Open an Indoor Playground

Should you Consider Opening an Indoor Playground Franchise?

Should you Consider Opening an Indoor Playground Franchise?

If you dream of going into business for yourself but you’d rather not build your business from scratch, franchising might be the right choice for you! However, it can also have a variety of drawbacks.

Franchising (and all the legal jargon that goes with it) can be confusing for first time business-owners, so today I’m going to break down the advantages and disadvantages and how franchising differs from licensing.

How Much Does it Cost to Open an Indoor Playground Business?

How Much Does it Cost to Open an Indoor Playground Business?

Even after you’ve negotiated your lease and exposed any hidden pitfalls or money “traps,” there are still ways to accidentally underestimate your costs. For example, when we were getting ready to open our doors, we underestimated the amount we would need to train our staff. Labor costs add up quickly-- before any revenue even starts coming in. We also underestimated the amount and cost of paper products, inventory, cleaning supplies, and cleaning equipment we would need prior to making our first sale.

This miscalculation caused us to dip into our cash reserve, which was a financial cushion we were hoping to save. I recommend OVER-estimating whenever possible, as this can only have a positive outcome.

Operating costs are also easy to underestimate. For example, when signing our lease, I asked the electric company to estimate the cost to heat our 2,500 square foot space. I knew we would need to heat the cafe most of the year because of our cold climate, so I was careful to get an exact estimate.

The Profitable Indoor Playground Business Plan: 5 Red Flags I Look Out For

The Profitable Indoor Playground Business Plan: 5 Red Flags I Look Out For

Since I opened the doors to my indoor playground in early 2016, I have had hundreds of prospective owners reach out to me asking to “take a quick look” at their business plan. Now, not all of them have gone as in-depth as I did when creating a business plan, but most business plans are major documents that take a great deal of time to review.

While I no longer offer one-on-one consulting because I have chosen to dedicate my time and energy towards helping my Play Cafe Academy students achieve success in their businesses, I do still peek at the occasional business plan that comes across my “virtual” desk.

The reason I am still able (and willing!) to do this is because I can typically glance at some key areas and get a quick gauge on whether or not the prospective owner has done thorough research and if they have realistic expectations.

While I don’t review every plan in-depth (unless you’re one of my students), I wanted to share with all of the play-cafe hopefuls out there the few key sections I look at first and usually have some immediate feedback on.

5 Things I Still Do Myself in My Indoor Playground Business

5 Things I Still Do Myself in My Indoor Playground Business

In an earlier blog post, I discussed the 7 things I no longer do in my indoor playground business as I have grown and matured as a business owner.

I referenced Michael Hyatt, who, in many of his books and programs continuously refers to designing your ideal days and weeks as “the desire zone.” Operating within your desire zone, as he describes it, simply means you are spending the bulk of your time doing what you both love AND are good at.
While there are many tasks I cut completely and some I delegate to better-suited team members, there are several duties that still lie within my “desire zone,” and that I feel are important for me to handle personally.  While this is constantly shifting as my priorities (both professionally and personally) evolve, these are 5 of the tasks that I’m not giving up just yet as a business owner.

7 Things I did the First Year of Owning My Indoor Playground Business that I DON’T Do Now

7 Things I did the First Year of Owning My Indoor Playground Business that I DON’T Do Now

As I have grown and matured as a business owner, one of the most important things I have learned is what to spend my time and energy on, and what I am better off delegating.  Michael Hyatt, in many of his books and programs, continuously refers to “the desire zone” when it comes to designing your ideal days and weeks. Operating within your desire zone simply means you are spending the bulk of your time doing what you both love AND are good at.

For me, a great example of something I was doing that was OUTSIDE of my desire zone was payroll and bookkeeping. I neither enjoyed these tasks nor did them efficiently. Hiring a bookkeeper and accountant was expensive, which is why I held off on making the hire for so long, but once I did offload those tasks, the benefit I brought to my business and the additional sales I generated as a result made it well worth the investment.

Why I Created Play Cafe Academy | Open a Profitable Indoor Playground

Why I Created Play Cafe Academy | Open a Profitable Indoor Playground

If you've been keeping up with my weekly blogs or watching me over on YouTube for a while, you know that I tend to talk about opening a profitable indoor playground-- my recommendations based on what we did right and what we did wrong with Climbing Vines Cafe & Play.

Today, I really wanna take a step back and share a little bit about why I create this content and began Play Cafe Academy. (My paid program where I teach people step-by-step how to open an indoor playground and also hold their hand through the opening process!)

I will never forget four years ago when I was researching this business model. When my newborn was only 11 weeks old, I went back to work full-time and I just remember sitting at my desk thinking, "This is just not me. This is not what I want. I want to own my business."

But I had no idea where to start.

5 Ways We Make School Break Weeks as Smooth as Possible

5 Ways We Make School Break Weeks as Smooth as Possible

If you are a parent whose child is preschool-age or above, you understand how “break weeks” can be. Routines go out-the-window, and it’s easy to get stir-crazy, especially if you live in an area that stays cold well-through spring break like it does here in Western New York!

It can be very tempting to plan a fun outing for every day of the week, yet here’s the thing; Everyone else is also planning to do the same.

That can mean difficult parking, lots of crowds, and tantrum-inducing lines. However, we have implemented some strategies at Climbing Vines Cafe & Play to help make even the busiest week as smooth as possible for families that choose to visit us. While we have added tons of little touches that keep customers happy, even while they’re waiting, it really comes down to communication.

9 Tips for Handling Online Criticism as a Business Owner

9 Tips for Handling Online Criticism as a Business Owner

If I am being honest, this has been a post that’s been on my “idea board” for months. Handling online criticism has always been a struggle for me, and I am still constantly learning and maturing as a business owner.

This past week, I had an angry woman orchestrate a coordinated social media attack on my business and me personally, and it left me gutted for hours. I could tell soon after she messaged me that she was attempting to get a rise out of me for social media attention, which was confirmed by the other reviews she had been recently leaving local businesses.

However, I was able to take (most) of my own advice and quickly diffuse the situation. I didn’t handle it perfectly, but I have absolutely come a LONG way from my early years as a business owner, and I am proud of my response to the situation and still stand by it.

My hesitation to write this post stems from the fact that I am not perfect, in this area especially. I have made some major mistakes in dealing with online reviews and criticism that still haunt me to this day. My temper is HOT (like the SUN hot) and I often take reviews very personally because I care so deeply about my business and think of it as an extension of myself.