Internet gaming cafes are commonplace, but often have a short lifespan and do not seem to be thriving business hubs in Southeast Asia. However, the growing eSports market is fueling a resurgence in the gaming world, and Southeast Asia is no exception. From the age-old favourites like Counter Strike to the new favourites Fortnite and PUBG, the demand for gaming is increasing. This is where building a gaming cafe might be the smart choice for an entrepreneur to explore. With a large population of mid-to-lower income households, affordable access to the games with the right hardware, makes gaming cafes an in-demand industry.
However, this is not an easy task as this industry brings with it a new set of challenges. Consumer trends and demands are constantly changing with people looking for VR and consoles gaming, or upgrading your peripherals to match the latest releases from brands like Razer, Logitech and others.
Also, starting up a new business isn’t easy and not something you should get into lightly. You have to take into account numerous things; most of which are totally unpredictable before you even start to enjoy the fruits of your hard labour. It isn’t all fun and games, and the same as sitting at an office job playing solitaire while waiting for your next break. You have to plan how to start your business and for the unforeseen.
Before starting your own business you’d better sit down, take out a calculator and do the necessary math. List your assets, and make it perfectly clear how much money you have, how much additional finances you can attract and what is the sum you are about to spend. If possible, try to create a full accounting balance sheet, including extra for some unexpected expenses. This won’t take into account all the pitfalls of being an entrepreneur, but it will help you be prepared.
Being prepared in the gaming world
Be prepared that the market will be competitive and might already have quite a few players in your market. That’s because they’ve been here for some time, but don’t panic – they all started from scratch as well. It is impossible not to make mistakes, but it is essential to get things fixed and running as soon as possible.
You may think that 10 PCs and 4 consoles are fine start, but often that’s simply not enough. Before even launching your business you have to think several steps ahead. How to attract people that will not just come to play at your place from time to time, but become your regular customers providing a stable cash flow? Consider additional services like PC school for elderly people or coding courses. Or at least figure out what to do in order to have some tournament held in your club. Think ahead to win.
While planning your club’s layout, be smart and make sure you’re stocked with drinks and amenities. The longer you keep them happy in the cafe, the more time and money they spend. If you want to stand out, maybe make a partnership deal with pizza delivery or a nearby fast food for mutual discounts and common discount programme.
Hire the right people – not just gamers
It’s all about hiring the right people for the job.
After all you can’t do everything by yourself – you just have to hire several people to keep things up and running. While there is temptation to hire passionate gamers who love the industry and the games, you are also going to need people with the right technical skills.
To effectively start your business, you need:
- An administrator who’ll turn PCs and consoles on and off and fix technical issues when necessary
- A second administrator because people can’t work 24/7
- A store manager (it can be you, but again, you cannot work 24/7 either)
- Cleaning staff, which can be hired on contract or through an agency to keep your cafe clean and fresh
- An accountant to manage the finances
As you grow, you might want to consider hiring a marketer who will plan your advertising campaign, a copywriter to upgrade your social and promotional material.
Use the right tool for the trade
Using the right software for the job is crucial to making sure your business runs smoothly. This includes handling the technical aspects of the gaming cafe, but also a financial transactions tracker, a mailing tool to help build your clients’ loyalty, an interface to track goods in stocks and run the F&B portion of the business. You would even need to control your PCs and consoles remotely, which can be challenging without the right software in place.
While there are tools that can help you with specific portions of the activities, having a single platform is more convenient. One such tool in the market is SENET. Built by people in the industry, who went through the same challenges that you would go through, this software effectively helps you manage your gaming cafe.
This post was sponsored