Startup Academy - Feasibility & Planning
Telephone Consultation & Coaching
Once enrolled, you are connected with your business coach, with phone access as needed. Every month you and your coach spend time in consultation to keep your project plan moving forward.
Working with Course Materials Online
The Academy Members' Portal contains materials and resources to enhance each of the 8 modules.
Completing the Plan
Combined, the consultation, coaching and course materials online and your downloaded plan package, are designed to make the actual 'work' process much easier.
Startup Academy- For Who?
Startup Academy is for new amusement developers and business entrepreneurs who are looking to start a laser tag business, an indoor party center, a smaller (under 15,000 sqft) multi-attraction family fun center, or children's entertainment center.
Startup Academy is best suited to those new developers looking to start any one of the following - or mix thereof:
- Children's Party Center
- Indoor Playground
- Children's Edutainment Center
- Inflatable Bounce Center
- Laser Tag Center
- Multi-attraction fun centers (excluding bowling center)
As part of the above, attractions might include; arcade games, laser tag, VR Gaming, mini-bowling, climbing walls, ball shooters, blacklight mini-golf and other interactive games, as well as food service, parties, etc.
The program is not best suited for developers looking to do indoor/outdoor attractions, go-karts, bowling centers, large scale arcade centers like Dave and Busters, or other attractions such fairs and carnivals.
Startup Academy - How the Program Works
The course is offered here, online and through 3 hours of specific telephone consultation based on your project goals. You use the included materials along with the consultation and academy resources to complete your plan, working at your own pace. Go as fast as you want, or just when you have the time. We combine the telephone consultation with the course materials to give you specific steps to complete your plan.
The program is very flexible and organic and designed to fit the new developers personal schedule and your new business timeline. It includes all of the materials mentioned above, the research and development needs for amusement industry data, trends, latest technology, construction, design and facility management. We have packaged all of the FEC Network business planning materials, guidebooks and manuals into a simple step-by-step program to offer the best support that allows you to maximize your business plan budget and free time.
After purchasing the program, materials are downloaded direct to your desktop so you can get to work right away. You also receive a login password to access the full Academy program and other materials online and through our Academy Vimeo Channel. After you have had a chance to review the included materials;
* 30 page template business plan
- includes both written document and financial statements
* 9 pdf guidebooks (119 pages total)
* Full business forms and manuals (114 pages total)
Your business coach sets up an initial telephone consultation to further review the above materials, including your project idea, your local market feasibility and the industry. Please set aside up to one hour for this call. This is our initial consultation and offers you a chance to ask any questions, and for you and your coach to get on the same page regarding your business goals, the market opportunity, and the path forward that best fits your project schedule.
Startup Academy - Getting Over the 'Hump'
Our experience has clearly demonstrated, that for new amusement business developers, it's the first few steps to getting started that are the most difficult.
"We often get asked if there is a simple to-do list that covers everything you need to get started..."
Once those steps are behind you, the process is quite simple. We will not say easy, it does take an entrepreneurs sense of persistence and commitment, but if you have that - we have the to do list, the materials and the guidance to help you complete your plan in the quickest, easiest way possible.
Business planning is a very organic process. You often need many different bits of research, local planning support, commercial realtor assistance and other reference or materials from different sources. Understanding and finding what you need at the right time within the planning process is the challenge.
Startup Academy addresses this with our initial telephone consultation.
To get over the hump of getting started, the first step in the process is an open conversation of your plan, and the opportunity.
From this initial conversation we provide you with specific how-to-steps that enable you start working on the right pieces of the plan in the right order to maximize your time and efforts.
No more wondering what to do, or where to find it. Startup Academy provides the answers needed, and the materials and resources you can use to put your completed fun center business plan together quickly.
Startup Academy - Topics Covered
Telephone consultations are directly related to the topics below. Depending on where you are at in the process, and what's important to your project, our time is spent discussing each in detail.
Unique to the academy program, an experienced fun center coach to help keep you focused, motivated and working towards getting the business plan completed professionally and painlessly, while helping to prepare you for the daily operations of your new fun center business.
* Telephone consultations are typically 2-3 sixty minute calls for each of the following consultation groups.
Academy Telephone Consultation
Group One Consultation - Getting Started
Lets get started! In this initial call we want to know about you, your market and your project goals. We then want to further flush out the opportunity with other questions, discussions and analysis of your market.
1. Initial analysis and review of your ideas and fun center concept.
2. Discussions regarding your plans and what is involved in starting a family entertainment center.
3. How much of a local opportunity is there?
4. Does your fun center concept mesh with your community opportunity and business goals?
5. How many customers are there within a reasonable drive-time that can and will come to your facility?
6. What is a reasonable drive time?
7. What is the revenue potential from these customers?
8. The business model - which market segment will maximize your investment?
9. Amusement industry averages, visits and traffic projections based on your demographics.
10. Natural and psychological barriers that will prohibit guests from attending your facility.
11. What size of facility best suits your demographic opportunity and business model?
From this first call, you will be able to use the included template business plan to start laying out the sections of your own project.
Group Two Consultation - Location, Design, Planning & Attractions
The next part of the consultation focuses on your attraction mix, your location and creating the right experience.
1. Full review of your activity selection and discussions on which activities are most appropriate and profitable for your target market segment.
2. What costs are associated with these activities - are there alternate choices?
3. Which activities are a must-have for your demographic?
4. What are the pros and cons - labor, space requirements, maintenance issues?
5. Lease options, revenue splits and financing.
6. Facility overview : better to buy or lease your family entertainment center space?
7. How much space will be require and what can you afford?
8. Discussions regarding local space opportunities.
9. When and how to secure a professional lease agent.
10. Looking at your attraction mix and facility layout.
11. Space planning concepts to both maximize and minimize your labor costs.
12. Facility layout and "flow" to facilitate great guest experiences.
13. Ideas to maximize guest comfort.
14. Creating playful learning environments.
15. Catering to parents.
16. Customer service concepts and the retail experience.
17. Capital requirements and funding options.
18. Insurance, liability and maintenance.
From this second call you will have a better understanding of your total project portfolio. Local demographics, location, attraction mix, layout and facility design.
Group Three Consultation - Marketing, Staffing and Creating the Experience
Now that we have considered the best attraction mix for your target market, a good sense of location, location and design and an understanding of the guest experience, we can focus on staffing, operations and marketing the business to your community.
1. Marketing opportunities before and during startup.
2. Getting the community involved through social media.
3. Group events and membership opportunities.
4. Strategic alliances with other local businesses.
5. Guerrilla marketing you and your staff should do.
6. Ideas to help you create unique party experiences.
7. The importance of consistent customer service in your fun center.
8. Tips on hiring new staff.
10. Staff training and creating first impressions.
11. Always be recruiting.
12. Empowering staff to be their best.
13. Getting your staff to perform as your marketing army.
14. Firing staff that do not align with your customer service goals.
15. Market strategy for pricing your services.
16. Daily store operations; opening and closing your business.
From this final call you will be able to pull together the previous modules and conversations into a cohesive fun center business pla
Business Plan Review
Now that your plan is complete, the final step is a full review of both the written plan and your financials along with your executive summary, and a further discussion about how best to present the plan to potential funding partners.
1. Your completed business plan is reviewed by your coach.
2. Recommendations on funding opportunities.
3. Fine tuning your executive summary for various investors.
4. Understanding your plan and how to best present it.
The Startup Academy program is designed to cover all aspects of the business, including startup, financing, design, build-out and the operations and marketing of a successful amusement business.
It is a full fun center course providing telephone consultation with follow-up course material on-line, via video modules, email and through this website. Connect with your business coach to review the next step and receive new course resources and specific how-to instruction that keeps you on track and moving your project goals forward.
Hi there, thanks for stopping by...
My name is Derek.
I started the Academy Program in 2006 after seeing a need from the many conversations we were having with new amusement entrepreneurs looking for an easier, straightforward way to get their projects started. Good folks, with good ideas in markets that have opportunity. If you find yourself in the same situation, I invite to explore the program with us. If you have any questions about the program, how it comes together or any of the above, please feel free to call my office direct any time for a no-obligation, confidential discussion about your project goals (604) 755-7942