indoor playground

What to Do if One of Your Indoor Playground Business Ideas FAILS

What to Do if One of Your Indoor Playground Business Ideas FAILS

If you are considering opening an indoor playground or if you own one already, it is your job as the visionary and the owner of the business to think about the big picture ideas and initiatives and really perfect the revenue streams in your business.

But what happens when you make a decision that doesn’t pan out?

Let’s say you had a great idea for a service offering, or a class, or an event that you were REALLY excited about. You spent tons of time creating it, promoting it, and executing it.

However, for whatever reason, it didn’t work out the way you’d hoped. Maybe it wasn’t as profitable or as well attended as you expected, or perhaps people just didn’t seem interested.

In this blog I want to give you 2 examples of things that either just did NOT turn out to be profitable for us and why, and let you know what we did to pivot and either make changes, or even scrap the initiatives altogether.

How Our Indoor Play Facility Stands Out From the Rest

How Our Indoor Play Facility Stands Out From the Rest

Indoor playgrounds are gaining popularity because they offer comfortable and secure play areas, and they give kids a chance to burn energy regardless of weather conditions.

As more play cafes begin to pop up around the country and in our own neighborhood, we want to remind you how we think Climbing Vines Cafe & Play is different from other indoor play spaces...

Climbing Vines Cafe’ & Play is a place for parents to bring their children for low-key, imaginative play while they can indulge in a gourmet coffee and snacks, interaction with other parents, and some much-needed unwind time. We strive to add as much value to our customers’ experience as possible. After all, why pay to play if we only offer things children can find in their own homes?

What to Do When A Customer Attacks Your Business Online

What to Do When A Customer Attacks Your Business Online

If this is as far as you get in this post, just remember: online criticism will happen NO MATTER WHAT. And it will all be ok.

Earlier this year, a woman orchestrated a coordinated social media attack on my business and me personally. 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.

What We USED to do when an Employee Quit

What We USED to do when an Employee Quit

As any business that employs part-time team members, we see a fair amount of employee turnover at Climbing Vines. This is true for any local business, but especially for an indoor playground. Many people will apply and join your team without fully understanding what to expect, or what’s expected of them since the business concept is relatively new.

While I felt business was a strong suit of mine, when I first opened my play cafe, I was in no way prepared to manage a team or to develop efficient processes. After all, in business school, we learned a LOT of theory without a lot of application. Everything I knew assumed “perfect conditions.” However, in a real brick-and-mortar business, perfection is not the case. Appliances break, humans make errors, and customers are unpredictable.

So, I’m not proud to say, managers or key employees have left our business unexpectedly and I was left to scramble to replace them.

5 Ways We Prepare our Indoor Playground For Emergencies

5 Ways We Prepare our Indoor Playground For Emergencies

These days, especially if you are in the U.S., even minor injuries like a finger jam or a slip and fall can have devastating effects on your small business, so the recreational aspect of an indoor playground makes us especially vulnerable to injuries, lawsuits, and disgruntled customers.

We also of course want to prioritize the safety of our guests as much as we possibly can.

Remaining prepared during any sort of personal-injury emergency should be self-explanatory but it’s, unfortunately, one of those things that we all think is never going to happen to us until it does. That’s why today I want to lay out exactly what we did so that our indoor playground facility is as safe as possible and is prepared for emergencies, and specifically, customer injuries, and I want to share the following 5 tips so you can do the same.

The Only Time We've Had to FIRE a Customer at our Indoor Playground Business

The Only Time We've Had to FIRE a Customer at our Indoor Playground Business

The only time we’ve “fired” a customer happened a little over 6 months ago. While this was a difficult decision to make, it was necessary for the well-being and safety of our other customers. Unfortunately, not every family is going to share our philosophies or feel obligated to abide by our policies, so we have found it is easier to let those customers go and focus on the customers that do love and respect our space and our rules.

Speaking of rules, we at Climbing Vines Cafe & Play are big proponents of black-and-white rules with NO grey area, meaning that we work very hard every day to enforce our rules consistently. We currently have a “3 strikes, you’re out-for-the-day” policy, which seems to work well in most cases. Given that we serve mainly families with preschoolers and younger children, we understand that children in this age range can have difficult days.

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.

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.