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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.

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.

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.

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.

Opening an Indoor Playground- The 6 Main Ways to Make Money

Opening an Indoor Playground- The 6 Main Ways to Make Money

One of the most common questions I get from my students inside Play Cafe Academy and from prospective owners inside my inbox is: how do we make money? So, variations of this question might be, What are our revenue streams? How do they compare to one another? Is there a “right” model to make the most money when operating an indoor playground or play cafe?

And my answer, for my business, is simple. We focus on parties. That is where the majority of our revenue comes from and our birthday party packages are high-end and high-margin, so they are a very profitable revenue stream for our business and we are proud of the experience we give all of our party clients.

4 Ways to Market an Indoor Playground or Play Cafe

4 Ways to Market an Indoor Playground or Play Cafe

Many owners feel like marketing their business online is just putting posts up on Facebook, but there is SO much more to it than that. Marketing is building an email list, it’s having a high-converting website, it’s having a word-of-mouth marketing strategy, and it’s converting your customers with IN-STORE marketing.

3 Mistakes to Avoid when Opening an Indoor Play Center

3 Mistakes to Avoid when Opening an Indoor Play Center

After 3 years in business at Climbing Vines Cafe & Play, I finally understand the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” As I was preparing to open, my never-ending task list seemed overwhelming.  As a result, I rushed through a few crucial phases of the opening process. While discussing this topic with other play cafe owners, I realized I was not alone. It’s certainly easy to make a few oversights and incorrect decisions when you face so many daily. That’s why I’ve compiled the three most common mistakes indoor playground business owners have made to prevent you from facing the same fate.