How to Start a Board Game Company
Many people enjoy playing board games with family and friends. Board game businesses design and make board games for people to play.
Despite the growth of online platforms, the board game industry continues to remain strong. It’s grown since 2013, and the industry almost broke $10 billion in sales in 2016.
You may also be interested in additional low cost business ideas .
Learn how to start your own Board Game Company and whether it is the right fit for you.
Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services .
Start a board game company by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Board Game Company
- Form your Board Game Company into a Legal Entity
- Register your Board Game Company for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Board Game Company
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Board Game Company
- Get Board Game Company Insurance
- Define your Board Game Company Brand
- Create your Board Game Company Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
We have put together this simple guide to starting your board game company. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas .
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
What will you name your business?
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
How much can you charge customers?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Board Game Company Name Generator
If you operate a sole proprietorship , you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.
When registering a business name , we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability .
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
Want some help naming your board game company?
Business name generator, what are the costs involved in opening a board game company.
The costs of starting up a board game business are fairly low, although they are significant. It usually takes $18,00 to $20,000 to get a game made and start a business, but some businesses start with lower or higher costs. One board game business on Kickstarter initially asked for £50,000 in initial startup funds (about $69,200) , while another board game business began with upfront costs of just $1,000 AUD (about $738 USD) .
Assuming a business owner has friends who are willing to test a game for free, the biggest expenses are:
- Trademarking and copyrighting the game
- Hiring an artist to make the artwork
- Manufacturing the game
The costs for an artist can vary greatly, depending on the level of detail required and the experience an artist has. Manufacturing costs often run between $7 and $25 per unit , although larger orders can bring per-unit costs much lower.
What are the ongoing expenses for a board game company?
Ongoing expenses for a board game business include storage costs for games that haven’t been sold yet and manufacturing costs of new units. Business owners can keep storage costs low by storing unsold games themselves. Manufacturing costs for more units can be funded by sales of in-stock units.
Who is the target market?
Board games appeal to a broad demographic. Even millennials are playing lots of non-digital games.
Most board game businesses, however, focus in on a particular demographic that they want to develop games for. For instance, a business might make party games for social outings, strategy games geared towards thinkers or generational games based on certain decades.
How does a board game company make money?
A board game business makes money by selling its finished board games. Games may be sold directly to customers at retail prices or to resellers at wholesale prices.
According to The Board Game Family , board games can sell for as little as $10 or as much as $70. Many games, however, cost around $30 retail.
When calculating price, business owners should try to make their game’s retail price four times the per-unit product costs. This will help ensure a business is profitable.
How much profit can a board game company make?
A successful board game business can make tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. If a game sells for $30 per copy, selling just 1,000 games would generate a revenue of $30,000. In some cases, businesses are much more successful than this. One board game raised over $12 million on Kickstarter.
How can you make your business more profitable?
A board game business can increase its profitability by creating expansion packs that customers can purchase for an additional fee. Alternatively, board game business owners can create a blog on board games.
A few board game businesses have been developed into video games or apps, but this requires a significant investment in developing digital resources.
Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship , partnership , limited liability company (LLC) , and corporation .
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your board game company is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You
Two such reliable services:
You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services . You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website . If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil .
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history , which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a board game company. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits .
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses .
Trademark & Copyright Protection
If you are developing a unique product, concept, brand, or design, it is prudent to protect your rights by registering for the appropriate trademarks and copyrights.
Learn more about trademark and copyright protection
The nature of legal requirements in distance education is ever changing, especially in regards to copyright laws. Here is a frequently updated resource, which can help keep you aware of the legal requirements .
Here are two great links on boardgame licensing to publishers:
- License 101 for Board Games
- Board Game Licensing Contracts
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance . This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance . If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
FInd out what types of insurance your Board Game Company needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Board Game Company.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners , we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
Recommended : Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker .
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator . Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a board game company
Board games can be effectively marketed by soliciting reviews from bloggers and other reviewers. Many reviewers will write up a review for a free copy of the game, and their review will share the game with board game enthusiasts.
How to keep customers coming back
A board game business can set itself apart from other games on the market by winning awards. Even winning a small competition can help boost sales if a seal is displayed on the game’s packaging.
For this reason, business owners ought to enter their games into as many competitions as possible.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business .
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Recommended : Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders .
Other popular website builders are: WordPress , WIX , Weebly , Squarespace , and Shopify .
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
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Welcome to the Startup Savant podcast , where we interview real startup founders at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey, from launch to scale.
Is this Business Right For You?
People who are passionate about board games may enjoy owning a board game business. Developing a good board game that people will want to play requires testing and retesting a game design many times. Therefore, only those who like playing board games should try developing one.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a board game company?
Each board game that a business develops has three distinct phases:
- the development phase, which involves testing the gameplay and designing the game’s components
- the manufacturing phase, which involves actually making the physical board game
- the selling phase, which involves marketing and selling the game
During each of these phases, the focus of a business shifts. Development involves a lot of playing and replaying, as well as conceptual design work to create the pieces and artwork. When manufacturing, there are many logistical items to see to. Once a game is on the market, selling requires advertising a game and connecting with potential players.
Businesses that have multiple games in production may be involved in each of these three phases simultaneously. Those that only develop one game will be focusing on one stage at a time.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful board game company?
In order to successfully design a board game, it’s important to be familiar with the different types of board games. David Silverman has a post on board game design that includes a helpful list of different styles of games (e.g. Euro-style games, family games and deck-building games).
There are also several online courses for game design, including ones from MIT , EDX and Coursera . Not all of these courses are specific to board games, but many of the principles taught apply to games of all types.
Many board game business owners also participate in online forums where they can share ideas and get inspiration. BoardGameGeek and Board Game Designers Forum are two popular forums.
What is the growth potential for a board game company?
A board game business may be a small operation that has just one game, or it can be a major international company that has many games created by multiple designers. Cardboard Edison , which has two games, is an example of a small-time board game business. Cards Against Humanity is another, having one main game and several add-on packs of cards. Hasbro is one of the largest board game publishers.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor.
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a board game company?
Many board game business owners launch their businesses on a crowdfunding site. In fact, more money has been raised for board games than for video games on Kickstarter.
Launching a business on a crowdfunding site not only lets business owners collect funds that can be used to pay for manufacturing expenses, but it also helps generate buzz around a game. The publicity of a crowdfunding campaign can create momentum that will generate more sales.
How and when to build a team
Many board game businesses have just a few employees. Rather than hiring artists as employees, business owners typically give them contract work. For fulfillment, most business owners either fulfill orders themselves or outsource the work to a warehouse.
- Board Game Designer Forum
- Explore more Unique Business Ideas
- Board Game Geek
- List of Manufacturers of Game Parts or Whole Game
Real World Examples
- Total Strategy Games
- Cardboard Edison
- Cards Against Humanity
- The Metagame
- Stop Reading and Go Build Your Own Board Game
- How To Learn Board Game Design and Development
- Audio: How to Start a Board Game Company
Have a Question? Leave a Comment!
Board Game Business Plan Template & Guidebook
Are you an aspiring board game entrepreneur looking to get ahead in the business world? The #1 Board Game Business Plan Template & Guidebook provides a comprehensive guide to help you develop a strong business plan that will set you up for success. With step-by-step instructions, helpful tips and advice, and sample template documents, this guidebook provides all the tools and resources necessary to build the perfect board game business plan.
Get worry-free services and support to launch your business starting at $0 plus state fees.
- How to Start a Profitable Board Game Business [11+ Steps]
- 25 Catchy Board Game Business Names:
- List of the Best Marketing Ideas For Your Board Game Store:
How to Write a Board Game Business Plan in 7 Steps:
1. describe the purpose of your board game business..
The first step to writing your business plan is to describe the purpose of your board game business. This includes describing why you are starting this type of business, and what problems it will solve for customers. This is a quick way to get your mind thinking about the customers’ problems. It also helps you identify what makes your business different from others in its industry.
It also helps to include a vision statement so that readers can understand what type of company you want to build.
Here is an example of a purpose mission statement for a board game business:
Our mission at [Board Game Company] is to create high-quality, interactive board games that stimulate critical thinking and bring families and friends together in shared entertainment experiences that are memorable and timeless.
2. Products & Services Offered by Your Board Game Business.
The next step is to outline your products and services for your board game business.
When you think about the products and services that you offer, it's helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my business?
- What are the products and/or services that I offer?
- Why am I offering these particular products and/or services?
- How do I differentiate myself from competitors with similar offerings?
- How will I market my products and services?
You may want to do a comparison of your business plan against those of other competitors in the area, or even with online reviews. This way, you can find out what people like about them and what they don’t like, so that you can either improve upon their offerings or avoid doing so altogether.
3. Build a Creative Marketing Stratgey.
If you don't have a marketing plan for your board game business, it's time to write one. Your marketing plan should be part of your business plan and be a roadmap to your goals.
A good marketing plan for your board game business includes the following elements:
- Who is your target market?
- What do these customers have in common?
- How many of them are there?
- How can you best reach them with your message or product?
- Who are your current customers?
- Where did they come from (i.e., referrals)?
- How can their experience with your board game business help make them repeat customers, consumers, visitors, subscribers, or advocates for other people in their network or industry who might also benefit from using this service, product, or brand?
Product or service description
- How does it work, what features does it have, and what are its benefits?
- Can anyone use this product or service regardless of age or gender?
- Can anyone visually see themselves using this product or service?
- How will they feel when they do so? If so, how long will the feeling last after purchasing (or trying) the product/service for the first time?
- Which companies are competing with yours today (and why)?
- Which ones may enter into competition with yours tomorrow if they find out about it now through word-of-mouth advertising; social media networks; friends' recommendations; etc.)
- What specific advantages does each competitor offer over yours currently?
- Which marketing channel do you intend to leverage to attract new customers?
- What is your estimated marketing budget needed?
- What is the projected cost to acquire a new customer?
- How many of your customers do you instead will return?
Form an LLC in your state!
4. Write Your Operational Plan.
Next, you'll need to build your operational plan. This section describes the type of business you'll be running, and includes the steps involved in your operations.
In it, you should list:
- The equipment and facilities needed
- Who will be involved in the business (employees, contractors)
- Financial requirements for each step
- Milestones & KPIs
- Location of your business
- Zoning & permits required for the business
What equipment, supplies, or permits are needed to run a board game business?
- Board games
- A space to run the business
- Any required permits (such as a business permit, health permit, etc.)
- Business cards, flyers and other promotional materials
- Marketing materials
- Website and/or social media accounts for promoting the business
- Point-of-sale equipment such as cash register, credit card readers, etc.
- Inventory tracking system and software
- "How to Play" instructions or tutorial videos
- Money management systems (i.e. invoicing software)
5. Management & Organization of Your Board Game Business.
The second part of your board game business plan is to develop a management and organization section.
This section will cover all of the following:
- How many employees you need in order to run your board game business. This should include the roles they will play (for example, one person may be responsible for managing administrative duties while another might be in charge of customer service).
- The structure of your management team. The higher-ups like yourself should be able to delegate tasks through lower-level managers who are directly responsible for their given department (inventory and sales, etc.).
- How you’re going to make sure that everyone on board is doing their job well. You’ll want check-ins with employees regularly so they have time to ask questions or voice concerns if needed; this also gives you time to offer support where necessary while staying informed on how things are going within individual departments too!
6. Board Game Business Startup Expenses & Captial Needed.
This section should be broken down by month and year. If you are still in the planning stage of your business, it may be helpful to estimate how much money will be needed each month until you reach profitability.
Typically, expenses for your business can be broken into a few basic categories:
Startup costs are typically the first expenses you will incur when beginning an enterprise. These include legal fees, accounting expenses, and other costs associated with getting your business off the ground. The amount of money needed to start a board game business varies based on many different variables, but below are a few different types of startup costs for a board game business.
Running & Operating Costs
Running costs refer to ongoing expenses related directly with operating your business over time like electricity bills or salaries paid out each month. These types of expenses will vary greatly depending on multiple variables such as location, team size, utility costs, etc.
Marketing & Sales Expenses
You should include any costs associated with marketing and sales, such as advertising and promotions, website design or maintenance. Also, consider any additional expenses that may be incurred if you decide to launch a new product or service line. For example, if your board game business has an existing website that needs an upgrade in order to sell more products or services, then this should be listed here.
7. Financial Plan & Projections
A financial plan is an important part of any business plan, as it outlines how the business will generate revenue and profit, and how it will use that profit to grow and sustain itself. To devise a financial plan for your board game business, you will need to consider a number of factors, including your start-up costs, operating costs, projected revenue, and expenses.
Here are some steps you can follow to devise a financial plan for your board game business plan:
- Determine your start-up costs: This will include the cost of purchasing or leasing the space where you will operate your business, as well as the cost of buying or leasing any equipment or supplies that you need to start the business.
- Estimate your operating costs: Operating costs will include utilities, such as electricity, gas, and water, as well as labor costs for employees, if any, and the cost of purchasing any materials or supplies that you will need to run your business.
- Project your revenue: To project your revenue, you will need to consider the number of customers you expect to have and the average amount they will spend on each visit. You can use this information to estimate how much money you will make from selling your products or services.
- Estimate your expenses: In addition to your operating costs, you will need to consider other expenses, such as insurance, marketing, and maintenance. You will also need to set aside money for taxes and other fees.
- Create a budget: Once you have estimated your start-up costs, operating costs, revenue, and expenses, you can use this information to create a budget for your business. This will help you to see how much money you will need to start the business, and how much profit you can expect to make.
- Develop a plan for using your profit: Finally, you will need to decide how you will use your profit to grow and sustain your business. This might include investing in new equipment, expanding the business, or saving for a rainy day.
Frequently Asked Questions About Board Game Business Plans:
Why do you need a business plan for a board game business.
A business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the goals and strategies of a business. It provides a roadmap and serves as a guide to help entrepreneurs successfully launch and grow their board game business. A business plan helps to clarify objectives, identify potential risks and opportunities, and assess the financial feasibility of the board game business. It can also help entrepreneurs secure funding from investors or lenders.
Who should you ask for help with your board game business plan?
An experienced entrepreneur or business consultant would be the best person to consult for help with your board game business plan. You can also reach out to local business networking groups, such as SCORE, for advice and guidance. Additionally, most major cities have small business development centers that provide free workshops and resources to help entrepreneurs and small business owners develop a viable business plan.
Can you write a board game business plan yourself?
Yes, it is possible to write a board game business plan yourself by researching the topic and understanding the structure of a business plan. Depending on the complexity of the board game, you may want to include sections on market research, competitive analysis, product development, financial projections, marketing strategies, and risk management. Additionally, it is important to familiarize yourself with how investors look at a business plan and what information they need in order to make a decision about investing in your board game.
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I'm Nick, co-founder of newfoundr.com, dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. As a small business owner with over five years of experience, I have garnered valuable knowledge and insights across a diverse range of industries. My passion for entrepreneurship drives me to share my expertise with aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering them to turn their business dreams into reality.
Through meticulous research and firsthand experience, I uncover the essential steps, software, tools, and costs associated with launching and maintaining a successful business. By demystifying the complexities of entrepreneurship, I provide the guidance and support needed for others to embark on their journey with confidence.
From assessing market viability and formulating business plans to selecting the right technology and navigating the financial landscape, I am dedicated to helping fellow entrepreneurs overcome challenges and unlock their full potential. As a steadfast advocate for small business success, my mission is to pave the way for a new generation of innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on the world.
How To Start A Board Game Business
If you ask any entrepreneur, starting a business comes with its fair share of challenges.
Starting a board game business requires a great deal of effort, dedication and most importantly passion .
If you're willing to put in the effort to build your own business, you're going to want to follow the critical steps to creating a successful brand.
We've created a guide that covers each step of the process - from making key financial decisions, to launching and marketing your business the right way, and tips/strategies on how to grow your business effectively.
Start A Board Game Business ➜ avg revenue (monthly) $4.5K see all board game businesses ➜ starting costs $34.8K see all costs ➜ gross margin 40% time to build 210 days average product price $32 growth channels SEO business model E-Commerce best tools Google Drive, Twitter, WordPress time investment Side project pros & cons 31 Pros & Cons see all ➜ tips 7 Tips see all ➜
💡 Introduction To Starting A Board Game Business
Is starting a board game business right for you.
There are many factors to consider when starting a board game business.
We put together the main pros and cons for you here:
Pros of starting a board game business
You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.
• Meaningful business connections
You never know who you will meet as a board game business. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!
• High customer retention rates
Once a customer invests in your product, they've invested their time and energy to utilize your product/service which is highly valuable to them. Typically, your product or service becomes indispensable to your customer.
• Easy to encourage "impulse buy"
In the board game business, you have a much higher chance of encouraging your customers to buy on impulse - you can easily alter the price, placement, packaging, and promotional value to influence the decision of your buyer.
• Control of workload
With starting a board game business, you have the unique ability to choose how little or how much you want to work. You also have the freedom to decide which projects you want to work on, and can turn down the ones that do not interest you.
• Unlimited income potential
With starting a board game business there is no cap as to how much income you can make. The stronger your business skills and the more energy/time you put into your career, the more you'll make.
• Amazing perks and discounts
Working in the board game business comes with its perks! As a seller for these products/services, you typically also get to enjoy industry perks and discounts.
• Predictable income stream
Your businesses income stream tends to be predictable based on the number of customers you have signed up. This makes financial planning and outlooks much more seamless!
• Higher likelihood of getting referrals
This business is all about referrals, which can be a a very impactful way to attract and retain customers. It's critical that you have a great referral program in place that incentivizes your customers to tell their friends about your product.
• Simple business model
A board game business has the advantage of a simple business model, which makes launching and building the business more seamless.
• Control your own destiny
Starting A Board Game Business allows you to control every aspect of your life and make your own dreams come true every day.
• Greater Income Potential
With this business, the sky is the limit in regards to your income potential.
• You can promote and sell your product on Amazon
Although there are some disadvantages to consider when selling your product on Amazon, there are also a host of benefits. Mainly, Amazon is the world's largest online retailer, so you're bound to tap into new business and reach an entirely new audience.
• Can build solid foundation of clients
It's unlikely you will have one-off customers as a board game business. Typically, you have a solid foundation of clients that use your product and services regularly.
• Low maintenance customers
In this industry, customers are known to be very appreciative and low maintenance. This can help with your stress levels and allow you to focus on growing your business.
• Results and revenue happen quickly!
Unlike other businesses, it can be relatively quick to start seeing results and revenue. As long as you follow all the steps to validate your idea before launch, you are likely to see quick results and ROI.
Cons of starting a board game business
• Motivation of employees
If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.
• Longer Sales Process
A board game business can be a big time and money investment for your customer, so it's important you plan and predict a longer conversion funnel and stay in communication with potential customers.
• Low margins
The gross margins for your board game business are typically around 40%, which can make it more challenging to incur new expenses and maintain profitability.
• High employee turnover
In the board game business, employee turnover is often high, which can be quite costly and time consuming for your business. It's important to try and avoid this as much as possible by offering competitive pay, benefits, and a positive work environment.
As a board game business, you typically pay self-employment taxes which can be quite high. It's important to understand what you will be paying in taxes each year so you can determine if the work you're taking on is worth it.
• High overhead expenses
With starting a board game business, there are overhead expenses that come with selling a physical product. You will want to make sure you strategically budget for these overhead costs. We discuss this more in the startup costs section below.
• You may need to charge sales tax
If you are selling your products in various states, you may be required to charge sales tax. Although this may not impact your financials specifically, it can be a headache to create a process and procedure for this. To learn more about sales tax, check out this article
• Time commitment
With starting a board game business, all responsibilities and decisions are in your hands. Although this is not necessarily a negative thing, work life can take over at times. This can place a strain on friends and family and add to the pressure of launching a new business.
• Difficult to build trust with your customer
With starting a board game business, there can be minimal face-to-face interaction, which means it can be a lot more difficult to establish trust with your customers. You'll need to go the extra mile with your customer to grab their attention and business.
• Impatient customers
You may offer an engaging user experience for your customer, but customers expect a lot and may be impatient if they aren't pleased with your product or service.
• Difficult to scale
With a board game business, it can be challenging to find ways to scale. Check out this article that discusses scaling your business and the challenges that come with it.
• Learning Curve
When you start your own business, you no longer have upper management to provide you with a playbook for your roles and responsibilities. You should know the ins and outs of every aspect of your business, as every decision will come down to you.
• Equipment Breakdowns
Over the years, your equipment can get damaged, break down, and may need repairs which can be expensive. It's important you prepare for these expenses and try to avoid damages/wear & tear as much as possible.
• Technical issues can be frustrating
Technical issues are common in this business. If you struggle with the technical side of things, you may want to consider outsourcing this responsibility to save yourself the time and frustration.
• More challenging to earn passive income
It can be more of a challenge to make passive income in this business. Often times, the amount of revenue you bring in is limited by the amount of time you have in the day.
- Roll20 (2.28K Alexa Ranking)
- BoardGameGeek (2.63K Alexa Ranking)
- Board Game Arena (6.8K Alexa Ranking)
- Fantasy Flight Games (37.8K Alexa Ranking)
- Cool Stuff Inc (42.1K Alexa Ranking)
- Facade Games - Revenue $30K/month
- The Board Game Design Lab - Revenue $10K/month
- Hill Gaming Company - Revenue $2K/month
- Good Look Gamer - Revenue $2K/month
- Bingo Card Creator - Revenue $1.5K/month
Let's take a look at the search trends for board game over the last year:
How To Name Your Board Game Business
It's important to find a catchy name for your board game business so that you can stand out in your space.
Here are some general tips to consider when naming your board game business
- Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
- Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
- Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
- As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!
Why is naming your board game business so important?
The name of your business will forever play a role in:
- Your customers first impression
- Your businesses identity
- The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
- If you're memorable or not
It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your board game business.
You can search domain availability here:
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.
It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.
As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.
Here's some inspiration for naming your board game business:
- Around The Table check availability
- In House check availability
- Game Trend check availability
- The Gaming Hour check availability
- Game Cheat check availability
- Round Table check availability
- Win Lust check availability
- House Contest check availability
- The Foul Playoff check availability
- One On One check availability
- Big Game check availability
- The Rivalry check availability
- Showdown check availability
- The Challenge Hut check availability
- House Play Off check availability
- Big Board check availability
- The Table Talk check availability
- Board Pieces check availability
- Sprint check availability
- Super Bowl check availability
- The Final Match check availability
- Toss check availability
- Shootout check availability
- The Indoor check availability
- Twelfth Player check availability
- Black And White check availability
- Opponent check availability
- Rival check availability
- Match Inside check availability
- Last Participant check availability
- Power Play check availability
- Influential check availability
- Appropriate Indoors check availability
- Happy Club check availability
- Indoor Granny check availability
- Game Spot check availability
- Happy House check availability
- The Indoor Player check availability
- Player Next Door check availability
- Pretend check availability
- The Board Room check availability
- Bling check availability
- Catch The Ball check availability
- Ball In The Room check availability
- Pillow Play check availability
- Final Round check availability
- The Last Match check availability
- Family Indoor check availability
- Happy Here check availability
- Bright Room check availability
- Here For The Play check availability
- Card Room check availability
- Family Drama check availability
- Indoor Rush check availability
- Internal Revival check availability
- The Insider check availability
- The Central Game Zone check availability
- Bright Board Game check availability
- Team Up check availability
- The Indoor Squad check availability
- Home Match check availability
- You Turn check availability
- Indoor Challenge check availability
- Intimate Battle check availability
- Family Time check availability
- We Are Indoors check availability
- In House Tournament check availability
- The Dual check availability
- Board Games And More check availability
- The Fun Zone check availability
- Amusement check availability
- The Joyland check availability
- The Delight check availability
- Indoor Picnic check availability
- Playful Mode check availability
- Fourth check availability
- Winker Indoor check availability
- ParallelPlay check availability
- NationalBoard check availability
- The Deadly Back check availability
- Residences Spot check availability
- Circuit Card Spot check availability
- Interesting Punt Pro check availability
- Noble Gage Spot check availability
- Entire Turn check availability
- Front Gameboard Collective check availability
- The Average Inside check availability
- Entire Run Pro check availability
- FrontBoard check availability
- Complex Place check availability
- Ard Board check availability
- Chard Board check availability
- Favorite Interior Trading Co check availability
- StateBoard check availability
- Parallel Perform check availability
- FriendlyGame check availability
- Use Trading Co check availability
- Complicated Spirited Group check availability
- Panel Group check availability
- Smaller check availability
- Delicate Inhalation Group check availability
- Federal check availability
- Intimate Interiors check availability
- Gage Collective check availability
- Turn Group check availability
- The Corrugated Gameboard check availability
- The Running check availability
- AdequateIndoor check availability
- Bottom Brim check availability
- The Only check availability
- Punched Vouchers Collective check availability
- Roleplay Collective check availability
- Gamey Co check availability
- EditorialBoard check availability
- Back Bureaux check availability
- Major Certificates Spot check availability
- Squared Board check availability
- Personal Use check availability
- Mettlesome Spot check availability
- Popular Perform check availability
- Healthy check availability
- The Desperate Brave check availability
- Control Panel Collective check availability
- Get On Trading Co check availability
- The Round check availability
- DefensivePlay check availability
- The Person Punt check availability
- Provincial Card Co check availability
- Dining Table Co check availability
- Double check availability
- Word check availability
- Various check availability
- Compared Board check availability
- Duplicate Valentines Spot check availability
- The Appropriate Covered check availability
- White Card Game Place check availability
- The Popular Residences check availability
- Rough Mettlesome Spot check availability
- Gamey Pro check availability
- First Spirited Co check availability
- Get On Collective check availability
- ResidentialIndoor check availability
- Tinker Indoor check availability
- Sum Gamey Group check availability
- Outdoor Turn Group check availability
- Executive Panel Group check availability
- Foot Plank check availability
- Fascinating Gritty Spot check availability
- Pitchfork Indoor check availability
Read our full guide on naming your board game business ➜
How To Create A Slogan For Your Board Game Business:
Slogans are a critical piece of your marketing and advertising strategy.
The role of your slogan is to help your customer understand the benefits of your product/service - so it's important to find a catchy and effective slogan name.
Often times, your slogan can even be more important than the name of your brand.
Here are 6 tips for creating a catchy slogan for your board game business:
1. Keep it short, simple and avoid difficult words
A great rule of thumb is that your slogan should be under 10 words. This will make it easy for your customer to understand and remember.
2. Tell what you do and focus on what makes you different
There are a few different ways you can incorporate what makes your business special in your slogan:
- Explain the target customer you are catering your services towards
- What problem do you solve?
- How do you make other people, clients, or your employer look good?
- Do you make people more successful? How?
3. Be consistent
Chances are, if you're coming up with a slogan, you may already have your business name, logo, mission, branding etc.
It's important to create a slogan that is consistent with all of the above.
4. Ensure the longevity of your slogan
Times are changing quickly, and so are businesses.
When coming up with your slogan, you may want to consider creating something that is timeless and won't just fade with new trends.
5. Consider your audience
When finding a catchy slogan name, you'll want to make sure that this resonates across your entire audience.
It's possible that your slogan could make complete sense to your audience in Europe, but may not resonate with your US audience.
6. Get feedback!
This is one of the easiest ways to know if your slogan will be perceived well, and a step that a lot of brands drop the ball on.
Ask friends, family, strangers, and most importantly, those that are considered to be in your target market.
Here's some inspiration for coming up with a slogan for your board game business:
- Amazing board games for all ages
- Play anytime and anywhere
- Making your strategic thinking significantly better
- Enhance your mind with these games
- The master of all board games
- We make board games more amazing
- The next big thing on board games
- Board games that you'll enjoy
- Make your weekends amazing
- The fun starts here
- Board games just got even better
- Let your mind conquer all
- The best board game ever
- Overpower your opponents
- Every move counts
- Board games that truly rocks
- The board game company that cares
- Unleashing the best strategist in you
- Taking board games to the next level
- The next generation of board games
- Let the board games begin
- Winning every board game you had
- Unleash the competitive you
- Winner takes all
- It is all about being smart
- For the winning moment
- Make every day awesome
- Best bonding moments start here
- Get your strategies right
- Board games crafted to perfection
- Board games for all ages
- More memorable moments made possible
- All kinds of board games are available
- You'll never run out of board games anymore
- Fight boredom with our board games
- Cleans Your Floor Without Game.
- From Same To Early
- Where Do You Want Indoor To Go Today?
- Common Residences, Large Use
- Where's Game?
- New Plank, Wooden Instrument Panel
- Supervisory Display Panel, New Plank
- Board The River Of Life.
- New Board, Let's Get To Work
- More Cards, Better Results
- Other Interior, Average Inland
- I Fall For Play.
- Point Of The Residences
- The Game That Likes To Say Yes.
- Unzip A Board.
- Lay Of The Back
- Think Indoor.
- Do You Have The Board Inside?
- Call A Friend, Call Indoor.
- Game Loves You.
- Would You Give Someone Your Last Game?
- The Queen Buys Board.
- Other Covered, Various Ambient
- The Board People.
- Because Game Can't Drive.
- Indoor Is Everything You Need.
- Call A Friend, Call Board.
- Sum Game, We're Commiitted
- Everyone Should Believe In Play.
- Governing Is What We Do
- Alfresco Is What We Do
- Several Night Games Are What We Do
- Game Chews 'Em Up And Spits 'Em Out.
- I Can't Believe It's Not Board.
- Ding-Dong! Board Calling!
- Work Hard, Use Harder
The eCommerce Business Model
One of the main benefits of operating online is that you are exposed to the entire world, versus just one local area. Rather than depending on foot traffic, you have all the tools at your disposal to create exposure for your store online.
Additionally, there are much lower costs to operate an online store - fewer employees, you can operate from your home, and you get to create your own schedules (yes, holidays included!)
Although you are operating online and have the ability to connect with people all over the world, it's important to consider that you will need to invest marketing money upfront in order to promote your store to the right audience.
Gia Paddock, founder of Boutique Rye explains the 3 reasons why she decided to build an online store :
I wanted to find something I loved but also allowed me to stay home at the same time. While I was working at this local boutique, I realized that there was a lot of sitting around during the day when other people were out working. Therefore, an online business seemed like the best route for a few reasons:
- We didn’t have the extra funds sitting around to pay sign a year or two-year lease at a brick & mortar location.
- I realized the opportunity to reach a wider audience online compared to the audience of this small local boutique. For us, it seemed like hitting two birds with one stone.
- And finally (maybe the most important of all), running it as an online-only business would allow me to stay at home with Riley!
Learn more about starting a board game business :
Where to start?
-> How much does it cost to start a board game business? -> Pros and cons of a board game business
-> Other board game business success stories -> Examples of established board game business -> Marketing ideas for a board game business -> Board game business slogans -> Board game business names
-> Board game business tips -> Blog post ideas for a board game business -> Board game business manufacturers -> Board game business hashtags -> Board game business calculator
🎬 How To Start A Board Game Business
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Board Game Business
If you are planning to start a board game business, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of starting a board game business and outline the costs you should expect for each:
- The estimated minimum starting cost = $62
- The estimated maximum starting cost = $69,447
Raising Money For Your Board Game Business
Here are the most common ways to raise money for your board game business:
You may not need funding for your board game business.
In fact, many entrepreneurs take this approach when starting their own business, whether they have a little amount of cash or a substantial amount to get started.
So what exactly does the term "bootstrapping" mean?
This method essentially refers to self-funding your business without external help or capital and reinvesting your earnings back into the business**
Bootstrapping means building your company from the ground up with your own, or your loved ones, personal savings and reinvesting all earnings back into the business
Here are some tips to consider when bootstrapping your business :
- Use your savings as your capital - one of the best ways to bootstrap your business is to collect your savings and use them as startup capital. This will also help you avoid using your personal or business credit cards when getting started.
- Determine exactly how much capital you need and how much capital you have to get your business off the ground. Generally, when bootstrapping your business, you may want to consider starting a business that involves less startup capital.
- Consider starting a business that will generate immediate returns so you can put money back into the business
- Be as lean as possible - this refers to cutting down expenses as much as possible, such as payroll, fancy software tools, unnecessary travel, renting an office, etc
- Consider outsourcing instead of hiring - in the beginning, you may not need to hire someone permanently to help run your business. It tends to be much less expensive to outsource work to a freelancer and hire someone permanently down the road!
Want to learn more about bootstrapping your business? Check out this article
VC funding is a traditional and long process, but an effective way to raise money for your business.
The term "VC funding" refers to venture capital firms investing in businesses in exchange for equity.
The VC's (venture capitalists) are an individual or small group investing in your business and typically require substantial ownership of the business, with the hope of seeing a return on their investment.
VC's are typically the best approach for businesses with high startup costs - where it would be very difficult to raise the money on your own or through a loan.
When deciding whether to take this approach, it's important that you have a few things in place first, and know what you're getting yourself into:
Determine if your business is ready
Having an idea is not enough to get VC funding.
Typically, VC's will check to make sure you have these things in place prior to closing any deal:
- An MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
- A founding team with all proper documents in place (articles of organization, business formation)
- A validated idea with actual customers buying your product/service
Get everything in place and build a pitch deck
A VC individual or firm will be expecting a fine-tuned presentation that gives an overview of your business.
Here's what you should consider including in your pitch deck:
- Management team, their previous experience + current roles in the business
- Market challenge and solution
- Company financials - including a P&L statement, cash flow statement, and projections
- Company progress
- Investment amount - how much do you need and why?
Research the right VC to fund your business
Research the types of VC investors out there and what niche they focus on.
Then, put together a list of target VC's you want to approach and your strategy around setting up meetings.
Be sure you have everything in place (as discussed above) before setting up any meeting!
Make sure the terms and expectations are right for your business
Committing to VC funding is a big deal and a decision that should not be made lightly.
Although the money and experience from VC's can help your business quickly grow, you are also giving away a stake in the company, and the money comes with strings attached.
Be sure you do your due diligence in finding the right investor - one that truly believes in the growth and success of your business.
What Skills Do I Need To Succeed In Starting A Board Game Business?
As a board game business, there are several essential skills and characteristics that are important to identify prior to starting your business.
Let’s look at these skills in more detail so you can identify what you need to succeed in your day-to-day business operations:
Self Motivation Skills
Self motivation and discipline skills are critical in order to become successful in this field.
It's likely that you will find yourself starting and running your board game business from home, which could mean there are more distractions for you.
Here are the basic skills needed for self motivation & discipline:
- Becoming a self starter: It's important that you are capable of independently completing a task without the help or direction of anyone else
- Listening and following directions : When you are given direction by others, it's critical that you are able to follow directions and ask the right questions in order to get your job done
- Taking the initiative in problem solving: Instead of taking the easy route, you'll need to learn to troubleshoot issues on your own as much as possible.
Customer Service Skills
Friendly communication with customers and the ability to address service issues is a critical part of the job.
Here are some customer service skills you may want to consider prior to starting a board game business:
- Professionalism: The way you act, present yourself, and respond to situations all leave an impression on your customer. It's important to stay professional at all times when handling customer requests or issues.
- Problem-solving: When issues arise, it's important that you are able to think quick on your feet and address the situation with a calm and clear solution
- Friendly-manner: This is an obvious one, but customers truly appreciate someone that can respond in a quick, efficient, and friendly manner.
- Proficient in writing: These skills include the ability to write well-crafted emails, service tickets, and any other programs used by the business (ie. chat functions, SMS texting)
Business Savvy Skills
When starting a board game business, there are a few fundamental business skills you will want to learn in order to be successful:
- Leadership and training skills: A great team starts with YOU. Make sure you have all company policies and training procedures in place prior to hiring your team
- Decisive and self-confident: Over the course of your career, you will need decisions that could impact your business significantly. It's important you are able to think clearly and rationally about these decisions.
- Ability to understand the financials : You don't need to be an accountant, but it is important that you are able to clearly understand and define metrics such as expenses, revenue, profit, margins, COGS, etc.
- Strategic Thinking : Setting clear goals and benchmarks, identifying opportunities, risks. Ability to effectively communicate these insights to your team.
These are a few of many business savvy skills you should have (or work on) when starting a board game business.
For a full list, check out this article here .
Whether you are the one designing the product or the decision-maker for the product, an eye for design is critical when starting a board game business. Here's what this looks like:
- Creative Thinking - the ability to develop or design different products or ideas
- Visualization - being able to imagine or visualize how the product will look
- Articulation - the ability to communicate what the design will look like and how it will be executed
- Detail-oriented - paying close attention to all of the small pieces when designing or working on a project
- Some technical skills - knowledge of the design software you are using to create the product or build prototypes.
Other skills that may be valuable to have when starting a board game business include digital marketing skills, branding experience, and basic business knowledge.
Resarch and Writing Skills
Research and writing skills are critical when starting a board game business. Here's what this looks like:
- Basic computer & technology skills (Microsoft office or Google sheets/docs knowledge, data input, and proficiency in typing)
- Creativity & originality in your work and approach
- Great communication skills and ability to meet deadlines
- Understanding of SEO
Other skills that businesses find valuable include digital marketing skills, basic web design, and accounting abilities. Some employers may also look for a board game business that has a bachelor's degree or formal education.
Additionally, you may want to consider putting together a portfolio of past work and experience. This includes samples of writing/research pieces, from school projects to internship work to career experience.
Advice For Starting A Board Game Business
We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.
Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a board game business:
Beth Kovalcik, founder of Bingo Card Creator ($1.5K/month):
Starting out is that slow and steady wins the race. I find it is easy (and often expensive) to get caught up by all that is out there or by run-away ideas.
Read the full interview ➜
Gabe Barrett, founder of The Board Game Design Lab ($10K/month):
Building an audience requires trust, and when you give your customers consistent, quality content, they trust you a lot more.
Jamey Stegmaier, founder of Stonemaier Games ($1.73M/month):
Focus on what you can control: What makes your product/service special, how you delight your existing customers, and how you add value to your community.
Dennis Michels, founder of Good Look Gamer ($2K/month):
Be where your clients are. Research the platforms your clients are using and engage with them.
Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your board game business.
Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.
For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.
You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:
- Executive Summary : Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
- Overviews and Objectives : Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
- Products and Services : Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
- Market Opportunities : Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
- Marketing : Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
- Competitive analysis : Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
- Operations : Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
- Leadership Team : Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
- Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.
Learn more about how to write a business plan here
Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need
There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.
Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
- Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
- Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
- Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
- Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.
Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.
Setting Up Your Board Game Business (Formation and Legal)
When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.
The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.
These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.
- LLC : All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
- S corp : Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
- C Corp : C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.
Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.
Learn more about securing the right permits and licenses ➜
Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness .
How Do I Pay Myself As A Small Business Owner?
Most entrepreneurs start a business to do something they love- but at the end of the day, you still have bills to pay (maybe now more than ever).
But it's important to strike the right balance - if you pay yourself too much, you could be putting your business at risk.
There are two common ways to pay yourself as a business owner:
1. Owner's Draw
Many entrepreneurs pay themselves through an owner's draw. This means that you are technically sean as "self-employed" through the eyes of the IRS and are not paid through regular wages.
At the point that you collect money from the draw, taxes typically are not taken out - so make sure you are prepared to pay these taxes once you file your individual return.
As an owner who takes a draw, you can legally take out as much as you want from your equity.
This type of compensation is suited for Sole props, LLCs, and partnerships. If you’re an S corp, you can pay yourself through both a salary and draw if you choose.
If you decide to pay yourself a salary, you will receive a set and recurring amount. This will be taxed by the federal government and the state you reside in.
The reality is that it can be really complicated to set your own salary, so we have some tips for you to consider:
- Take out a reasonable amount that allows you to live comfortably but also sets your business up for success
- Consider the number of hours you are working weekly + the type of duties you are performing.
- Set your salary based on your industry-standard, location, and profits (or projected profits)
- Look at your P&L statement : Deduct your own pay from that amount. This is important so you can first tackle important business expenses, and then pay yourself from the amount leftover.
- Pick a payroll schedule (and stick to it)! In the US, it's most common to pay yourself and employees twice a month.
To learn more about how to pay yourself and what is a reasonable amount, check out this article .
How To Price Your Board Game
One of the most challenging aspects to starting a board game business is determining how much to charge for your board game.
When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.
Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.
On the other hand, when businesses over-price , this tends to be just as damaging to the business.
When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.
Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:
Understand your customer
It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:
- Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
- Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
- Level of price sensitivity with your customer
All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.
Understand your costs
When pricing your board game, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your board game so you can factor in a profit.
The actual cost of your board game may include things like:
- The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
- Shipping + overhead fees
- Operating costs to run your business
You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.
Create revenue goals
When determining the price of your board game, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your board game business to make.
This process is simpler than you may think:
- Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
- Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
- Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
- Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell
This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.
Evaluate your competition
The last piece in determining how to price your board game is by simply looking at your competition.
The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your board game fits best in the marketplace.
All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your board game, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.
Understanding Your Costs
Example from Ishan, founder of Ugly Duckling
First objective: profitability
Our profitability is OK at this point but definitely not where it should be yet. To this day I have not paid myself a regular salary yet...and it’s been 4 years!
The problem is not the cost of goods which are well under 20% of sales, which is good by any standard. The problem is fulfillment costs. In 2018 we transitioned from our first fulfillment company to a much bigger company. We did this because we wanted to provide faster shipment speeds and a better quality of packaging. In hindsight, we chose a company which would have been more suitable for a larger company with bigger volumes. We ended up being tied in with some pretty large minimum monthly payments. So currently fulfillment costs are currently around 45% of sales...way too high.
We are now looking to transit to another fulfillment center. Our target is to get our fulfillment costs down to around 30% of sales which I believe from what I have researched, is possible.
Just to be clear, when I say fulfillment that includes transportation costs also - FedEx, USPS, etc. Not just storage, picking, and packing. I am pretty sure that it is possible to get fulfillment costs down even lower, and I suspect that some large pro sellers on amazon.com work with around 20-25% of sales.
So our target P+L for 2020 looks something like this:
- Cost of goods, including inbound freight and clearance - around 22% of sales.
- Fulfillment - around 30% of sales.
- Digital Advertising & Promotion - around 15% of sales.
- Other marketing and office costs, including salary costs - around 10% of sales.
- That would leave us around 23% of sales - enough to pay me a liveable salary and for the company to make a profit and finance future growth.
That's the first objective for 2020: to right-size the P+L so that we are profitable at our current sales level
Gross Margin Calculator: How to Calculate The Gross Margin For Your Board Game
Our calculator is designed to be simple and easy to use.
The goal is to help you set realistic expectations and understand what is considered a healthy gross margin for your board game business.
Calculate your gross margin and profit margin here .
What Type Of Customers Will Buy Your Board Game
It's important to first establish who you will be selling to, whether it's to businesses or consumers.
Typically, in this industry, products are sold to B2C markets (business-to-consumer).
Let's take a look at what this means for your board game business:
B2C (or business to consumer) is a transaction where businesses sell their products or services to the consumer directly.
In this market, consumer behavior is the primary driver for your business decisions - so it's important that you truly identify who your customer is, and what their buyer habits are when building your product/service.
B2C is that you are able to cast a very wide net when targeting your customers. Your product may interest a large number of consumers or a specific niche.
B2C is that consumers hold all the power - so if your website is not the most user friendly, or does not rank in the top search results on Google, chances are, your customer is going to shop elsewhere.
When building your board game business, it's critical that you hone in on who your target audience is, and why they need your product over your competition.
Here are some items to consider when identifying your buyer persona:
Design A Prototype
Turning your idea into a reality can feel like a daunting task - but it's critical that you have an idea of what your product will look like (even if it's just a sketch) prior to finding a manufacturer.
Here are some common ways you can design your prototype:
- Draw Your Initial Design on Paper
- Form pieces of fabric together
- Consider Taking A Generic Product And Putting Your Own Brand On It
- Try Making the Product Yourself
- Consider Building A Prototype With A 3D Printer
To learn more about how to design and prototype a product, check out our latest guide here .
Travis Hancock, founder of Facade Games dives deep into the process of designing and prototyping their product:
Games take a lot of testing to get the rules and flow and theme of the game just right. We typically test out literally 100+ versions of each game before it’s ready.
This involves lots of game nights where we invite people over and then listen to every bit of feedback they provide. You have to have thick skin so that you can admit when you’ve had a bad idea about a game idea or core mechanic.
We try to get the game to a point where it is as simple as possible to learn and play, while still having a high level of intrigue and strategy.
Look and feel
Once the rules are ready, Holly takes over and figures out how the game is going to look and feel. We then tell our illustrator which illustrations we will need. We put it all together and then order prototypes from our factory and from other print on demand sites.
We’ll use this prototype to get pictures for Kickstarter. We found the factories that we work with by talking with other board game creators about which factories they have had good experiences with.
Kickstarter is a busy time as we showcase the game and ask for people to pre-order it so that we can have funds for manufacturing. Kickstarter also lets us know about how many copies of the game to order.
Once the campaign finishes up we get files to the factory and they send back digital and physical proofs so that everything is looking as it should. The factory then ships it to our fulfillment company’s warehouse and we send out games to everyone who backed it on Kickstarter. We then work with distributors to get the games in stores, and we sell the game on our website and Amazon. We’ve written a more in-depth guide to publishing a board game and to our tips and tricks for Kickstarter on our website.
How To Find A Supplier For Your Board Game Business
Here are the steps to consider when finding a supplier/manufacturer:
Know your design
One very critical step to finding the right supplier is having an initial idea of what your design/product will look like.
Sketching is one of the most simple ways to get started in the design phase.
What's great about sketching is that you can practically do this anytime, anywhere - even on the back of a napkin.
To get started, all you need to do is pick up a pen and paper and start drawing - or if you are working on a virtual/software product this can be a diagram that outlines the user interface or experience.
Decide your supplier type
You'll want to identify the type of supplier you are looking for.
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself prior to searching for a supplier
- Are you looking for a manufacturer to produce your product idea ?
- Do you want to find a supplier that can simply purchase existing products for you ?
- Do you want a drop-shipper to supply and fulfill orders?
- Do you want a domestic supplier or an overseas supplier? Read more about the pros and cons of each here
Where to start your search
Once you have an understanding of what type of manufacturer/supplier will be best to bring your idea to life, there are several areas you can start your search:
Manufacturing Your Product In House
It's also very common to manufacture your board game on your own - either from your home or in a commercial space.
In order to get the product right, you may want to consider experimenting with different designs and recipes until you find the perfect one.
Some founders choose to manufacture their product in-house so that they can control quality, manage costs, and easily handle production/logistics.
Down the road, you can always choose to outsource your board game.
Leslie Eisen, founder of AlmondClear discusses how to manufacture products in house
If you want to start a line of unique products, then you have two basic options: you can make them yourself, or you can find a manufacturer to work with that creates custom formulations for their clients.
I knew that I was trying to build a larger-scale business and that the home-made model wasn’t right for me, so I had to find the right manufacturing partner. It took a lot of research, phone calls, and emails before I found the laboratory that met my needs.
I wanted to create unique products (as opposed to private label), so I worked with the manufacturer’s chemist who specializes in skin care formulations. This process takes some time!
First, you have to tell the chemist what kind of product you’re looking for , the ingredients that you want to include or leave out, and what you want the final product to look like/feel like/smell like, etc.
Then, the manufacturer sends you the first sample , you try it out or give it to others to try, and then provide feedback for revisions. In my case, the first two products came together fairly easily because I only needed to make small changes to stock formulations.
There are many, many rules and regulations around cosmetics and skin care products. If you want to sell products that contain FDA regulated ingredients then you have to register and get a permit.
My products aren’t FDA regulated, so I didn’t have to go through this step, but I did have to be aware of the many guidelines and standards around labeling and safety warnings. Some people hire a lawyer to help them through this process, but my manufacturer was able to guide me through the regulatory process.
The entire process, from researching labs to work with to having the first finished products shipped out to me, took around six months.
Purchasing Inventory For Your Board Game Business
When first starting out, it's important to start small with your overhead to get a gauge for what people want.
Just remember - if you order a line of items that don't sell, it's nearly impossible to recoup the money lost.
Buying the right inventory takes research and planning in order to get it right.
- Identify your target audience : Identify the age, gender, annual income that you will be selling to. This is a defining factor in ordering the right inventory that will sell.
- Research your competition : Conduct market research and identify the different types of styles, price points, and materials being used. This will help you see what's trending and ways that you can improve/stay ahead of the competition.
- Create an inventory wishlist : Identify what you need for the launch of your business and create a budget that you will stay within. Remember, it's okay to start small.
- Find a supplier Make sure to first compare prices and analyze different options.
- Delivery timing : Schedule the inventory delivery to match with seasonality and trending buying seasons
Pro-tip: It's easy to become biased based on your own fashion preferences on what types of shoes/apparel to purchase. This is where a lot of fashion businesses go wrong. It's important to base purchase decisions on current buyer behavior, trends in the market, and specific to your niche.
Erin Hooley, founder of Bailey's Blossoms tells us how poor inventory projections led her to lose over $2M
When we first launched Peyton Bre we did so in a social or direct sales model.
Through poor inventory projections we were forced to change models but only after losing $2 million dollars.
It was a devastating time for us and one we were not sure we could survive.
I have since become very intentional about the way that we project our inventory needs and we continue to refine that quarterly and even monthly. We have created a KPI for the cost of goods sold to help us hold ourselves accountable.
Ultimately, the better we manage our inventory the less we have need to discount and the healthier our profit margin becomes.
This is, of course, a very high-level overview of the importance of inventory control.
To see the full breakdown on how to manage inventory, check out my guide over on my blog. .
🚀 How To Launch Your Board Game Business
Build A Website
Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).
- Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
- Make sure you choose the right theme and design
- Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)
To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide .
Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.
Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.
One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.
If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.
Launch Strategies For Your Board Game Business
There are various different ways you can launch your board game business successfully.
Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your board game business.
- Build hype with a landing page : you can effectively do this through waiting lists, discounts, countdown timer etc
- Create a teaser video : even just a 30 second video is a great way to exposure for your board game business, and possibly even go viral
- Reach out to influencers : The right influencer for your product has the ability to reach your audience with just one post, and because of their loyal following, this could lead to a big return for you.
- Get Press : Whether you plan a PR stunt or get exposure through a popular news outlet, this is a great way to attract initial customers
- Launch on popular sites : A great way to get buzz about your board game business is to submit your launch to popular startup sites.
Here are a few popular sites to launch on:
- Hacker News
Learn more about how to launch your business successfully ➜ here
Dennis Michels, founder of Good Look Gamer dives deep into the process of launching the business:
I did the web design myself, the logo was suggested by an acquaintance and is… adequate. Probably need to redo that one sometime :)
I researched popular online platforms for selling games, and quickly learned that there actually are only two good places to sell games professionally: eBay and BoardGameGeek (BGG as it’s known everywhere in the gaming hobby) So, my strategy was as follows:
- List pre-orders for sale on my website and on BGG
- Order the required number of presales from my distributor
- Ship anything that was paid for
- Any leftovers got to put up on eBay and listed as in-stock on my website
Doing sales this way is how I started building up capital and stock.
I was in luck as one of the first games I listed for pre-order turned out to be in-demand and I got about 10 orders for that one, which felt like a great start to me.
I soon realized something about this pre-order strategy. I had no idea what the dimensions of the gamebox were and I needed to arrange packaging material for shipping the orders to my clients. The info was nowhere to be found, so I started asking around in the forums and it turned out no one really knew for sure, although it was suggested the game probably would have the standard box size. Great!
What is that standard size though was my next question. Someone actually got a measuring tape and measured some of his other games in his collection that also had the standard size. Armed with that knowledge I took a gamble and bought packaging material for that size. Turned out I gambled right… what a relief. Before I knew it I was shipping out my first orders.
The best marketing strategy for me so far has been being friendly and approachable for clients.
Make Sure You Get The Package Design Right
The way you package your board game business is often the first impression your customer has - so it's important to get it right.
You may want to ask yourself these questions:
If my product is on a shelf next to hundreds of other similar products:
- Will my board game business stand out?
- Will the branding/packaging create a connection with my customer, and hence, lead them to buy?
There are hundreds of tools you can use to help with packaging and design:
- Canva - Allows non-designers to create beautiful Instagram/Pinterest posts, flyers, business cards, etc.
- Stickermule - High quality custom stickers you can include on or in your packaging.
- Noissue - Custom tissue paper and compostable mailers
- Rollo Label Printer - A great tool to print all shipping labels at home
Sheets & Giggles explains the motive behind their "Premium Unboxing Experience"
I had a particular vision for our packaging centered around one goal: because we were a DTC company and wouldn’t do physical retail in year 1, we needed to focus entirely on an incredible unboxing experience that made the product feel as premium as possible.
Outside: a white box, nice wax coating, logo front and center with no other copy, easy to open, nice and sturdy.
Inside: make people smile from the get-go, have a social call-to-action, include free extra surprises (a knapsack that wraps the sheets and an eye mask), put funny copy all over the place, and add a donation bag that people could use to donate their now-defunct cotton sheets (sheets & blankets are the #2-most-requested item at shelters behind socks).
Get Press Coverage For Your Board Game Business
The more buzz around your brand - the more the phones ring, the more traffic to your website, and the more customers as a result.
Here are a few ways you can get press for your business:
Press releases are a great way to share big announcements or news, but in order to get any traction, you'll need to find a way to make your press release stand out amongst others.
Try to convey a story that really matters, not just to you, but to the reporter and to their audience.
Here are some things to consider when submitting a press release:
- Craft a catchy subject (keep it short and sweet).
- Acknowledge the journalist's past work and interests - this is key!
- Include the main point of the story in the first paragraph, heck, even the first sentence. Reporters want to hear the juice first and foremost.
- Focus on the facts and try to limit the amount of jargon used.
- Pitch yourself! Help them put a face to the story.
- Make sure your topic is newsworthy. If it's not, find a way to!
- Try not to include any attachments of your release!
Email is one of the most effective and preferred way to send your press release, so as long as you keep your pitch brief, interesting and personalized (no cold emails), you should stand a chance!
Get Press Using HARO
HARO, otherwise known as "Help a Reporter Out" is an outlet for journalists to source upcoming stories and opportunities for media coverage.
The best part is, HARO is free to use! There are, of course, premium versions you can purchase, but the free version is still an accessible way to get press.
Once you set up an account, HARO essentially will email you based on stories (that are relevant to you) that need to be covered where you will then have a chance to essentially "bid on the story."
Here are some tips when crafting your pitch:
- Discuss your experience and expertise in the space. Make sure it's obvious why you're relevant to this story.
- Answer the question in 3-4 sentences. Try and be as direct as possible
- Offer to provide the reporter with more information and make sure to give them your contact info
Plan a Publicity Stunt
Planning a publicity stunt is an effective and quick way to raise awareness for your brand and gain some traction from the press.
If you're looking to plan a stunt, the objective should be to be bold and create something memorable
However, being bold has a fine line - it's important that you consider the timing of your stunt to ensure you don't come off insensitive or unethical. For example, timing may not be in your favor if you plan something during the general election, or in most recent cases, a global pandemic.
In order to measure the success of your stunt, it's important that you first determine your end goal, for example:
- Is the stunt aimed to raise money for your business or a particular organization?
- Is the stunt aimed to drive more traffic to your website?
- Is the stunt aimed to get more followers and engagement on Instagram?
Here are a few tips for creating a great publicity stunt:
- Research to ensure that there haven't been similar stunts done in the past by other businesses - this could easily turn off journalists and your audience.
- Make sure you can explain the stunt in one headline - this will help grab the media's attention. In other words, simplify!
- The stunt should be related to the product you are promoting. Even if the stunt is a success in terms of viewers, but it doesn't tie back to your original goal, then it's not useful.
- Keep the stunt visual with videos/images.
- Leverage the internet and social media platforms for your stunt by sharing your message across a variety of audiences. This will help with word of mouth and the overall success of your event.
To learn other strategies on how to get press, check out our full guide here .
🌱 How To Grow Your Board Game Business
Consider Selling On Amazon
In addition to selling your products directly on your site, you may want to consider selling on Amazon to reach a wider audience and attract new customers.
Here are some pros and cons of selling on amazon:
- Easy and seamless process to get your product listed on Amazon
- There are roughly 100 million thoroughly committed prime customers, so you're bound to tap into new business
- Can help grow your business exponentially and reach new audiences
- You may encounter some "copycats" and counterfeit products
- Amazon owns the relationship with the customer (you lose control over product reviews + customer service)
- If you already have a low-markup, amazon may not wrth your while and you could end up losing money
- Commissions and listing fees are high - it's easy to lose control of your offering
Follow these instructions to get your product listed on Amazon or check out the video below on how to get started:
Cory Stout, founder of Woodies ($250K/mo) provides us with specifics on how to rank better on amazon:
Our main product is walnut wood sunglasses that I sell for $25 on Amazon and Woodies.com.
I dedicated myself to becoming an Amazon expert. I listened to all the podcasts and read all the blog posts I could find. Shoutout EcomCrew I took the basic fundamentals that are out there and I added a couple of my own twists.
Amazon brings me, 100 brand new customers, every day for very little acquisition cost. If I tried that on my own, it would take a TON of work and it wouldn’t be nearly as effective as Amazon, so I took the easy road on this one.
Here's an article I wrote on how to rank better on amazon (30+ Tips):
- Beautiful images (minimum 5 images) especially lifestyle images I use UpgradedImages.com for product photography (hey Ken!)
- Keywords in your title (but it still needs to sound human)
- Competitive price (contributes to high conversion rate)
- NOT having 1-star reviews
- DON'T STOCKOUT: it's such a killer and if you DO stockout, definitely DON'T raise your price right before you do, if anything LOWER your price for the last 10-20 units before you stockout, each ASIN has a 'memory' for when you do get back in stock so that will help you regain ranking quickly
- DON'T VIOLATE AMAZON TOS: just don't
- Perform QC on your stock before you send it in (I sent in a wrong box once and I had to 'remove' over 3,000 pieces so I could sift through them and remove the 150 contaminated pieces 0/7 would not recommend
4/5: Pretty Friggin Important
- Minimum 10 5-star reviews (do this before you do anything below this)
- Well optimized PPC campaigns (could do a whole post on this, keep ACOS under 40%) here's a screenshot of some of my campaigns I use a combination of manual campaigns with exact phrases and high bids...and auto campaigns with a broad range of products and very low bids
- Turning on FeedbackGenius for auto review requests (it's not as good as it used to be, but it's still worth it)
- Get a trademark and get Brand Registry, this protects you from hijackers and other unscrupulous sellers
- Quick response to customer messages (under 12 hours) here are my stats my mom does all my customer service "Employee of the Year" status
- Drive outside traffic (amazon loves outside traffic because they don't have to spend so much to acquire customers) Facebook, Instagram, and Google Adwords are the usual suspects
- Use ocean shipping to save mucho $$$ on unit costs (use flexport)
Read more about amazon tips here .
Consider Working With Instagram Influencers
Partnering with like-minded influencers (within your industry) is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media organically.
Industry influencers already have an established and loyal following. With one post, your product immediately establishes a connection with a brand new audience. It's that powerful.
When finding influencers to promote your product, do your research and make sure that their following will actually be interested in your product.
It's easy to be blinded by any influencer with a huge following, but if those followers don't resonate with your product, there may not be any value there... so make sure you do your research!
Evan Marshall, founder of Plain Jane discusses how "micro-influencers" have impacted his business:
Influencer marketing has been huge for us. Our approach is pretty simple. We give out samples of our products and ask people to post about us on social media aka a micro-influencer strategy.
We really like this approach because we get authentic stories and content. We cannot really control the messaging so the product has to speak for itself. We don’t really take product photos at all. Our customers take the photos and we ask to reuse them.
With any influencer strategy, you have to be very sure you’re targeting the right people and engaging with them. You can make sure you’re targeting the right influencers by looking through their posts and then looking through the profiles of their engaged followers.
It takes more time per influencer but the payoff is certainly worth it. Make sure their followers look like your existing customers.
It takes a ton of time and work to grow a social media following this way but it’s worth it. Other accounts have tried to grow themselves through botting or other manipulations. As a CBD company, we didn’t want to give Instagram any reason to shutdown our account so we’ve done everything through content and real engagement. It’s not magic to make this happen. You just have to post consistently and then reply or like every single comment you get. It takes months but it works
Improve your SEO
SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site , and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."
Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your board game business.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner invaluable for discovering search trends.
- Google Search Console is very helpful once your website is up as it shows you what words/phrases are generating traffic.
- Ahrefs and SEMRush are paid tools that allow you to look at results of your competitor's website.
Publish Great Content
Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.
There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.
So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"
- Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
- Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
- Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
- Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
- Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).
Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.
If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.
Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.
Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:
- If you prefer to keep it simple, your average spreadsheet is just as useful!
Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.
Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.
Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.
For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.
Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:
- Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
- Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
- Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
- Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
- Leverage existing business relationships
Learn more about the fundamentals of SEO ➜ here and check out Neil Patel's 3 Powerful SEO Tips below
Build A Blog
One of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and grow your business is through consistently blogging.
We've outlined some useful tips for you to consider when creating content:
Consistency and Quantity
Quality is important, but it should be the standard for any content you publish.
What’s more important is consistency and quantity.
Consistency is as simple as committing to publishing and sharing a certain number of posts per week. For me, that’s three per week right now.
This kind of commitment is key, because one day, a random post will blow up, and you will have never expected it.
The easiest mind trap is to think "I’m posting too much", and “I need to give my readers/audience/this platform a break”.
This is nonsense.
There is no such thing as oversaturation. Well, there is, but it is just someone else’s opinion.
For every person that tells you you are posting too much, there is another person that wants even more of your content.
You should ignore people’s opinions on how much you post.
Patience & Persistence
Keep posting, keep trying, and keep putting out good content on the regular. Your time will come, and when it does, it will change everything.
The only thing you have control over is your content.
You can’t control how people will react to it. You can’t control pageviews, likes, or shares.
So the only metric you should focus on is how much content you can put out in a week, month, etc.
Where to share your blog content
I know it sounds obvious, but the best places to share your content is on your mailing list. It is guaranteed traffic and it is a great way to get rapid feedback from your most loyal readers.
Send newsletters often. I have done once a week since starting, and I’m moving to twice a week soon.
Work on increasing your mailing list as well. Look into ways to increase your conversion rate to your mailing list. I added a flyout popup thing to my site and now I’m collecting ~30 emails per day.
An email newsletter is one of the most powerful assets you can have and it is worth its weight in gold.
Reddit is one of my favorite places to promote content.
It is a very scary place because you will often get banned or heckled, but it can really pay off.
Create social media accounts for your blog, the main ones I use:
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn
Set up Buffer and share all of your blog posts to all of your accounts. All of these little shares really do add up.
Automate this as much as possible. I automated all of my social media for Starter Story.
When I started out, I put together a spreadsheet of relevant Facebook groups for my niche, and I would post to these groups whenever I had a big story I wanted to share.
Grow Your Email List
The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.
One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.
This could also be anything from:
- Fascinating case study
- Video series
- Free week of the product
- Discount on the product
Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here .
Dylan Jacob, founder of Brumate states their email collection tactic that is proven to work:
We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.
Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them.
We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.
Add an exit-intent popup to your online store
A great way to double, or even triple, your email opt-in rate and to grow your list is to add an exit-intent popup to your site, and offering a discount or content upgrade for subscribers.
Here's an example of what that might look like:
One thing that I spent years NOT doing, that I now kick myself about, is adding an "exit intent pop-up" to our site, which lets people enter a sweepstakes to win a Xero Shoes gift certificate.
That one idea has added over 100,000 subscribers to our email list, which is one of our most effective marketing channels.
Improve Your Email Marketing
Different types of emails
Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:
- Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
- Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
- Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
- Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
- Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!
Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!
Abandonded Cart Flow
The abandoned cart workflow is one of the most effective strategies for turning your lead into a customer, and a powerful tool to have if you're an e-commerce business.
Think about all the times that you went on a shopping frenzy only to add items to your cart and then either forget or realize nows not the right time to pull the trigger.
Then, minutes later you receive an email saying "Hurry up! Your cart is waiting - and we want to provide you with 20% off your order."
Maybe that's the special touch (and discount) you needed to pull that trigger.
Implementing this workflow can automatically trigger this for your business every time a customer abandons their cart.
Here's a great example of an abandoned cart email from Brooklinen :
Things they do well:
- Showcase 5-star reviews from other customers
- Offer a small discount + free shipping
- Great design + clear call to actions!
Experiment With Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)
Pay-per-click (PPC) is a performance-based marketing method that allows you to show specific ads for services or products oriented to a very defined target, with the goal that the user visits your website or landing page.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Consider connecting the ad to your corresponding landing page so that the audience receives the necessary information after clicking on the ad.
- Conversion Tracking: When running PPC campaigns, be sure to run the ads with conversion tracking.
- Focus on quality keywords, even if there are few as this will save you time and money. When assessing the performance of a keyword, it's important to track the expense, conversion, and cost per conversion, as well as the ROI.
PPC advertising can be a very important lead generator as long as it's done properly. Your PPC campaign is intended to drive traffic to your website and help the business scale.
Additionally, if the campaign is not having the desired results, you can make the necessary changes immediately to improve them.
Ryan Schortmann, founder of Display Pros talks about their investment in PPC Ads:
My name is Ryan Schortmann and I’m the founder of Display Pros. We are a custom trade show display booth company offering easy to use portable display “kits” for small and medium businesses wanting to get into the trade show game.
It did not take long to come to the realization that to compete at any reasonable level, we were going to need to take the plunge and invest in Pay Per Click ads and display.
From experience, I know that it is important to give Google’s hivemind some time to settle in before each campaign starts seeing consistent results (this is largely dependent on budget).
A certain amount of PPC budget must be viewed as a “marketing research” expense and then you can look at the analytics data and make informed decisions on where to refine, tweak or plain scrap an idea.
Google Shopping was an entirely new concept for me. You can’t assign keywords to products so at first, I was asking myself “How the hell do you refine these?”. Then I found some good reading material and courses and learned of some advanced methods that the pros are using. It turns out you can utilize negative keyword lists combined with the priority setting on each shopping campaign to “shape” the keywords that are coming in and how much you are spending on them.
To learn more about PPC Ads and Google Shopping, check out this video to learn everything you need to know!
Build A Facebook Community
Building a community is a great way to grow your network and your business.
There are several different ways of building a community, one of the most effective (and simplest) ways is to build a Facebook group
Setting up the group page takes less than 10 minutes, and we've outlined ways the top 5 ways to create an engaging and successful group:
- Make the group exclusive. This may sound counter-intuitive, however, this ensures privacy and that the group will feel comfortable posting and engaging with members.
- Try to be warm and welcoming. A great way to do this is by having a "Member Monday" where you welcome new members and ask them to introduce themselves in the group
- Use polls/surveys. This is a great way to know your audience and see what people want more of in the group (more business tips, networking opportunities, etc).
- Include influential people & conduct AMA's (ask me anything). This is a great way to get members engaged
- Host an in-person (or virtual) event with members in the group. This will create stronger relationships and build a strong community.
Mike Doehla, founder of Stronger U, an online nutrition company noticed that his customers needed a little motivation and sense of community:
Most diets are lonely so we wanted to give support and a community.
I think many people fail diets because there is no one to talk to and no accountability.
You can by a book, or google a meal plan but who’s going to keep you on track? We will. The entire SU community.
We give our members access for life to our Facebook community filled with people around the world who are looking out for everyone’s success.
Most diets make up arbitrary rules and we thought they just didn’t make sense. Meal timing, Cutting carbs, butter in coffee, sugar being the devil? Ehh no need to overthink that stuff.
We’ll give you the science behind of what we do and show you what actually matters based on real research.
Luckily we have a PhD at our disposal to educate our staff and members so everyone is getting the most up to date information out there.
Social Media Advertising
Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to board game business.
There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.
Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:
- Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
- Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
- Twitter Advertising - Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
- Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
- LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses
It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:
Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:
- Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
- Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
- Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?
From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!
Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here .
Founder Andy Hayes talks about mastering FB ads and the pixel:
The biggest bang for your buck will likely be mastering Facebook and it’s platform - which we all know is pay for play, so you’ll have to come up with a small amount of budget to start for marketing.
We’ve spent countless hours (and paid numerous coaches) before we cracked the code that works for us on Facebook, but it is working really well for us now.
Some of the most important things to know when it comes to FB Ads:
- Start with retargeting (that’s showing ads to people who already know you but did not purchase). Master this - and start building information on your Facebook Pixel - before you do anything else
- Once you have that down, try working with the 1% “Lookalike” audience to prospect for new customers. This may take awhile because your pixel audience is small, so try layering on interests - 1% Lookalike and your largest competitor, for example. Don’t use interest-only targeting until you master this.
- Great photography and videography is key, as is smart copy. Research what’s out there in your industry and constantly test - what works for one company may not work for other people.
- Make sure you have good offers. For example, we have a $5 trial for our subscription, which converts affordably - if we promoted our subscription with the standard $30 front charge, it wouldn’t be as cost-effective.
Host A Social Media Giveaway
People love free stuff and love competition. Giveaways and contests are a great way to create awareness for your brand, grow your email list, and eventually convert leads into customers.
If your goal is to gather email addresses, make sure the entry criteria is to "enter your email." You can do this by leading customers to your landing page where they can then enter their email to be in the giveaway.
One of the most important aspects of promoting a successful giveaway is having an amazing prize. The better the prize, the more engagement you'll get.
This doesn't necessarily mean choosing an iPad or an expensive/trendy watch, but instead a prize that is actually relevant to your brand/target audience.
Giveaway Example and Tips
Example from TJ Mapes, founder of RIPT Apparel
Our most recent successful giveaway was when we gave away a PS4 + the new Spiderman game. I hosted the giveaway on our site and then let our audience know about it via email/social channels.
Entrants earned different amounts of entries for entering in different ways (tongue twister!), for instance; enter via email, get 10 entries. Follow us on Facebook, get 5 entries. Subscribe on Messenger and get 25 entries .
I also built out a drip sequence in Klaviyo that contained four emails to encourage entrants to take more action, like referring friends and liking us on social.
Email #1: Thanks for entering!
Email #2: Explained how to earn bonus entries:
Email #3: About us
Email #4: Coupon for entering
This last email in the sequence just thanked them again for entering and also included a coupon to a specific (related) collection of designs with an expiration date on it to incentivize purchases.
PS4 Giveaway Results:
We ran it for 2 weeks and recorded results in a meticulous spreadsheet to analyze the data. Here are some of the highlights:
- Giveaway page pageviews - 67,355
- Total entrants - 26,137
- Conversion rate - 38.80%
- Total entrants in Klaviyo (not suppressed) - 24,515
- New emails acquired - 16,363
- Emails we already had - 7,521
- % of new emails - 66.75%
- Cost of item - $350
- Instagram visits - 10,618
- Instagram followers gained - 3,496 ( total followers lifted by 6.9% )
- Twitter followers gained - 4,194
🏃🏼♀️ How To Run Your Board Game Business
How To Retain Customers For Your Board Game Business
Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your board game business.
Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.
Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.
That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.
Here are some ways you can retain customers for your board game business:
- Responding to comments on social media
- Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
- Provide valuable content, for free
- Write a hand written thank you note
- Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers
To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here
Casey Hill, founder of Hill Gaming Company dives deep into the process of attracting and retaining customers:
To gain that following and base, from a starting point of nothing, was a learning experience and I would love to share some of what I learned.
Start by building credibility.
One of the largest barriers that new businesses need to break down is the legitimacy barrier. Is the product/service high quality? Unique? We tackled this by getting our product/service in front of as many review channels as possible and gathering as much objective feedback as we could. To me, this is a critical step to segwaying into the other steps below.
Get involved with your niche-specific communities:
Community involvement is not something that you can game, or just sign up for a Facebook group two weeks before a product launch and expect results. If you genuinely have a passion for your product area, you need to immerse yourself in those communities and share your love for that industry with other enthusiasts. We started 6 months before our launch and didn’t even mention our product for at least the first few months. After that, we would drop an occasional comment to solicit feedback or ask for opinions but treated the community with respect and tried not to be salesy. When there was fights or things turned negative, especially in relation to our product, we avoided lengthy debate. Instead we tried to be kind and brief and turn the conversation elsewhere. Even if we were in the right, people get spooked by brands that they have negative associations with.
Build a story/narrative around your brand:
We wanted people to get excited and energized by our brand. So we started by creating compelling content that had people coming back for more and anticipating news from our company. A huge step for a new brand is producing relevant and interesting content that speaks to their base. For my business, I stumbled upon a big breakthrough when it came to boosting posts and storytelling. Initially, when I wanted to build a larger following on my FB page, I would use the “Promote my Page”, give a short pitch on why Arkon was unique/great, and then paid anywhere from 60 cents to a dollar per page follow/like. These leads were almost always inactive. Recently, I switched to posting narrative pieces around the lore of my game, just a beautiful picture of a creature or character and then the narrative storyline. These new posts would get hundreds of likes for 1 or 2 cents per engagement, and I could then invite those people to like my page (which they would at usually ~20% conversion).
Build your brand by networking with other players in your space:
One element that really helped our brand develop ways to put together a blog, where we did written interviews with some of the biggest players in the game space. Now, to start off, we weren’t able to connect with very many prominent designers, but we built it over time and we didn’t go public with the blog until we had a line-up of notable names. What’s great about written interviews is it's a substantially lower time and effort commitment than video interviews and you can send that template to dozens of potential good fits. To improve our chances of a response, we tried to engage with and comment on these influencers social media channels. This was not only to get a response but also because these people are thought leaders in the space! Their insights will very likely help you in your business so it’s a win-win. Then, as we built relationships, we found that one of the smaller designers we met knows one of the bigger designers and then connections were made to get a big feature.
Post content relative to your community that isn’t just based on your product/service:
We tried to make our forums, groups and social media handles the go to place for our customers. To make this happen, we tried to think about what type of content our consumers wanted to read about and then made sure they got that, whether it is an original post from us or a re-share or retweet from another relevant article. Plus, this helped to foster good relationships with other people in our space.
Diversify Your Product Line
Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.
It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.
Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product
- Meeting the needs of your customers
- Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
- Resistance to downturns/trends fading
- Create new revenue streams
Provide Great Customer Service
Providing exceptional care and creating relationships with clients is a great way to build your reputation and retain customers.
Whether you are an online business or a physical business, it's highly important to communicate with customers and make them feel like they are the priority.
Just remember: customer service represents your brand, values, vision and YOU as a person.
As a brand, you want to deliver an experience that authentic, honest and transparent.
Don't make the mistake of giving your audience less credit than they deserve.
If you go around chasing every trend and only focused on yourself and money, you’re going to lose very quickly.
There have been many times where we have been tempted to do this but stayed true.
Sure we sacrificed sales, but we kept our integrity, played the long game and people saw and appreciated that, and really began emotionally investing in the brand.
Build a Referral Program
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business and acquire new customers. Especially when you are starting out, it’s important to build a solid referral program to encourage existing customers to help you find new ones.
A great way to do that is by offering a reward (ie. credit on your service or cash) to customers that refer you to their friends and family.
A fantastic referral program will help with clout, credibility, and establishing yourself in the space.
Word of Mouth
The most tried and true way to grow a board game business is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.
Why you should focus on word of mouth:
- Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
- 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
- 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing
Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜
We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your board game business.
- Platform tools such as Shopify , WooCommerce , eBay , Digital Ocean or Node.js
- Email tools such as MailChimp , ActiveCampaign or Whatsapp
- Social media tools such as Facebook , Instagram , Twitter , YouTube , Pinterest , LinkedIn , Buffer or Reddit
- Advertising tools such as Facebook Ads , Instagram Ads , Google Adwords , Twitter Ads , Google ads or Pinterest Ads
- Design tools such as Canva or Adobe Suite
- Shipping tools such as ShipStation or DHL
- Analytics tools such as Google Analytics
- Productivity tools such as Google Suite or Microsoft Office 365
- Payments tools such as Paypal or Stripe
- Blog tools such as WordPress
- Freelance tools such as Fiverr or Upwork
- Education tools such as Udemy
- Accounting tools such as Google Sheets
- Crowdfunding tools such as Kickstarter
- Reviews tools such as Yelp or Google My Business
- Seo tools such as Yoast or Moz
- Crm tools such as Ontraport
- Sales tools such as Zotabox
- Financing tools such as MoneyBird
- Stock images tools such as Istockphoto
- Landing page software tools such as Elementor
- The Board Game Designer's Guide: The Easy 4 Step Process To Create Amazing Games That People Can't Stop Playing
The Game Inventor's Guidebook: How To Invent And Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything In Between!: Brian Tinsman
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
- Board Game Company Business Name Generator - How To Start
- How To Start A Board Game Company
- Board Game Business Podcast - Reasons To Not Enter The Board Game Industry
- Pros And Cons Of Board Game Cafes!
- How I Built A Successful Business Out Of My Passion For Board Games
- On Launching An Online Store While Recovering From An Illness At Home
- How We Designed And Created A Strategy Card Game
- How I Bought A $1.5K/Month Side-Business That Sells Custom Bingo Creations
- How I Started A $10K/Month Podcast And Community For Board Game Creators
- Top 100 Board Game Suppliers and Distributers In The US [2023 Edition] 1 of 12
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- Board Game Price Calculator: How To Price Your Board Games? 12 of 12
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How To Write a Business Plan for Board Games Club Business in 9 Steps: Checklist
Resources on board games club.
- Financial Model
- Business Plan
- Value Proposition
- One-Page Business Plan
Are you passionate about board games and dream of sharing that passion with others? Starting a board games club business might be the perfect venture for you. With the rising popularity of board games in recent years, the industry is experiencing steady growth. In fact, according to the latest statistics, the global board games market is expected to reach a value of $12 billion by 2025. Now is a great time to capitalize on this growing trend and provide a fun and educational experience for board game enthusiasts.
Define the target audience
Before diving into the details of your business plan, it's important to clearly identify your target audience. Determine the age group, interests, and preferences of the individuals you aim to attract to your board game clubs. This will help you tailor your offerings to meet their needs and ensure a successful customer base.
Conduct market research
Market research is a crucial step in understanding the current demand for board game clubs in your area. Analyze the local demographics, competition, and potential market size. This will help you assess the viability of your business idea and make informed decisions throughout the planning process.
Take a look at existing board game clubs and similar establishments in your area. Identify their strengths, weaknesses, and unique selling propositions. This will enable you to differentiate your business and offer something that sets you apart from the competition.
Determine the location
The location of your board game club can greatly impact its success. Look for a space that is easily accessible, with sufficient parking and amenities. Consider the size of the venue and ensure it can accommodate your target audience comfortably.
Establish the business structure
Decide on the most suitable business structure for your board game club, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company. This will depend on factors such as liability, tax implications, and future growth plans. Consult with a legal professional to determine the best option for you.
Create a financial plan
A well-thought-out financial plan is crucial for the success of your board game club business. Estimate your startup costs, projected revenue, and ongoing expenses. Consider factors such as game acquisition, rent, utilities, and marketing. This will help you determine pricing, membership packages, and potential investment opportunities.
Develop a marketing strategy
Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience and competition, develop a comprehensive marketing strategy. Utilize both online and offline channels to promote your board game clubs. Consider hosting launch events, partnering with local businesses, and leveraging social media to create buzz and attract customers.
Determine supplier partnerships
Establishing strong supplier partnerships is essential to ensure a consistent and varied collection of board games for your club. Research game distributors and manufacturers, negotiate favorable deals, and consider offering exclusive titles or limited edition releases to enhance the appeal of your club.
Build a team of employees
As your board game club business grows, you may need to hire employees to assist with operations. Recruit individuals who are knowledgeable about board games and passionate about creating an enjoyable experience for customers. Consider their expertise, customer service skills, and ability to facilitate instructional programs.
In conclusion, starting a board game club business can be an exciting and rewarding venture. By following these nine steps and putting together a well-thought-out business plan, you can create a space where people can come together to play, learn, and connect over their love of board games.
Define The Target Audience
Defining the target audience is a crucial step in creating a successful business plan for your board games club. Understanding who your potential customers are will help you tailor your offerings to their specific needs and preferences.
When defining your target audience, consider factors such as age, interests, and preferences. Are you targeting families with young children, college students, or professionals looking for a fun and relaxing activity? Understanding the demographics and psychographics of your audience will enable you to curate a board game collection and create an environment that appeals to them.
- Research local demographics to gain insights into the age distribution and interests of your target audience.
- Consider conducting surveys or focus groups to gather feedback on the types of board games and experiences your potential customers would be most interested in.
- Identify any niche markets or underserved communities that may have a particular interest in board games, such as seniors or individuals with specific hobbies or interests.
Defining your target audience will also help you in developing your marketing strategy. Knowing who you are trying to reach will allow you to craft compelling messages and choose appropriate channels to reach them effectively.
Remember, your board games club business should aim to provide an enjoyable and educational experience, so understanding your target audience is crucial in delivering on this promise.
Conduct Market Research
Conducting thorough market research is an essential step in developing a successful board games club business. Market research allows you to gather valuable insights about your target audience, competition, and industry trends. Here are some important aspects to consider when conducting market research:
- Identify your target audience: Begin by defining the specific demographics and interests of the individuals you aim to attract to your board games club. This will help you tailor your offerings and marketing strategies to meet their needs and preferences.
- Analyze the demand: Determine the level of demand for board game clubs in your area. Research local gaming communities, clubs, and social groups to gauge the interest in board games and the potential market size.
- Assess the competition: Identify existing board game clubs or gaming venues in your area. Analyze their offerings, pricing, and customer reviews to gain insights into their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you differentiate your business and develop strategies to appeal to your target audience.
- Stay updated on industry trends: It's crucial to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the board games industry. Keep an eye on new game releases, popular gaming conventions, and emerging gaming trends to ensure your club stays relevant and offers a unique experience.
Tips for conducting effective market research:
- Utilize online resources: Make use of online platforms, such as social media groups and forums, to gather insights directly from potential customers. Engage with these communities to understand their preferences and pain points.
- Survey potential customers: Develop and distribute surveys to collect valuable data on customer preferences and expectations. This will help you fine-tune your offerings and ensure they align with the desires of your target audience.
- Stay connected with industry experts: Attend gaming conferences, conventions, or trade shows to network with industry professionals and gain insights into the latest trends and market demands.
Identifying your competitors is a crucial step in planning your board games club business. It helps you understand the market landscape and identify potential challenges and opportunities.
Start by researching existing board game clubs in your area. Look for clubs that have a similar target audience or offer similar services. Visit their websites, social media pages, and physical locations to gather information about their offerings, pricing, and customer experience.
Tip 1: Make a list or spreadsheet of the key competitors, their strengths, and weaknesses. This will give you a clearer picture of the competition and guide your business strategy.
Additionally, consider exploring online platforms and communities dedicated to board games. Look for online clubs or forums where gamers gather to play and discuss board games. These communities can provide insights into the preferences and interests of your target audience and help you identify potential indirect competitors.
Tip 2: Engage with the online communities by participating in discussions and asking questions. This will not only help you gather valuable information but also build relationships with potential customers and establish your brand presence.
Once you have identified your direct and indirect competitors, analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Identify gaps in their offerings or areas where your board games club business can differentiate itself. This analysis will help you understand how to position your business in the market and attract customers.
Tip 3: Consider offering unique services or experiences that your competitors do not provide. This could include exclusive events or partnerships with local board game designers or publishers.
Remember that competition is healthy for the market, and learning from your competitors can help you improve your own business strategy. By identifying and understanding your competitors, you can position your board games club business for success and carve out a unique space in the market.
Determine The Location
Choosing the right location for your board games club business is crucial for its success. Consider the following factors when determining the best location:
- Accessibility: Look for a location that is easily accessible for your target audience. It should be located in a convenient and central area, preferably with good transport links.
- Space: Evaluate the space requirements for your board games club. Consider factors such as the number of tables, chairs, and shelves needed to accommodate your customers. Ensure that the location has enough space to comfortably accommodate your club members.
- Ambience: Create a welcoming and comfortable environment for players to enjoy their board games. Consider factors such as lighting, decor, and noise level to provide a pleasant experience.
- Amenities: Look for a location that offers amenities such as restrooms, parking facilities, and a kitchen area if you plan to serve refreshments. These amenities will enhance the overall experience for your customers.
- Cost: Consider the cost implications of renting or leasing a location. Compare different options and negotiate favorable terms. Balance the cost with the potential revenue and foot traffic the location can generate.
Tips for choosing the right location:
- Research the demographics of the area to ensure that there is demand for a board games club.
- Visit potential locations during different times of the day to assess the level of foot traffic and noise.
- Consider the competition in the area. Choose a location that is not saturated with similar businesses.
- Engage with the local community and seek their feedback on the need for a board games club in the area.
- Consider collaborating with existing businesses, such as cafes or restaurants, to potentially share space or establish a partnership.
By carefully considering these factors and taking into account the preferences and requirements of your target audience, you can select a location that is ideal for your board games club business.
Establish The Business Structure
The structure of your business is an important aspect to consider when starting a board games club. It determines how your business will be legally organized and operated. Here are some important steps to establish the business structure:
- Choose the right legal structure: Decide whether you want to start a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Consider consulting with a lawyer or business advisor to determine the best option for your board games club.
- Register your business: Once you have chosen the legal structure, you will need to register your business with the appropriate government authorities. This may include obtaining a business license, tax identification number, and any other required permits or certifications.
- Select a business name: Choose a name that reflects the nature of your board games club. Make sure to check for trademark availability and register the name with the appropriate authorities, if necessary.
- Define ownership and responsibilities: If you have partners, clearly define the ownership percentage and each partner's responsibilities within the business. This will help ensure a smooth operation and prevent any conflicts in the future.
- Create necessary legal documents: Prepare a partnership agreement or operating agreement, depending on your business structure. These documents outline the rules, responsibilities, and rights of each owner or partner, and can help protect your business and its assets.
- Consider consulting with an attorney or business advisor who specializes in small businesses to ensure you have taken all necessary legal steps.
- Research any specific regulations or licensing requirements for operating a board games club in your area. This may vary depending on your location.
- When selecting a business name, make sure it is memorable, reflects your brand, and is not already in use by another business in the same industry.
By establishing the right business structure, you lay the foundation for a successful board games club. Taking the necessary legal steps and properly defining ownership and responsibilities will help protect your business and set it up for growth and longevity.
Create A Financial Plan
Creating a solid financial plan is essential for the success of your board games club business. It will help you determine your startup costs, projected revenue, and potential profitability. Here are some important steps to follow:
- Estimate your startup costs: Calculate the expenses you'll incur before launching your board games club, such as renting a venue, purchasing board games, furniture, and other necessary equipment. Consider any licensing or permit fees as well.
- Projected revenue: Research and estimate the potential revenue from your board games club business. Consider factors such as the number of customers you expect to attract, membership fees, and income from additional services like instructional programs or merchandise sales.
- Operating expenses: Identify the ongoing costs associated with running your board games club, such as rent, utilities, employee wages, marketing expenses, and maintenance.
- Break-even point: Determine the number of customers or membership sales you need to reach in order to cover your operating expenses and start making a profit. This will help you set realistic goals and gauge the performance of your business.
- Financial projections: Create a projection of your club's financial performance for at least the first year, including revenue, expenses, and profit. This will help you make informed decisions and adjust your strategies if needed.
- Obtain funding: Depending on your resources, you may need to secure funding for your board games club. Explore options such as personal savings, loans, or seeking investors.
- Emergency fund: It's important to set aside a portion of your revenue for unexpected expenses or emergencies. Aim to maintain a reserve to keep your club running smoothly.
Tips for Creating a Financial Plan:
- Consult with a financial advisor or accountant to ensure accuracy and adherence to financial regulations.
- Consider creating different financial scenarios to assess the potential impact of varying factors like changes in membership fees or unexpected expenses.
- Regularly review and update your financial plan to reflect changes in your business and market conditions.
- Ensure your pricing structure is competitive and attractive to your target audience while still covering your costs and generating a profit.
Develop A Marketing Strategy
Once you have defined your target audience, conducted market research, identified competitors, determined the location, established the business structure, and created a financial plan, it's time to focus on developing a strong marketing strategy for your board games club business.
A well-executed marketing strategy can help you attract and retain customers, increase brand awareness, and differentiate yourself from competitors. Here are some important steps to consider:
- Identify your unique selling proposition (USP): Determine what sets your board games club apart from others in the market. Is it the selection of games, the comfortable environment, or the instructional programs? Clearly define and communicate your USP to attract your target audience.
- Create a strong online presence: Develop a professional website for your board games club business and optimize it for search engines. Utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to engage with your target audience, share updates on upcoming events, and showcase the fun and educational experiences your club offers.
- Implement referral and loyalty programs: Encourage your current customers to refer their friends and family to your board games club by offering incentives such as discounts or free game nights. Additionally, establish a loyalty program that rewards frequent visitors or members with exclusive benefits and discounts.
- Collaborate with local businesses: Partner with local businesses such as cafes, restaurants, or bookstores to cross-promote each other's offerings. Offer special packages or discounts that include a meal or a book along with a board game night at your club.
- Host promotional events: Organize special events or themed game nights to generate excitement and attract new customers. Consider partnering with game designers or distributors to offer exclusive previews or demonstrations of new board games.
- Utilize targeted advertising: Identify platforms where your target audience is likely to be present and invest in targeted online advertisements or print media. This could include gaming forums, local community websites, or magazines focused on board games and hobbies.
- Consider offering a free trial or discounted first visit to encourage potential customers to experience your board games club firsthand.
- Collect customer feedback and testimonials to build credibility and word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Monitor and analyze the effectiveness of your marketing efforts regularly to make adjustments and optimize your strategy.
- Stay active in relevant online communities and forums to engage with board game enthusiasts and potential customers.
Determine Supplier Partnerships
When starting a board games club business, it is crucial to establish strong partnerships with suppliers who can provide you with the board games and accessories needed for your club. Here are a few important considerations:
- Research reliable suppliers: Look for suppliers who have a wide range of board games catering to different age groups and interests. Read reviews, compare prices, and assess their reputation before making a decision. It is essential to collaborate with suppliers who can consistently provide high-quality products.
- Ensure competitive pricing: Negotiate with suppliers to get the best possible prices for board games and accessories. Consider purchasing in bulk to secure discounts and cost-saving advantages. Maintaining competitive pricing will not only benefit your business financially but also attract more customers.
- Stock up on popular games: Analyze market trends and identify the most popular board games among your target audience. Build strong relationships with suppliers who can guarantee a steady supply of these games. This will help you meet customer demand and ensure your club remains appealing and relevant.
- Consider a diverse selection: While popular board games are essential, it's also important to offer a variety of options to cater to different interests and preferences. Partner with suppliers who can provide a diverse range of board games, including classic, strategy, party, and cooperative games. This will attract a larger customer base and encourage enthusiasts of different genres to join your club.
Tips for Establishing Strong Supplier Partnerships:
- Establish clear communication channels with your suppliers to ensure a smooth ordering process and timely deliveries.
- Regularly review your supplier agreements and explore new partnerships to stay up-to-date with the latest board games and industry trends.
- Consider joining industry associations or attending trade shows to network with potential suppliers and discover new products.
By determining strong supplier partnerships for your board games club business, you can ensure a steady supply of high-quality games and accessories that will enhance the experience for your club members. This will contribute to the success and reputation of your business in the long run.
Build A Team Of Employees
Building a strong team of employees is crucial for the success of your board games club business. Your team members will play a vital role in creating a welcoming and enjoyable environment for your customers. Here are some important steps to follow when building your team:
1. Define Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member. This will help you determine the necessary skills and qualifications when hiring.
- Identify key positions such as club manager, game instructors, event coordinators, and customer service representatives.
- Consider their expertise in board games, customer service skills, and ability to provide a fun and engaging experience for club members.
2. Recruit Passionate Individuals: Look for individuals who are passionate about board games and enjoy interacting with others. Passionate employees will not only add value to your club but also create a positive atmosphere.
- Advertise job openings on platforms frequented by board game enthusiasts such as online gaming forums or social media groups.
- Consider hosting a board game night or event to attract potential employees and gauge their interest and skills.
3. Conduct Thorough Interviews: When interviewing potential candidates, thoroughly assess their skills, experience, and fit with your company culture. Consider asking scenario-based questions to evaluate their problem-solving abilities.
4. Provide Proper Training: Once you have selected your team members, provide thorough training to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to effectively perform their roles.
- Train employees on the rules and strategies of different board games to better assist club members.
- Focus on customer service training to ensure employees provide a friendly and helpful experience.
- Encourage ongoing learning by organizing regular training sessions or inviting industry experts to conduct workshops.
5. Foster a Positive Work Culture: Create a positive work environment that promotes teamwork, respect, and open communication. Encourage collaboration among employees to enhance the overall customer experience.
6. Provide Incentives and Recognition: Recognize and reward employees who exceed expectations or bring innovative ideas to the table. This will motivate them to continue delivering exceptional service.
- Consider implementing an employee incentive program, such as monthly performance bonuses or employee of the month awards.
- Offer opportunities for professional growth, such as attending industry conferences or workshops.
7. Regularly Evaluate Performance: Regularly assess your team members' performance and provide constructive feedback. Address any issues or areas for improvement promptly to maintain a high level of service.
8. Foster Team Bonding: Organize team-building activities or outings to strengthen employee relationships and enhance teamwork.
9. Maintain a Pool of Potential Employees: As your business grows, it may be necessary to hire additional staff members. Continuously network and keep in touch with potential candidates who could be a good fit for your board games club in the future.
By carefully selecting and nurturing your team, you will not only ensure the smooth operation of your board games club business but also create an atmosphere that keeps customers coming back for more.
In conclusion, starting a board games club business requires careful planning and execution. By following the nine steps outlined in this checklist, you can increase your chances of success in this exciting venture. Remember to define your target audience, conduct market research, identify competitors, determine the location, establish the business structure, create a financial plan, develop a marketing strategy, determine supplier partnerships, and build a team of employees.
A thorough understanding of your target audience and the competitive landscape will help you tailor your offerings to meet the needs and preferences of your customers. Choosing the right location and creating a comfortable environment are crucial for creating an enjoyable experience for your club members.
Developing a solid financial plan and considering cost-saving membership packages will assist in managing your finances effectively and attracting more customers. A well-executed marketing strategy will help spread the word about your board games club business and attract a wider audience.
Additionally, establishing strong supplier partnerships and building a reliable team of employees will contribute to the smooth running of your business operations. Remember, the ultimate goal is to provide an enjoyable and educational experience for people to discover the joy of playing board games with friends and family.
In short, by following these steps and implementing them effectively, your board games club business can thrive and become a go-to destination for board game enthusiasts in your area.
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The 5-Minute Business Plan (and a Confession About Ours)
23 January 2020 | 18 Comments
Way back in 2011, I sat down at my desk with a vision that had been forming over the last few months: I wanted to design a game and try to launch it on Kickstarter.
This is the point when many entrepreneurs compose their business plan. But I’m glad I didn’t, because I had no idea that a company would emerge from the Viticulture Kickstarter. I didn’t know that I would have a co-founder, and I wasn’t aware of our company values, principles, or purpose.
Basically, anything I would have written down would have been 99% irrelevant one year later.
I haven’t thought about business plans for years. The closest we have to one is our mission statement , which I think I originally composed in 2012 and have annually edited it ever since. I’ve also discussed future plans and projections with potential investors, but they’re grounded in a wealth of data about what Stonemaier Games already is.
But recently, several people have asked me for advice about business plans, so I wanted to share my story and thoughts here. I’ll start with my primary advice, followed by several other options to consider:
Don’t spend time making a detailed business plan before actually running your business, as you won’t know what your business is until then.
In other words, rather than spending a lot of time making grandiose plans about a hypothetical idea , make/do/start something. I talk about how Zappos did this here . There just is such a high chance they’ll change after you make/do/start your business.
You also might consider asking yourself: “Why haven’t I already started making/doing/starting this?” Perhaps this is more of a fleeting passion than a sustainable one?
I didn’t create any business plan for Stonemaier Games, but I understand why you might want to compose something. Perhaps it’ll help you focus or impact your decision; maybe you’re crafting a pitch to investors.
So here’s my recommendation: Copy and paste the following questions into a Word document (to make it very easy to edit later), set a timer for 5 minutes (spend your time making, not planning ), and type at most 1-2 sentences per answer.
- What’s my idea? (i.e., what am I selling?)
- Why am I excited about this idea?
- Who will care about this (and why)?
- What’s my dream goal for this idea?
- How will I get my first sale?
- What’s my next step?
When you’re done, print it out and leave it by your desk so you can easily make notes on it in the coming weeks and months. When you accomplish the next step, open up the Word document to revise any answers that have changed and evolved (including creating a new next step).
Your “next step” can mean a number of different things. Sometimes it’s research ; sometimes it’s execution. It will vary over time, and at some point it will involve creating a budget. But not right at the beginning.
This is purely my perspective; I’d love to hear yours. Did you write a business plan? What method worked (or didn’t work) for you?
If you gain value from the 100 articles Jamey publishes on his blog each year, please consider championing this content !
18 Comments on “ The 5-Minute Business Plan (and a Confession About Ours) ”
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I have two thoughts on this one. As the sole proprietor of Professor’s Lab, I too saw no need for an extensive business plan or Operating Agreement as there’s no one with whom I’m making the agreement,,,,or moreover, holding accountable. I’ve been at it now for going on nine years and have worked closely with more than two dozen designers and publishers.
Flash forward to late 2020, and Ping (my girlfriend) and another couple, are planning to open a coffee shop this year. Now, things are different..first, there are four of us in the mix. Second, we have tens of thousands of dollars invested in the company. Third, we want to see this business grow and having a solid foundation helps us with that.
In short, for a sole proprietorship, a business plan is probably a waste of time. However, as soon as you add more people and a greater investment, definitely perform your due diligence and craft a business plan (or Operating Agreement).
I think project manager is the profession of the future. It’s the only thing I can think of that incorporates almost all parts of the brain. Maybe aside from a product manager, which kinda means the same thing generally. It requires managerial skills, interpersonal skills, negotiation, leadership, creativity, problem solving, analytical thinking, number crunching and a deep understanding in marketing, development and business.
If you’ve been following Martin from Wintergatan’s youtube channel, he tackles with this same problem in episode #57. Martin is a Swedish musician trying to build the world’s first engineered musical marble machine. Well, maybe not the first but definitely the most complicated to date. And somewhere along the line, he discovers that what he really lacks isn’t welding, woodworking, CAD designing or musical skills, but a project manager to help him tame the beast of a project that he has undertaken. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVyEsMiwvVc
For me, the aspect of being able to do so much within such a contained space is a blessing, and that’s why I love this blog post! Seeing the role of a crowd-funder as a project manager helps me feel at ease with my inner generalist, that doesn’t want to conform to liming myself to just one thing or skill.
I really appreciate this advice. I tend to be very business minded and want to put the cart before the horse. I want to jump the gun and get all the business stuff set up, draft the articles for an LLC and just run run run before I even have a product to really sell. Slowing down and making sure you have the passion for the product and that it is shared before jumping the gun is a huge time and money saver.
I love the questions Jamie. I agree business plans are difficult to nail down and can be dynamic at first. However, like in most long term commitments, a strategy is required to avoid costly course corrections, which all experienced business owners have experienced. This is one of the things I like most about your games and others like them. You have to develop a basic strategy and adapt as things develop, but still stick with your initial course.
I think the initial business plan is also about the journey. Having to develop something exposes you to some of the concepts and ideas you may never had considered. I own and operate a successful multi-million dollar small business in another industry and have for the last two years planned on entering the this industry as my next evolution. One important thing to note is there is a vast difference between being a creative person who enjoys and perhaps can even design games, loves the hobby, etc. and a person who is smart at running a business. Having read many of your posts and witnessing your success, I’m confident you know what I mean.
I’ve known many small business owners who don’t realize the amount of time and effort working on “the business“ rather than what the product or service the business provides. For example, you may be a fantastic engineer or doctor, but this does not equate to being able to understand the implications to changes in your quarterly financials (P&L, BS, etc.) or cash flow (small business killer) and what you need to do to avoid common pitfalls (cash flow is king here). Having this knowledge, or recognizing you don’t have it and hiring it, is all the more important before you bring on your first employee. Now people are relying on you. If you aren’t interested in working hard outside your comfort zone and relying on others, it will be challenging to be successful without a plan.
I don’t mean to sound discouraging to anyone considering this path. Running a successful business can be one of the most satisfying things I can imagine. I love intricate problems and there are plenty of those. I’ve just noticed a surge lately in failed small businesses around me and people just need to walk in eye wide open.
If you’re running a one man show and have another source of income that allows you some free time… go for it. I’ve learned more from my failures than successes.
Its so easy to plan but so hard to execute those plans (says the 7 year business owner about to sell his company). I think the question of “How will you make your first sale” is the most important one of all! Without that, the philosophy and excitement of your business idea is merely good feelings. It all goes back to your prior posts which paraphrased say “Just do something, anything tangible to get started on your game design (or business). Take it out of the idea realm into the physical one. That one action can completely change your thoughts about the idea.” Sage advice for any entrepreneur, good sir.
As a retired mathematician I am more interested in propagating math knowledge than making money from games, but I had an idea that required complex calculations to generate players’ parameters after their moves, which are then displayed on a game board as location, speed and direction). Are there business models that include a dedicated calculator as part of a board game?
Peter: There are board games that require apps to perform key calculations and functions that would be arduous to replicate without the app, yes.
A key element of your non-plan plan is that it was cheap to start. You did’t mortgage your house, quit your day job, move to China, and take millions of dollars from investors.
I absolutely agree with this perspective. There are so many things that are okay or even good to have but not central the success of what you’re doing that people choose to spend hours over rather than working on the matter at hand. Its often little more than procrastination. A business plan is good to have, but not if it puts off the actual making and doing of the business by more than a few minutes. I personally have similar feelings about people who put off the launch of a perfectly good and complete game on Kickstarter for sometimes years so that they can perfect their social media campaign or mailing list, in the end more launched campaigns without them fund than unlaunched ones with.
This is honestly very encouraging to hear, thanks for posting this!
Good Stuff Jamey! I couldn’t agree more. I have always been a person of this mentality, I go for it, build it, test it, then look back and clean up…. :) Not always the best choice but that’s just how I roll and what is my norm. Another book to check out is (Ready Fire Aim) the title alone makes sense. I am at the point now where I need to build a audience of some kind to launch to, in order to have any kind of success with Kickstarter. Well, at least I think thats what I need. We have built an amazing game which is truly a lot of fun, but bringing in backers to blow this thing up is where I am a little lost.. Don’t want to mess up my chances without the correct plan. This is Chunk from FB aka Country M. in real life! – Peddler
Thanks for the book recommendation!
I’m a huge proponent of this, and it is just as true for marketing plans. You need to remain open to change as you try things out. Eventually, you find that one or two things that really catch on and give you a meaningful jump when focused upon.
Even in an established board game business, it’s important to remain open to change… like using Kickstarter to raise a few million dollars, and then swapping to a distribution model to raise 20 million more :)
That’s one of the benefits a company has when starting as a start up. Doesn’t need to hassle with business plans or board meetings taking their own time, we can just do things.
I do however value re-evaluation and planning within reasonable time frames but without letting it get in the way of execution.
This has been my mantra recently, so it’s incredibly empowering to see someone with your experience say this Jamey. I have a tendency to overplan things, which always leads to getting bogged down and paralyzed by the details. I’ve recently been reading Start by Jon Acuff, which has really drawn into sharper focus what I’ve been doing to myself and how I just need to forge ahead with a guiding focus, but not everything in stone.
Since then, I registered for Protospiel MN and made a to do list to help guide creating my first prototype, all culminating in getting my blog site up and running last night. Instead of fixating on details with all of these things, I just made it, knowing full well I can change any of it. And boy, it feels really good to finally be progressing instead of thinking (and overthinking) about it.
To the questions you created – would it make sense to include a piece in this activity about identifying where you’ll need the most help and who might be interested? Does it make sense early on to point out the areas of difficulty so you are proactive in approaching them and determining where you can get help with those pieces?
Thanks Joe! I appreciate the book recommendation.
That’s a good question about where you’ll need the most help and who might be interested. I could see that falling in the “next step” category, though it could be an added question for ongoing self-reflection too.
I think this is spot on. I would add, however, whenever possible, to infuse a strong customer focus in your questions you write out. What I mean by that is beyond why YOU are excited and why it’s YOUR dream idea, make sure you ask, “Why will other people care about this?”, “What is different about this game from what is out there?” “What are the five or ten most closely related games?” “Will customers understand why this game is fundamentally unique?”
I absolutely agree! I’m going to add a question about that.
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