As the economy gradually kicks into gear again, businesses everywhere can collectively breathe a sigh of relief as things gradually return to normal. As an industry, As an industry, escape room businesses have been hit hard by the stay-at-home orders with many experiencing little to no income throughout these months. However, this unexpected turn of events is not without its merits. Unforeseen as it may be, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of preparedness in the face of uncertainty, and there are some crucial lessons to be learnt or could have done better before for our escape room business so we can prepare ourselves in the future. The most important of which are outlined below:
1. Have at least 90 days of fixed operating costs.
Setting aside enough funds to see through rainy days and months should be something all businesses prepare for. At the very least, 90 days fixed operating costs should be stored away, if only for the reason of keeping staff on board and paying for overhead charges. As business owners, the biggest fear is often having to let go of staff. In this industry, where good customer service is indispensable, staff are often the most important resource. Having enough funds to cover operational costs for a certain amount of time ensures that your investment in your employees is protected. As well, rental fees and other bills should be accounted for and this will help your business survive difficult times.
2. Create multiple revenue streams without relying on just one.
Knowing that foot traffic is likely to take a severe hit during pandemic closures, focus your efforts on other revenue streams. One thing everyone can do is to sell tickets online at discounted rates ahead of time to be used in the future when normal operations resume. Some escape room operators have also experimented with bringing their escape rooms online, using live video walkthroughs to give players at home the feeling of being in the escape room itself. These steps are not a replacement for your revenue stream but can go a long way to help blunt the impact of not having any income at all. Thinking outside the box of how you can create new streams of income goes a long way in safeguarding your bottom line.
3. Start small
One lesson learnt from pandemic closures everywhere is the importance of being able to scale back operations in line with restricted movement orders. For those of you thinking to expand your escape room previously but are hesitant to do so in this climate, start small. Begin with perhaps 1 or 2 rooms and make sure there is sufficient interest and revenue before expanding. Escape rooms have the added benefit of not needing to be under the same roof, which gives your business some flexibility in terms of operations. A large rented windowless room could well serve as a perfectly adequate escape room and some operators have escape rooms dotted throughout an area or city. Expanding your business gradually this way will ensure that you are not overstretching yourself in the good times and allows you to easily scale back operations during bad times. Designing an individual room need not be difficult. You can always check out our site http://www.escape-props.com for affordable, custom props and start building your business room by room.
4. Choose your landlord carefully and foster a relationship with them.
Landlords are under no obligation to lower your rental charges. However, if you have a good relationship with them, they may be more willing to help out. Landlords who trust you will be more likely to give you a rental discount in difficult times and spending time to get to know your landlord before and throughout your lease is a good idea. Whether it is negotiating a lower rental rate or a later payment date to when your business re-opens, such concessions are more likely to succeed if there is a good relationship between tenant and landlord.
These lessons and insights are invaluable to help any escape room businesses in particular to bide difficult times. Try to stay encouraged by knowing that tough times don’t last and that people are generally willing to help out. Preparedness in the face of adversity is important, and taking the right steps today can help you feel more confident in your abilities to weather the next downturn. If you are currently struggling, keep faith that the tide will turn and brighter days are on the horizon.