Indoor Playground Business Adventures
In an earlier blog post, I discussed that the 7 things I do in my indoor playground business as I have matured and grown as a business owner.
I chased Michael Hyatt, who, in most of his novels and programs continuously refers to designing your ideal weeks and days as"the appetite zone" Operating inside your desire zone, as he explains it, simply means you are spending the majority of your time doing what you both love AND are good at.
When there are many tasks I cut completely and a few I delegate to better-suited team members, there are numerous responsibilities that still lie inside my"desire zone," and that I feel are important for me to manage personally. While this is continually changing as my priorities (both professionally and personally) evolve, these are 5 of those jobs that I'm not giving up only yet as a company owner.
1) COMMUNICATE WITH BIRTHDAY CLIENTS
At Climbing Vines Cafe and Play, we have chosen our exceptional personal birthday parties as the main attention of our business.
Because of this focus, I have chosen to plan the principal aspects of each celebration we sponsor. When someone publications their event with us, they receive a detailed confirmation that includes my own contact info and mentions that I will be in touch because their event draws near.
While I don't normally handle the execution of our celebrations, I really do act as the main touchpoint for parents and gather all of their information and tastes. Ten days before each party, I send out a personalized celebration"questionnaire" that includes all the details we have gathered up to this point, provides additional day-of information, and asks about last-minute particulars.
I answer all questions the host might have in reaction to this email and-- after some back-and-forth communication-- I list all of their event info on that which we call a"party prep sheet." Because we have up to 6 comprehensive events in 1 weekend, this business is indispensable!
The party-prep sheet is an extremely detailed document that allows our party hosts to do the occasion to the exact specifications of the parents, leaving no rock unturned. This has enabled me to have most weekends free yet still feel confident we are delivering an above-and-beyond birthday celebration experience.
After the party, we deliver a survey to every hosting family. Should they have feedback, whether it be positive or negative, I always follow up . This closes the loop clients' expertise and makes certain they understand I truly care about their child's special day. This method has lead to a substantial amount of repeat bookings and consistent testimonials from past parties.
Not only is planning these celebrations something I excel in, but I also take great joy in it. Event planning is how I got into this business in the first place, so I'm more than happy to take on this endeavor. If I am ever feeling overwhelmed with all the facts, I understand I've amazing team members I can lean on.
Speaking of our incredible team members, yet another task I choose to get a hand is our hiring and firing process. While I do leave the final decision up to our cafe supervisor, I would rather write the project posts and filter and descriptions through resumes and software before bringing anybody in for a meeting.
Having spent several years hiring and firing my fair share of workers, it's easy for me to spot red-flags on applications and also find"diamonds in the rough." Since we've got the majority of our standard operating procedures optimized and documented, I prefer to employ based on personality and enthusiasm instead of experience.
I also make sure I welcome each employee to our staff and touch base with them often to check in and collect feedback from them.
3) DREAM UP NEW INITIATIVES
Another job that lies within my present"desire zone" is navigating the general direction of our business and coming up with new ways to best serve our community.
Since I spend time doing these 7 things (and more!) , my energy and time are freed up to investigate what our ideal clients want and need and find out a way to incorporate that into our business model.
As an example, I discovered that our birthday celebration bookings were slowing down in the summertime. When I asked a few clients, they said that they DID love our occasions and attention-to-detail but chosen a Summer party to be out at their home (since most have backyards and pools). We then started offering mobile events, where we would bring food, decorations, and activities for the kids to their homes, and it was a hit!
Another example is our events. We are constantly adding fun new events that allow clients, especially working parents with limited weekday accessibility, to see us out of hours and get an enhanced experience throughout the subject of the event, class, or activity.
If I had been I still doing EVERY task in my enterprise, I wouldn't have nearly enough time to perform as much research or innovation.
4) CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS
When it comes to understanding how to innovate and the best way to offer, it starts with forging a genuine connection with customers.
It is because of this that I really like interacting with our clients all time (when I can) and on social media. I opt to work parties, events, https://www.helmamusements.com/ and even open-play if my family's schedule allows it so that I could stay involved and aware of what's happening during the day. It also gives me the chance to observe how clients are using our distance firsthand and listen to any concerns or questions they have. Although in this age of technology there are testimonials, types, and polls, I have discovered that NOTHING can replace using a http://www.britannica.com/search?query=face-to-face%20dialog with customers using your distance (and likely visits competitors too!)
It's for this reason you will also see billionaire CEOs seeing retail places on a regular basis. Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, was famous for visiting hundreds of stores across the country each year, spending some time with all the clients who were spending their money on his merchandise.
I really like being a family owned and operated company, and that I love for my clients to understand that I am fully invested in their own happiness.
5) HELP OTHER ENTREPRENEURS ALONG THE SAME PATH
While I no longer do one-on-one consulting for people hoping to open indoor playgrounds, I really do spend a substantial amount of time creating absolutely free content for them on my blog and over on YouTube. I also have an absolutely free, 44-page eBook to get play-cafe-owning hopefuls that they can download right on our website or by clicking here.
If someone consumes that free info and determines they would like to move forward with their plans, I also have an online program called Play Cafe Academy in which I help entrepreneurs gain from daydream to opening-day in less time and less stress than they ever believed possible.
When I was researching this company model, there wasn't a great deal of information out there. Current owners actually keep all their business secrets close to their vest, and now that I do not blame them! It's hard once you've worked for years and years to establish a profitable company to want to give away those secrets for nothing. Even if you charge a consulting fee, you're still kind of giving away the secrets that you've worked so hard for and it's very easy as a business owner to acquire a little smug and protective of your own research and development.
When it came time to open my own company, I wound up making a ton of mistakes (and I mean a TON of mistakes) since I simply didn't know any better. When I started getting emails and calls to consult for other possible play cafe owners, then I couldn't keep all this info to myself. While it's easy for me to feel like an imposter or that there are other business owners more qualified than me to share this information, I know that there is a 4-years-ago me sitting somewhere waiting for the next idea to jump out at them.
And frankly, I do not want to see an additional company close because someone who is walked before them did not share any info! So why not share it myself?!
However, my time is valuable. I've got two little children and run another business... I don't have 12 hours to spend hand-holding each standpoint owner through the process. (And let me tell you, it will take at least 12 to 24 hours of compensated one-on-one consulting to break the surface of everything you need, including documentation.)
Students can go through these modules at their own pace, and I don't need to take some opportunity to walk my pupils through the program.
This allows me to help other entrepreneurs along their path while also reserving time and energy I need for my family and other commitments.
I know many owners that choose to do all the things inside their business, and it works for them because most of us have different"desire zones."
I feel really lucky that I have heard through the years what my strengths (and weaknesses!) Are and can design my"perfect" weeks accordingly. If I was burning the candle on both ends trying to tackle everything , I would be doing myself, my family, and my customers a significant disservice.