Careful Planning Ensures You'll See Returns on an Investment in Quality
One of the most important aspects of creating a successful miniature golf course business is to make sure that the course you built is of the highest quality. Doing so ensures that the heart of your business will be there for years to come, it means that you’ll keep maintenance and repair costs as low as possible and of the utmost importance, you’ll know that families enjoying the course will be safe. Of course building a mini-golf course of the highest quality is an investment of time and money. And while it is obvious that quality will be better in the long run, for the shorter term it can feel like a lot of pressure for a small business owner. However, with very careful planning, you’ll find that by choosing quality, you’ll be making the best business decision to see success in both the short term and for many years to come.
Choose Location Wisely
If you’re adding on to an existing business then you’ll get to skip this step, but for everyone else, this early decision is one of the most important ones you’ll be making. In addition to budget and what’s available, you’ll want to think carefully about your potential customers and what location will do the most to attract them and keep them coming back. In addition to the obvious of having good foot traffic, visibility and accessibility, it’s a good idea to think of environmental factors. While a custom built miniature golf course can work around a lot of things, having a site that’s easy to work with will save you time and money. And having a site that’s protected from the elements, particularly one that is not likely to be affected by flooding, is extremely important.
There Is No Such Thing as Too Much Research
If you’re unsure about location it’s a great idea to get started on market research as it will help answer a whole host of questions.
Market research means understanding as much as possible about the customers you will be attracting to your mini-golf course. What will they be looking for in an entertainment experience, and how can you meet their needs. Market research, as opposed to industry research is specified to the customers that you will have, and so is greatly impacted by factors like geographic location and demographics. How much do people expect to spend when they go out for a day's pleasure in that neighborhood? How long do people want to stay at a spot? Market research is particularly important to investing in a quality course. Understanding the interests of your specific market will allow you to create a course that is built to maximize their enjoyment.
In the past, miniature golf courses have been geared towards families with young kids, but more recently, many adventure golf course owners have greatly expanded their markets by targeting teens and young adults, even young professionals. Attracting a larger market segment means more than just tapping into childhood nostalgia (although that can be a great strategy for certain markets) but by creating serious competitions, or making it an evening out that beats hitting the local pub. Knowing your market can be invaluable in choosing what theme to use in building your course. Having a comprehensive understanding of exactly who your potential market is will allow you to create a course that will achieve the best results in attracting a strong customer base.
As opposed to market research, industry research applies to the miniature golf business in general. Of course, having an understanding of the business will help you succeed, but this is also a great place for you to get the ideas that will be an ideal fit with what you've learned from your market research. The example above, of the success adventure golf courses have had by appealing to a broader age range, comes from industry research. So get reading on all the trends and statistics specific to the industry. Even more fun on your planning to-do list is to get out there and visit as many mini-golf courses as possible. Take notes of what you like, what you don't, what appears to be successful, what looks like it needs work, and what makes the most sense to apply to your specific business, and your specific market.
Create a Meticulous Business Plan
Now it’s time to take all of the information you’ve gathered and combine it with the full financial picture of your future business. The miniature golf industry is primarily made up of small businesses, many are run like mom and pop shops to this day. And while there's nothing more informal than heading out for a day of fun at the mini-golf course, that doesn't mean you should start your business informally. A business plan will allow you to calculate all of the expenses, immediate and long term, so that there are no surprises. You'll be able to calculate what your expected business is, and take a careful look at how much you can reasonably charge, as opposed to how much income you'll need to cover expenses and make a profit. The best business plan is all about eliminating surprises from starting a business. With this industry, the way to success is to build a quality course that will best meet your specific market's needs. Once you've completed that, it's very small overhead and maintenance costs to keep your mini-golf business running smoothly, and bringing in a profit. It's the business plan that will allow you to make sure that all parts of the equation are balanced just right to achieve that goal.
Adventure golf courses aren't just about windmills and dinosaur models anymore. But what hasn't changed in the industry is this: a day on the mini-golf course is still all about users having a great time. That's an emotional metric, and it's a subjective one. Luckily, there's an entire field built around great design that will maximize that emotional response of your customers. Focusing on UX design in planning your course will allow you to incorporate what you know of your market to build a course that is specifically tailored to their enjoyment. It's a great way to build a course that makes use of the latest developments in the mini-golf industry, and depending on your market, such as making creative use of technology. Consider integrating an app into your course that will allow users to keep score and track of their progress via their smartphones. This has the added advantage of allowing for seamless social media sharing, creating an ideal marketing opportunity, and best of all, it will make your customers feel like the mini-golf experience is their own.
When you are ready to build your course, nobody in the industry is able to provide the same quality as Castle Golf. Give us a call, our professional team would love to answer any questions you may have and help you in the planning process so you can be certain that you reap the full benefit of one of our excellent miniature golf courses.