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Kameron Messmer
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Long time no post! I'll try to be brief. Instead of just being a magician I have opened a private birthday party venue. www.allfunandgamesroom.com It is only one party at a time, and the arcade is all free play. We have almost 50 five star reviews and no negative ones. We have great feedback, product and customer service.

Last winter we did AWESOME, but this year there has been a dip. A giant indoor trampoline place has moved into town and it seems they have siphoned off a lot of the winter birthday business. I think mostly because it's a new cool thing, but whatever.

They have several very negative reviews with complaints ranging from it being too hot, to teenage employees not doing their job, to no toilet paper, to long waits, to management incompetence, to being too expensive, and crowded to BROKEN BONES, but I am afraid they will still keep taking away business.

I am hoping it will even out or something but what do I do in the mean time? How do I compete with new shiny business all the kids are talking about?
Bill Hegbli
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Welcome to the business world of competition. Notice how theme parks always add a new latest - greater - bigger ride every few years, or change something to advertise as new must see thing.

This is called vision, and planning for the future. If you do nothing, it will only get worse. You cam try advertising more with local television stations, but unless you have something new and different to add, the results may not be what you hope for.

There will always be the "new thing" that is the "thing" to do for your next kids birthday party.

It is an old concept, but I has been written in promotion books on kids magic, that they use to list the newborn's in the local newspaper, then in 3 to 5 years, send them a promotion piece. Then follow-up every years.

If you want business, you have to go out and get it, ads, flyers, etc. Even get on the telephone with old customer's and thank them for previously booking your place. Then remind them you are still here and willing to provide the best service for their children/child. They simply, maybe - just have forgotten about you party room.

I hope you kept all your previous clients on records, so you can follow-up with them.

If you don't already, offer a video DVD of their party highlights if they book you for free. That is if you can provide that skill yourself, or with a partner who can video and make a good DVD. Or, maybe take mom's video and put them on a DVD.

Advertise, contact, follow-up, soft sell every year.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Dannydoyle
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Yea business is GREAT when you are the shiny new thing. Once that shine wears off it is back to what you can expect.

This is why night clubs redo themselves every 2 years or so. It is the business model.

You might want to just consider that a part of why you did AWESOME last winter is simply that you were the new shiny thing.

If it is a giant indoor trampoline place odds are good they have a budget and an advertising team. In some way that is. They probably have group sales people and get their name out there in peoples faces OTHER than simple 5 star reviews.

Put together a strategy. It is really the only way to compensate and compete.

Do you have an advertising and marketing budget? Do you have someone dedicated to getting in touch with past clients and trying to re book? If not then getting moving on that before all the business is gone is a priority.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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I think Bill and Danny hit it on the head. This is business and it will continue to happen. You are no longer shinny and new. Other things will come along. To achieve success you must focus on long-term, sustainable business and a business model. You need to be the one all others are compared to. You need to always be evolving. You should be using positioning, credibility, referrals and promotional marketing approaches combined with a strong press and media presence. Much of this can be utilized for free if you have the knowledge and right approach.

I too wonder about your marketing budget and promotional efforts. You live in a city where this should be very obtainable.

I remember when you first opened, and then an updated post once you were open and running. What has been new since then? Did yo make any changes or additions? Who or what is your primary market and what are you doing to get them?

Bill is right you have to be a proactive and aggressive. Let us know more please?
Kameron Messmer
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Quote:
On Oct 19, 2016, Bill Hegbli wrote:

If you don't already, offer a video DVD of their party highlights if they book you for free. That is if you can provide that skill yourself, or with a partner who can video and make a good DVD. Or, maybe take mom's video and put them on a DVD.

Advertise, contact, follow-up, soft sell every year.


I have recorded almost every party and they are on a hard drive, but you have given me a great idea. I could go back, edit a quick video of great moments and send them to the mom the next year as a freebie/reminder of how awesome last year was. Thanks!
Kameron Messmer
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Quote:
On Oct 19, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:

Do you have an advertising and marketing budget? Do you have someone dedicated to getting in touch with past clients and trying to re book? If not then getting moving on that before all the business is gone is a priority.

Since we are about a year old I wasn't sure we would need to get in touch with past clients. We have had a bunch of people book 2, 3, 4 parties with us already so we had momentum. I have a mailing list I am trying to get started, but my CRM is not the greatest with e-mail. or Im too lazy to figure it out.
Kameron Messmer
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Oh, and advertising has been mostly Facebook. Most of the moms seem to be there and not TV, or radio. We do a Facebook push about every other month.
Kameron Messmer
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Quote:
On Oct 19, 2016, Mindpro wrote:

I remember when you first opened, and then an updated post once you were open and running. What has been new since then? Did yo make any changes or additions? Who or what is your primary market and what are you doing to get them?

Bill is right you have to be a proactive and aggressive. Let us know more please?



So since we opened I have added or upgraded over 20 arcade games, table games and activities. Plus some vending things in the lobby. Over 15k spent (worth closer to 45k but I got great deals) and The room is packed. So in a year and a half I have tripled the amount of stuff in the room and raised the price $25. I was hoping adding all the games would make it a better value in peoples eyes, but I dunno.

My demo is mothers 25-44 on iPhones and my best guess is Facebook and word of mouth.

As far as being proactive and aggressive, now that I know how fast things can change I am upping my game.



Oh and Brian Brushwood and Andrew Mayne answered a question about my business on their podcast and talked about it for 30 minutes!
http://www.itricks.com/upload/AfterThings082216.mp3
Dannydoyle
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How does adding more game add value?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bill Hegbli
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Looks like you are only depending on facebook to make your business thrive. Really? You have to be on all of them. Not only one.

Why throw all your new stuff at on time? No reason to come back and see new things. You have to add it slowly, so you have something to post about, and make a big deal that everyone should see.

Lazy, means you will be out of business shortly. Businesses do not rum themselves. It is a daily and monthly work ethic.

I can't believe you never kept a list of your clients. How do you send birthday cards to kids every day. No name and no address. Address them "in care" of the parents. If you don't know what the is, you address the card envelope to the child, and below their name, type "c/o parents name", then the address. That way mom will open the envelope.

You are not retail business, people can't come in and just shop around, and browse, so you have to stay in contact. You are offering about the same as Chucky Cheese Pizza, you have to be different.

If you are still doing magic, these same people work, and some of them could have connections for shows. Are you promoting your adult magic shows.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Kameron Messmer
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Quote:
On Oct 20, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
How does adding more game add value?


I started charging $200 when I had about 10 games. Mostly home stuff like pool tables or ping pong and some old consoles. Now I have almost all commercial arcade games or better versions of what I started with and charge $225. how does that not add value?
Mindpro
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You do seem to have a one-and-done type of business model with all or at least much your eggs in the basket of social media. This is shooting yourself in the foot. You absolutely must realize two things in your type of business:

1. It is ALWAYS easier and less expensive/more cost-effective to target current or previous clients business than it is to gain a new client's business.

2. Every customer you get is and should be worth far more than just a single one-time booking for your business. You have the positioning for return bookings, referrals, and so much more and THAT should be the foundation of your business model. Most every family has multiple kids, birthdays, anniversaries, communions, confirmations, sporting events, dancing or gymnastic events, banquets, parties, receptions. I would say each family that enters your door should be viewed as a 5 booking opportunity if you are modeling things properly.

You must be proactive and NOT rely on social media to gain customers, old or new. Yes, use social media for updates, announcements, to drive home your perceived image of fun, family outings, new additions, etc., but not as your sole use of marketing.

Are you utilizing press and media? You should be using that to the hilt getting thousands of dollars in regular and consistent publicity. Yes, as Bill said, you are not being aggressive about birthday party business. I would have one staffer (and not you) handling this on a daily basis. Group bookings, scouting, church groups and so much more. I see this with many kids and family businesses, they have a great market, and typically no only the minimal to get by. One single person being aggressive will result in amazing benefits IF you have a plan, structure and system. You really need guidance or mentorship as you seem to be focusing too much IN your business rather than ON your business.

People ask me all the time "who are your professional entertainment business resources designed for?" The answer is you. Really most my materials could likely benefit you as much as others, as they are for entertainment businesses as much as for performers. You, if anyone should be taking advantage of the special arrangement I've been offering.

Bill is right, the newest games are not going to book large-ticket parties. Sure you core of kids or gamers that come in may be excited or impressed, but they aren't spending hundreds of dollars as your events will.

What is your business model and plan? You need some business guidance to allow for maximum profitability, and the proper positioning within your community so all others are compared to you. You must be the bar from which others are measured. What are your largest profit centers in your business? I believe a refocusing of your approach and perspective could help greatly.

What is your booking/closing ratio? Also what is your return booking ratio?
Kameron Messmer
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Quote:
On Oct 20, 2016, Bill Hegbli wrote:
Looks like you are only depending on facebook to make your business thrive. Really? You have to be on all of them. Not only one.

Billings is a weird market. kinda behind the times, but old media is still dying. no one here really uses twitter, but no one reads the paper or watches TV either. mostly netflix, and youtube. Ive done a little radio but most people skip the stations for commercials.
Quote:
Why throw all your new stuff at on time? No reason to come back and see new things. You have to add it slowly, so you have something to post about, and make a big deal that everyone should see.

I did. What I said I added 20 some odd games that was 1 or 2 over the last year and a half. and every time I would post the upgrades, take more pictures and do a walkthrough video. [/quote]
Quote:
Lazy, means you will be out of business shortly. Businesses do not rum themselves. It is a daily and monthly work ethic.

I'm not that lazy, I was kinda joking, but my wife quit her job to do the booking and organizing. neither of us have had a normal job for a while. I'm lazy when it comes to certain book keeping aspect [/quote]
Quote:
I can't believe you never kept a list of your clients. How do you send birthday cards to kids every day. No name and no address. Address them "in care" of the parents. If you don't know what the is, you address the card envelope to the child, and below their name, type "c/o parents name", then the address. That way mom will open the envelope.

I have a CRM that keeps track, but it is pulling teeth to get moms to open e-mails to answer a question about a party that they asked for. [/quote]

Quote:
You are offering about the same as Chucky Cheese Pizza, you have to be different.

We are private and free play. every party that walks in says we are better than CEC
Quote:
If you are still doing magic, these same people work, and some of them could have connections for shows. Are you promoting your adult magic shows.

Most of my shows have been add ons for the parties and I've done more shows then ever. I don't mind traveling or doing adult shows but then I can't do shows at the game room I just built up, so it's kinda hard to split myself into two directions. Now that competition hit so hard I might have to...
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Oct 20, 2016, Kameron Messmer wrote:
Quote:
On Oct 20, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
How does adding more game add value?


I started charging $200 when I had about 10 games. Mostly home stuff like pool tables or ping pong and some old consoles. Now I have almost all commercial arcade games or better versions of what I started with and charge $225. how does that not add value?


You can't answer the question by asking me the inverse. It kind of shows that there is no answer.

In your mind you upgraded. It cost you lots of money you want to get back. To patents you had games, now you have games and it costs more. All theyare getting is more of what you already had. Where is the value in charging more for that is the question you have not answered. If you can not answer it for me, odds are it is not answered for the costumer. They may see it as a price hike for the sake of a price hike and that is never good. It will keep people going to the new shiny thing every time.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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Your value shouldn't be determined by your games. That is not important to what should be your target customers. It may be to you, it may be to the kids, but not who your true targets are. You seem to be operating much of this based on your personal preferences and beliefs, not necessarily your targets, market and area. Your games and such should be enhancements or added-value to the actual service and premise you offer. If this has been your approach, I'm also betting your marketing is from the wrong perspective as well, talking about he latest games, etc rather than what will sell prospects and conversions to sales.

This would be the equivalent to promoting your tricks in your show - Come see the cups and balls! Sponge Bunnies! Watch me pull a quarter out of your ear! That is not going to get you booked, it's the much greater picture and the need, service and solution you are providing to your customer's needs, not the contents.
Kameron Messmer
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Danny:

When I first started I was barely more then what some people had in their basement. I am now by all accounts a small arcade. I have been to many places where they claimed to be an "arcade and I had far more. I am a vastly different operation then what I was a year and a half ago. I did not just add games, I went from nothing to something. A local successful business owner in town said I was not charging enough. Specifically because of what I had in there and it was all free to play. And I don't charge my the person. So a party can bring in 40 people and play 30 some different games (most multiplayer) for one price.

The value is the parents don't have to hand out quarters every few minutes. The value is there is more to entertain their child on their day. The value is the birthday kid gets an arcade to themselves for their birthday. The value is the parents can relax and enjoy themselves instead of trying to keep 15 kids busy for 2 hours.

Is that the right answer?
55Hudson
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Kameron - don't be defensive. Listen to what people are saying and take it in; apply as you see fit. No one knows your market like you do (or they shouldn't!).

Consider SendOutCards for follow up. You can send a personalized card to parents following the party as a thank you and then follow up next year with limited effort. $42 per month, plus postage. I send a thank you after every gig and to every student I teach. Once you have the name and address in the Send Out Cards data base, easy to follow up and send new cards.

Keep working at it. If you are getting positive reviews, and the other guy isn't, you will win. But, as pointed out above, someone else will fill that gap so you do have to continuously improve from the client's perspective.

Good luck!

Hudson .
Kameron Messmer
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Quote:
On Oct 20, 2016, 55Hudson wrote:
Kameron - don't be defensive. Listen to what people are saying and take it in; apply as you see fit. No one knows your market like you do (or they shouldn't!).

I wasn't going for defensive, I am getting good feedback. I was trying to clarify what I meant. If you went to my place the day it opened and now you would see the change in value verses how much it cost. I am just not sure what they mean.
Dannydoyle
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So if you can't manage to communicate it to us, how is it you think you can communicate it to the customer? (Wow that really is good if you think about it for 2 seconds.)

Does a parent know OR care about how much "value" that you think you added? No. All they KNOW is what it is WORTH TO THEM. So if all you have is "more games" then that "value" better be in line with what they think it is WORTH to them to have that particular service. It has nothing to do with where you started or anything you added or anything about you. It is about how your customer PERCEIVES the value of what it is you are presenting.

Right now it appears the trampoline place has better "value" even though they have negative reviews. That ALONE should tell you something.

If only someone would have mentioned these things prior to your opening this place you could have considered them and planned for this.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Kameron Messmer
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I might have jumped the gun. Between yesterday and today we have booked 6 more parties.
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