The Ultimate Secret Of Indoor Playground Business
In a previous blog post, I discussed that the 7 items I do in my indoor playground equipment for sale playground business as I have grown and matured as a company owner.
I referenced Michael Hyatt, who, in many of his novels and programs continuously describes designing your ideal days and weeks as"the desire zone" Running within your desire zone, even as he explains it, only means you are spending the majority of your time doing what you love AND are great at.
While there are lots of tasks I cut completely and a few I delegate into better-suited team members, there are numerous duties that still lie inside my"desire zone," and that I feel are important for me to handle personally.
1) COMMUNICATE WITH BIRTHDAY CLIENTS
At Growing Vines Cafe and Play, we have chosen our exceptional private birthday parties as the main focus of our small business .
Because of this focus, I have chosen to personally plan the primary facets of each celebration we sponsor. When someone publications their event with us, they receive a comprehensive confirmation that includes my contact info and mentions that I'm personally in touch because their event draws near.
While I don't typically handle the execution of our parties, I really do act as the main touchpoint for parents and gather all their information and preferences. Ten days prior to each party, I send a personalized celebration"questionnaire" which includes all of the details we have gathered up to that point, provides additional day-of information, and inquires about last-minute details.
I answer all questions that the host may have in reaction to that email and-- after some back-and-forth communication-- I record all their event info on what we call a"celebration prep sheet" Based on customers' options, I make a listing for all our vendors (catering, party supplies, balloons, paper goods, etc.) and will ordinarily have a team member complete the shopping and arrange all the supplies so that they are grouped by party. Because we have up to 6 all-inclusive events in one weekend, this business is essential!
The party-prep sheet is an extremely detailed document that makes it possible for any of our party hosts to execute the occasion to the exact specifications of the parents, leaving no rock unturned. This has enabled me to have most weekends free nonetheless still feel confident we're providing an above-and-beyond birthday celebration experience.
After the celebration, we deliver a survey to each hosting family. If they have feedback, whether it be negative or positive, I always follow up . This closes the loop on clients' experience and makes certain they know I truly care for their child's special day. This method has resulted in a significant number of repeat bookings and consistent testimonials from past parties.
Not merely is planning these parties some thing I excel in, but additionally, I take great pleasure inside . Event planning is the way I got into the business in the first place, so I am more than happy to take on this endeavor. If I'm ever feeling overwhelmed with all the details, I know I have amazing team members that I will lean on.
2) OVERSEE HIRING AND FIRING
Speaking of our incredible team members, another job I choose to get a hand in is our hiring and firing process. While I really do leave the final decision up to our cafe supervisor, I prefer to write the project posts and descriptions and filter through resumes and software before bringing anyone in for a meeting.
Having spent several years hiring and firing my fair share of employees, it is easy for me to see red-flags on software and find"diamonds in the rough." Since we've got most of our normal operating procedures documented and optimized, I prefer to employ based on character and excitement instead of experience.
I also make sure I welcome every employee to our staff and touch base with them often to check in and collect feedback from them.
3) DREAM UP NEW INITIATIVES
Another job that lies within my present"desire zone" is navigating the overall direction of our organization and coming up with new ways to best serve our community.
Since I spend time doing these 7 items (and more!) , my time and energy are freed up to research what our ideal clients want and need and find out a way to incorporate that into our business model.
As an instance, I noticed that our birthday celebration bookings were slowing down in the summertime. When I requested a couple of clients, they said that they DID love our occasions and attention-to-detail but chosen a Summer party to be out at their residence (since most have backyards and pools). We then started offering cellular events, where we would bring food, decorations, and activities for the kids to their homes, and it was a hit!
Another illustration is our events. We are constantly adding fun new occasions that enable customers, especially working parents with limited weekday availability, to visit us out of hours and get an enhanced experience through the subject of the event, class, or activity.
If I were I doing EVERY task in my business, I wouldn't have nearly enough time to perform as much research or innovation.
4) CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS
If it comes to knowing how to innovate and the best way to offer, it starts with forging a real connection with clients.
It's because of this that I really like interacting with our clients in-person (when I can) and on social media. I choose to work celebrations, events, as well as open-play if my family's schedule allows it so I can stay active and aware of what is occurring during the day. It also gives me the chance to observe how customers are using our distance first-hand and listen to any concerns or questions they have. Even though at this age of technology you can find reviews, forms, and polls, I have found that NOTHING can replace having a face-to-face conversation with customers using your distance (and likely visits competitors too!)
It's for this reason you will also see billionaire CEOs seeing retail locations on a regular basis. Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, was renowned for seeing hundreds of stores around the nation every year, spending some time with the customers who were spending their money on his merchandise.
I really like being a family owned and operated business, and I love for my clients to know that I'm completely invested in their happiness.
While I no longer do one-on-one consulting for people hoping to open indoor playgrounds, I do spend a significant amount of time creating absolutely free articles for them on my blog and above on YouTube. In addition, I have a totally free, 44-page eBook to get play-cafe-owning hopefuls that they can download right on our website or simply by clicking here.
If someone consumes that free info and decides they still would like to move forward with their plans, I also have an online program named Play Cafe Academy in which I help entrepreneurs get from daydream to opening-day in significantly less time and less stress than they ever thought possible.
When I was researching this business model, there wasn't a great deal of info out there. Current owners actually keep all of their business secrets close to their vest, and now I don't blame them! It is hard as soon as you've worked for years and years to establish a profitable company to wish to give away those secrets for nothing. Even in the event that you charge a consulting fee, you're still kind of giving away the keys that you've worked so hard for and it is quite easy as a business owner to get a little smug and protective of your research and development.
As it came time to open my own company, I ended up making a ton of mistakes (and I mean a TON of errors ) because I simply did not know any better. When I began getting emails and calls to consult for other possible play cafe owners, I could not keep this info to myself. While it's easy for me to feel like an imposter or there are other business owners more capable than me to share this information, I know that there is a 4-years-ago me sitting somewhere waiting for another idea to leap out at them.
And frankly, I don't want to see one more business close because someone who is walked before them didn't share any information! So why not discuss it myself?!
But my time is valuable. I have two little children and run another business... I do not have 12 hours to devote hand-holding each perspective owner through the procedure. (And let me tell you, it is going to take at least 12 to 24 hours of paid one-on-one consulting to even break the surface of what you need, including documentation.)
Students may go through these modules in their own pace, and I don't need to spend the time to walk my students through the program.
This allows me to assist other entrepreneurs along their course while at the same time reserving time and energy that I want for my family and other commitments.
In general, this business model may actually be anything the owner wants it to be. I know many owners who choose to do ALL of the items inside their small business, and it works for them since we all have distinct"desire zones."
I feel very lucky that I have heard through the years what my strengths (and weaknesses!) Are and may design my"ideal" weeks so. When I was still burning the candle on both ends trying to tackle everything myself, I'd do myself, my loved ones, and my customers a major disservice.