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Old 05-01-2013, 10:24 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I disagree. First, parents love to get teenagers out of the house so they will often give them money to do something. Also, teens tend to spend all the money they have. They have no real responsibilities that they need to save money for. My 15 and 17 year old kids spend basically every cent they make or are given. They make less than 10% of what I make in a year, but seem to have more money to spend on wants rather than needs.

The men carrying yoga mats probably weren't allowed to play paintball growing up.
Actually this was one of the reasons that the show "Married with Children" lasted so long and is used as an example in business class. It had horrible overall ratings. However a closer look revealed that it had good ratings with young adult males (granted this is one step up from 15-17). Advertisers love this group because they tend to be overly impulsive and spend virtually all of their disposable income. Further because they tend not to have many obligations their disposable income makes up a majority of their income.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:40 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Who wants to ski or snowboard in a ghost town.
That sounds really cool. Skiing in a real ghost town...
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:53 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I help run a paintball field half the year and build terrain parks in the winter. The ski industry is stagnating/declining. They have concluded the reason behind this is because the ski industry is only marketing to...you guessed it...skiers and snowboarders. They are the BEST when it comes to marketing to current skiers and snowboarders. Unfortunately, there is no outreach beyond that. You are going to see a large shift in the coming years aimed towards getting NEW people on the hill. As I've stated before...the ski industry is light years ahead of the paintball industry so I recommend paying attention to the changes they are making to attract new people to the sport. We can learn a thing or two as most resorts have the $$$ flow, resources, and willingness to invest in new/innovative ideas compared to most paintball fields which don't have any of that.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:13 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Ok I am going to wade into this slightly. As DesertT1 noted I have enough business training and experience that I am not coming in totally from left field on this. That training and experience did have me abort after sticking my toe in the water in paintball. On a small scale the cost to reward ratio was not enough for me to feel like investing the amount of time it would require.

Step one: the national figures are interesting and businesses should be at least passingly familiar with them. However a successful business is built in a manner that will allow it to weather downturns while making profit during upticks. IE: "My business failed because of a downturn in the industry" is likely a culmination of other factors. It is easy in small business to get lost in these numbers and seek outside causes for their concerns. Its an interesting thing to do but unless you have some means of control and influence over these outside causes it will not help you run a successful business. Unless you are operating on a national scale your influence on these is likely minimal at best. Concentrate on what you can do and what you have control over rather than what you cannot and do not.

Step two: This step takes some getting used to. Unless you are providing a necessity of daily life and have virtually no competition (or you and all the competition is operating at peak capacity) you are selling an experience and not a product. People don't buy BMWs because they need to get from point A to point B they buy them for the driving experience, the boost to ego, or any number of factors that have little to do with getting from point A to point B. BMW is not "a really good mode of transportation" it is "the ultimate driving machine". People do not go to watch a professional sports event for the pleasure of buying an $8 beer (or a $5 soda at the movies) they go for the experience of the game. People do not pay $60 a plate at a fine dining restaurant for nourishment. Paintball fields are selling an experience not a product

Step 3 - Learn from "lady's night". While some groups are large enough that they can provide all the atmosphere they need in order to enjoy the game these cannot be your target audience (see step 4). When I go to a paintball field I go alone. Without other players it can be no fun. Your staff and facility has an "optimal number". This is the number where your staff is not overstressed and is able to effiectively do their job (see step 5). You should have some idea what this number is and it varies wildly depending on staff and facilities. If you do not have an idea figure out what it is. This can be done from a pure business sense or from looking around. Do you have a lot of people waiting for games and growing board? You are over the number. Do you have players feeling rushed to get back on the field because you need them to play - you are under the number. From a business side you figure this number by figuring profit - however you must be certain that figuring by profit alone does not cause you to overshoot the number and create bored players or a bad experience. You likely make more per player by having 100 players than you would having 10 due to the economics of scale. However at some point this balance tips. Because players are sitting around rather than playing you start to see a decrease in profits per player. The point where you see the most profit per player (while providing an atmosphere that brings people back) is your optimal number. You do not need to be able to figure it exactly (chances are you do not have a large enough sample size to be exact) but you should have some clue what it is. This optimal number is important to your field. It helps provide the atmosphere as well as the profit. If you have to give away entrance or rentals to get there get there.

Step 4: Know your target audience and do not screw this up. You know that group of ten guys that comes every week, demands better prices, and appears to an outsider to be most of your business? Calculate it out. Between the interest free loans that tend to get floated (and often defaulted on I would guess), the reduced prices, and various other concerns do they actually provide a value to the field. And how much pull do they have? Those ten guys, if annoyed at the field, will likely go somewhere else. In a group that provides its own atmosphere you are simply providing facilities. They can probably find some farm land, pool together some money, not have near the overhead of your field and play on their own. Be careful how much you build your business around them.

Step 5: Make sure your "sponsored" players and your refs understand their place in regards to open play. Your profits are not balanced on these sponsored players and attempting to do so is dangerous. They can however provide some of the atmosphere so vital to reaching optimal numbers. Make certain that they know their role in assuring that the people who play a few times a year, the parent and child out for their first try, and the players who are not sponsored or discounted have an enjoyable experience and want to come back. I am amazed how many fields do not get this. Do you really think that a team simply wearing your name and competing in some tournaments (often far away from your location) is really so valuable to your business that it is all they need to do? These sponsored players must not use open play as a chance to practice and make life miserable for other players. Use them as a real assett to the business - its the whol idea behind the sponsorship.

Step 6: Do not be afraid to make a profit. I have absolutely no idea why so many people are afraid to make a profit on what they sell. You are offering the best experience - not the lowest price. Those seeking the lowest price can undercut you by entirely cutting you out and your suppliers have done you no favors in protecting a wholesale / retail price structure. This is disposable income and most people spending disposable income, while they will not entirely ignore price, will buy a better experience for a higher price (generally speaking). There are several models in paintball - from a business stand point the low to moderate volume at a high to moderate price in regards to paint seems to be more effective than the high volume / low price. Obviously the high volume / high profit (IAO when it was around) was an interesting model but chances are you do not have the established base to pull it off. Maybe if you build an atmosphere and the experience over time you will. Do you bring your own steak into a restaurant? No. I'm not certain on the theory behind bring your own paint. If you must reduce prices to some players to create the atmosphere make sure they know that you expect in regards to atmosphere.

Step 7: Why are you in business? Theoretically the answer to this question is to make the most amount of money possible with the least amount of work and risk. While this is a good theory its not why most people are in business. Most people who are actually in business will give life satisfaction type answers (autonomy, they love what they do, etc). The key thing I need to tell you is why you are not in business. You did not go into business to make the least amount of money possible with the most amount of work and incredible risk. Somehow I see a lot of field owners who seem to have accepted this concept though. The vast majority of small business owners will tell you if you consider the hours they work and the amount of stress they are under that they could make more doing another job - often that other job would be working at McDonalds.

Step 8: Please - before you put any substantial amount of time and money into this venture take a business class. The vast majority of businesses are not profitable in the first year. Going by memory the vague numbers often used argue most show zero profit for 2-3 years and take seven years to recoup the initial investment. Your accountant will love you for having some understanding before you go into this venture. You may find that you save yourself a vast amount of stress and risk by simply knowing what you are getting into or having some idea.

Good luck . Even doing everything perfectly owning a small business means a lot of sleepless nights. It means going home and trying to remember if you locked the front door when you left. It means, in paintball, worrying if little Johnny's parents are going to be calling you because he had a tooth knocked loose when he lifted his mask in the middle of the game despite being told twenty-seven times not to. Worse it means that one of your players who has had no consideration of the amount of time and effort you have put in is going to convince his parents to give him money to open a field rather than going to college. The good news on that one is when he figures out how little money he makes and time he puts in you may be able to buy all the neat new equipment he bought for a fraction of the new price.
Awesome stuff.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:52 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lohman446 View Post
Ok I am going to wade into this slightly. As DesertT1 noted I have enough business training and experience that I am not coming in totally from left field on this. That training and experience did have me abort after sticking my toe in the water in paintball. On a small scale the cost to reward ratio was not enough for me to feel like investing the amount of time it would require.

................

Good luck . Even doing everything perfectly owning a small business means a lot of sleepless nights. It means going home and trying to remember if you locked the front door when you left. It means, in paintball, worrying if little Johnny's parents are going to be calling you because he had a tooth knocked loose when he lifted his mask in the middle of the game despite being told twenty-seven times not to. Worse it means that one of your players who has had no consideration of the amount of time and effort you have put in is going to convince his parents to give him money to open a field rather than going to college. The good news on that one is when he figures out how little money he makes and time he puts in you may be able to buy all the neat new equipment he bought for a fraction of the new price.
Well Said!!!
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:57 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by OSG Paintball View Post
I help run a paintball field half the year and build terrain parks in the winter. The ski industry is stagnating/declining. They have concluded the reason behind this is because the ski industry is only marketing to...you guessed it...skiers and snowboarders. They are the BEST when it comes to marketing to current skiers and snowboarders. Unfortunately, there is no outreach beyond that. You are going to see a large shift in the coming years aimed towards getting NEW people on the hill. As I've stated before...the ski industry is light years ahead of the paintball industry so I recommend paying attention to the changes they are making to attract new people to the sport. We can learn a thing or two as most resorts have the $$$ flow, resources, and willingness to invest in new/innovative ideas compared to most paintball fields which don't have any of that.
Damn you stole my thunde ...I have been collect tons of info about skiing beyond this quoted article.

Skiing finally did an up turn of 1% Jan 2012 to Jan 2013 overall.

How did they do it...Lessons!! Huge!

And a whole bunch of smart small investments to their products (facilities, experience, etc) based on collecting data from their clients....not just wild expensive stabs in the dark.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:10 PM   #27 (permalink)
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This is some links that Horizon sent me. Posting for reference. Bloody good read.

http://www.greyops.net/2011/09/paint...t-post-by.html

http://www.greyops.net/2011/09/paint...ee-market.html

http://www.greyops.net/2011/09/paint...t-post-by.html
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:58 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:51 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Horizon View Post
I disagree. First, parents love to get teenagers out of the house so they will often give them money to do something. Also, teens tend to spend all the money they have. They have no real responsibilities that they need to save money for. My 15 and 17 year old kids spend basically every cent they make or are given. They make less than 10% of what I make in a year, but seem to have more money to spend on wants rather than needs.

The men carrying yoga mats probably weren't allowed to play paintball growing up.
Mmarketing to the 10-19yr old demographic brings a fair amount of risk to the sport. From the early 90s to the late 00s that's what paintball did and, it hurt us badly. A lot of them got Mommy and Daddy's money, invested in the highest ROF they could obtain, and didn't have the maturity to not use it to full effect on the renters. This, when combined with the faulty logic of 'semi-auto only rules' reduced the number of renters that settled into the sport.

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Originally Posted by Lohman446 View Post
Ok I am going to wade into this slightly...
I'm glad you did. When I think of successful paintball business versus ones that are 'surviving', I think of Warplay Paintball. I have no formal association with them but, I can see from an outside point of view, how they got at least several of these steps right.

Step 2: In around 2004, they started off with zero speedball fields (there several of those somewhat nearby)- instead they had 'hybrid fields' (professional construction-quality structures in a wooded environement). Every game is based on a mission: Ring a bell in the adversaries fort, Cross a defended bridge and return a flag, 'king of the hill', 'escort the president to safety'. Every game includes respawns with the frequency dependent on your team's difficulty (i.e. attackers respawning more often than defenders, etc). Their rental fleet for their first few years consisted of nothing but A-5s with RTs and they allow full auto fire, blind fire, grenades, nerf rockets, etc. they only run one match at a time so, the respawn makes this tolerable or enjoyable). It took them several years of players in the area pleading for them to get around to opening a speedball field. Playing there is clearly an experience and it's unique compared to any other commercial field I've been to in 20yrs.

Step 3 and 4: They have continuously adjusted the number of staff relative to the number of players. I've seen as few as two refs and now, they are sporting 6+ in a single game. They have seriously flexed sites like groupon, and living social to bring new players to the field (they have been maxing out their rental fleet of 100+ markers on sub-average weather weekends). Their rental options help prevent the rental players from feeling underequipped.

Step 5: I can't speak to how they treat their refs (or sponsor them) other than they often speak their appreciation over facebook.

Step 6: I don't know how profitable they are but, every steady increase I've seen in players, has been accompanied by a field improvement project.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:15 PM   #30 (permalink)
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While i agree with it from a business standpoint step 4 aggravates me. This is exactly why everywhere i go the fields seem to have been specifically designed for 10 year olds. Oh i get it believe me i do. You make more of the birthday party full of rentals then you do the 10 guys who all have their own gear and take themselves seriously. But this is also why it seems to me that eventually every player hits a "i just dont care anymore" mentality. Which is where im at now. Because the game isnt really stimulating anymore. And yet i watch videos from Canada and im super jealous of some of their fields. I dunno.... Its no small wonder maryland has such a thriving outlaw community.

And 6 annoys me too. Thats why you wanna overcharge on paint to make a profit? Ok, but then i better not be forced to use gi milsim or marballizer. And the steak analogy doesnt make sense. Your correct i dont bring my own steak to a restaurant. But im not paying for just any old steak. Im paying for the way YOU cook it. Maybe theres something special about the way you make it. But you don't make the paintballs. So why should i pay more for the same thing i could get anywhere else. I mean imagine if one McDonald's charges more for fries then another down the street? Same fries yet one is more expensive. Well thats fine but there better be something superb about your McDonald's, and god help you if your fries are sub standard in any way over the other one.

In general its rare for me to justify playing at an official field. Other then deal with whatever grey area of legality that outlaw sometimes brings. And i cant deal with that atm due to my career choices. And of course other then scenario games. But so far the fields i enjoy the most are the ones who futz with me the least. Sadly these same fields are also seemingly doing the worst business wise. And by futz i mean dont tell me what paint to use. Dont have goofy *** rules like 10-20 foot rules. Dont have overly aggressive reffs who stand on my nuts when im trying to sneak. Dont have some goofy rule like no bunkering or when i approach a building your in i have to knock on the wall and your counted out? Thats just stupid. Dont have overly simplified terrain. Im sure its safer but coming through, cutting down all the brush and building baby proof structures is really boring. At that point its not woodsball its speedball in the woods. And in maryland i can think of several fields who fall into that category. Dont worry OXCC you guys are safe lol
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