Start a board game lounge by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Board Game Lounge
- Form your Board Game Lounge into a Legal Entity
- Register your Board Game Lounge for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Board Game Lounge
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Board Game Lounge
- Get Board Game Lounge Insurance
- Define your Board Game Lounge Brand
- Create your Board Game Lounge Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your board game lounge. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a board game lounge?
There are some costs that you can expect when you want to start your board game lounge. First, you will need a space for the cafe, which will require a lease. Second, you will have to purchase furniture and games for the lounge. In an effort to keep your starting costs lower and work on familiarizing yourself with the lounge, you can start with a basic setup.
What are the ongoing expenses for a board game lounge?
The ongoing expenses for a board game lounge are relatively low. You will have to pay utilities, rent, and employees. You may have to replace games or continue to buy new games.
Who is the target market?
A board game lounge will attract adults and children. However, your target market may be more geared towards families during the day and adults in the evening.
How does a board game lounge make money?
The basic way you make money with a board game lounge is by charging customers to play games. You can have your customers pay per visit, per game, or per hour.
How much can you charge customers?
You are not going to be able to charge your customers a high amount for each visit. In the beginning, make sure prices are enticing enough to keep customers coming back.
How much profit can a board game lounge make?
Even though you charge a low rate per visit, you can make a substantial amount of money per year with this business. The more customers you have in your lounge, the more money you make. If you have an incredibly busy lounge, you could make hundreds of thousands of dollars. The average amount you can expect to make is around $100,000 per year.
How can you make your business more profitable?
There are a number of ways you can make your lounge more profitable. You can have a private room that you rent to customers for private events. Consider creating a league and hosting board game tournaments during the week. In addition, if you have the resources to hire cooks and bartenders, you can add food and drinks to your lounge to boost revenue. If this is not feasible, consider partnering with a local food truck.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your board game lounge is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our best net 30 vendors, guide and start building business credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a board game lounge
The key to promoting your lounge is advertising. You want to focus on those within your local area that want to play games. You can put ads in local newspapers and magazines to promote your lounge.
How to keep customers coming back
The best way to keep your customers is to offer them an entertaining atmosphere with the games they want to play.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2022 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a Board Game Lounge in your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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Is this Business Right For You?
A board game lounge business is ideal for someone that has a love for entertaining and enjoys board games. You need to have a deep understanding of how to run an establishment and be able to talk with people in order to build a customer base.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a board game lounge?
A typical day in the board game lounge business means there will be a large amount of interaction with customers. First, you will have to welcome customers and recommend games to them. Next, you will have to explain the rules of the lounge and the games. Then, you hand out and collect games from customers. Finally, you will spend a lot of time organizing the games and making sure all the pieces are there, as well as cleaning the lounge. If your establishment serves food and drinks, you will also have to ensure the kitchen or cafe is staffed and well managed.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful board game lounge?
A board game lounge is a fairly simple business model, so you do not need specific skills or experiences to successfully run this business. However, you should know how to play the games you offer. You will also need some basic business skills such as experience managing a budget, overseeing finances, and working with employees.
What is the growth potential for a board game lounge?
Typically, as the owner of a board game lounge, you will have just one location and focus all of your efforts there. However, you could consider opening several branches to increase your growth potential.
Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a board game lounge?
When you are furnishing your lounge, be sure to get different sized tables. You will have games intended for just two people and others that require a much larger group. You want to be able to accommodate everyone. In addition, you want to create a presence on social media to alert your customers about specials and to provide them with a space to socialize.
How and when to build a team
A board game lounge can easily be a one-person operation. At most, you may need another employee so that you do not have to be in the lounge all the time. Eventually, you may want to hire more employees to allow your lounge to stay open longer, but that is not needed in the beginning.