Posted Date: 03/9/2015
How to Prevent Your Haunt Business from Being D.O.A.Matthew Flagler, Contributing Editor
Operating a haunted attraction is like running any other kind of business. Statistics in most developed nations suggest that three-quarters of all businesses starting today will not be operating five years from now. A Halloween business is no different.
So, the question becomes, how does one avoid becoming a statistic? Having a successful business has nothing to do with luck. Understandably, not many people want to talk about business planning, they just want to get in there and have some fun. Who wants to waste time worrying about local ordinances and tax laws, right? However, the odds of thriving while flying by the seat of your pants are infinitesimal compared to proper preparation. While following some kind of established formula doesn’t offer any guarantees in business, the odds of success improve immeasurably.
Identify Your Passion
Know Your Codes
Insurance: a Necessary Evil
WORKING THE TRADE SHOW AND MAKING IT WORK FOR YOU
There are many great conventions and trade shows serving the haunted attraction industry. While incredibly valuable for both veteran and amateur haunt operators, the trade show floor can be overwhelming. Here are some valuable pieces of advice to get the most out of your investment in attending.
Education is key. Strategically select a few classes or workshops to attend. The goal is to lea all you can. The difference between a good haunted attraction and a great one is what the people operating it know.
Social opportunities. Network, network, network! Use those happy hours and organized events to network with your peers. Idea-sharing with those in the business is a great way to stay current and lea.
Budget before you go. Have your haunt fleshed out somewhat before attending. Know what you need to buy and how much you can afford to spend. There is a lot of eye candy on the trade show floor, and like anywhere else, impulse buying can happen. Sure, you’d love to have that item in your haunt; but do you need it?
Plan wisely. Spend time on the convention website before heading to the show; pre-register for classes and events so that there is less to do once you get there; book your hotel room early, as the ones closest to the show fill up early; and have a plan of attack in place so that when you get to the show, you are able to fully experience it.
Matthew Flagler is the former operator of the Canadian Haunted Attractions Conference (CHAC; www.canadahaunts.ca). A seasoned veteran of the haunted attractions industry, he regularly speaks on a variety of business related topics and writes for trade publications. Matthew has a degree in Business Operations and also operates Fade To Black Haunt Consulting.