure listing the demographics of the area. Realestate offices are good for this too!. Not the mom and pop small offices that noone knows about, but big ones like Prudential and Century 21
You may not make it rich, but in our case, there isn't a field for 100 miles or so, lots of hunters and veterans such as myself. We are not going to have it made, and it is going to be difficult with long hours etc, etc, but we are going to be comfortable because of where we are going to be. YOU HAVE TO DRIVE BY US!
Have the answers when you walk into the meeting!. Nothing hurts an ego more than a loan officer, family or friend or even an private investor to ask you a question and you either not know the answer, or worse yet, have to look at your business plan to give it to them. That is a guide, yes, but you need to know it before you go into that meeting. Have a business plan, have an excell worksheet with 3 and 5 year projections, profit loss projections, start up, break even and all that cool jazz. Make it as accurate and low balled as possible when it comes to profit that you are going to make and increase your loss prjections. That way, when you go over your profit or under your loss, you look stellar! Also, look back to high school, college, or hell even junior high. What did you need for a presentation? That's right, power point! Much easier for people who have 20 meetings that day to follow along and get a quick picture of what you are talking about.
So, anyway, lets stop trying to scare people. Sure, it is a great way to weed out the squirrels and competitione, but it just gets boring to read after a while.
Matthew J. Nielsen
Nielsen Paintball Field