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Thread: Business people?

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  1. Default  
    #51
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    Mar 2012
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    As far as getting into a business mindset I would recommend LOTS of reading. Read, read, read. Business books, marketing books, histories of successful companies and entrepreneurs. Really the only way to grow your mind is exposing it to new ideas. This is advice I need to take myself. I use to read a lot but haven't in a few years. I feel like I have less ideas now than when I use to read a book a week. I'm going to start a new book tonight!
     

  2. Default  
    #52
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    Dec 2011
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    613
    Quote Originally Posted by mrfoos View Post
    Obviously I could go into great detail into each step but I'll spare you.
    No, please don't spare us. Do, indeed, go into detail. Detailed real world accounts of success (and failures in many cases) are very valuable, and since the devil's in the details, those details could prove considerably valuable as well. Heck, you could start a whole new thread on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrfoos View Post
    8. Took all that and wrote it into a Business Plan. (My business plan wasn't for a banker... it was for myself first and for anyone I wanted to share my vision with second, like land owner. Mine was over 16 pages. I had a separate Design Plan that was about 15.) There are so many details for a first year haunt I can't imagine trying to keep all those details in my head.
    Perhaps the most important 5 sentences in this whole thread. I have tons of info and reams of paper on ideas and goals and visions, from the next private event I'll be working on or prop for said event that I'll be building, all the way to the Haunt Park I want to have within a decade, with 4-5 haunts, a midway, kid activities, concessions, a gypsy village, theatre, and so on (not to mention staging a Christmas event there the following month, and having year round events). Taken together, you could loosely refer to all of those designs and goals and objectives as a "business plan", being that they are plans about one's business.

    The only thing I take objection to is telling a newbie with absolutely no experience whatsoever (haunt or otherwise) that all he has to do is get a "business plan software app", type in some absurd fictions into the fields, show it to a bank manager or unsuspecting "investor", and somehow that will magically give him a $150K slush fund to play with and go shopping with at the next trade show, cuz, afterall, "that's how all the pros do it."

    But, by all means, we have to make plans and plan out our goals. Only, those plans need to stay flexible, ever-evolving, and open to change at a moment's notice. Iow, they need to be written in pencil, and not in pen, let alone in stone.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrfoos View Post
    I think I'll take the same approach my second year. I'll have more validation data to fine tune some of what I had to guess at before.
    "validation data" . . . another set of favorite words so often absent from discussions such as these. I hear a lot of theory thrown around; it's nice when we make a focused study of what actually worked, and, critically, what customers actually paid to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrfoos View Post
    As far as getting into a business mindset I would recommend LOTS of reading. Read, read, read. Business books, marketing books, histories of successful companies and entrepreneurs. Really the only way to grow your mind is exposing it to new ideas. This is advice I need to take myself. I use to read a lot but haven't in a few years. I feel like I have less ideas now than when I use to read a book a week. I'm going to start a new book tonight!
    . . . guerrilla marketing . . . books on creative endeavors from different but related disciplines . . . psychology . . . sociology . . . books on story telling . . . becoming a film buff in different genres that relate to haunts . . .watching the DVD extras and commentaries to learn about the creative process . . . catching the new Hitchcock biopic this week . . . hanging out at Home Depot and Lowe's for brainstorming sessions . . . avoiding like the plague any repurposed marketing materials that tell you that in your first year you will have 10's of thousands of customers, or telling you to tell that to the loan officer at the bank . . .

    C.
     

  3. Default  
    #53
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    Mar 2012
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    160
    Quote Originally Posted by BrotherMysterio View Post
    "validation data" . . . another set of favorite words so often absent from discussions such as these. I hear a lot of theory thrown around; it's nice when we make a focused study of what actually worked, and, critically, what customers actually paid to see.
    I figured you'd like that part since I got the term from your "wantrepreneur" video. I think putting the validation concept on top of your business toolbox is the best thing I've learned here.
     

  4. Default  
    #54
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    Dec 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrfoos View Post
    I figured you'd like that part since I got the term from your "wantrepreneur" video. I think putting the validation concept on top of your business toolbox is the best thing I've learned here.
    Indeed. I'm 42 years old. I'm getting to a point where I am starting to only care about what works, and what can be validated before I blow big bucks.

    Btw, I love what you did with your trail.

    C.
     

  5. Default  
    #55
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    Aug 2003
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    Tyler, Texas, United States
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    2,614
    Dark Angel asked something that I have been thinking about for days. What's with all the dumpster diving and building things with little money, aren't you a success yet?

    Very simply, if you actually pay people for doing work, acting, moving haunts, building things and generally provide employment, this alone might make you a success. Does it bring lots of money to you?? Actually in a lot of cases you can easily over spend and be in a long term hole and be paying out from other businesses for years. Not just 2 year or 3 years but try 20 years of judging how much has been done for others and just get lunch money every day.

    Some of the haunts I support are charities, others people with money but the proper mind set to have a certain budget and others may have only related to me about half the money they really owe out of embarrasment. Often I go through the profit and loss numbers that have been related to me and there seems to be $100,000 to $140,000 a year that just disapeared and they have no money to pay for some service or an entire haunt until November when it makes money.

    It is quite easy to spend all year long making and building and it does not equate to what can be made even supporting 5 locations in a seasonal business. So you have to evaluate what makes you a success. It comes down to being limited on what you can spend, how much travel you can do and how many thousands of hours you may put into something.

    So actually having done it over and over, to me, something that costs $2500 and only 40 people genuinely are excited about it, means I paid $62 per customer to make $20 per customer. Or when I figure out one of my vendors is spending $53 per item sold and for others that amount might approach $800 to $1000, everyone has some old "that's just the cost of doing business" bullshit line. Somehow that money had to be made to begin with. And when you are supporting such things with money, you need to know and question the end result. Especially when making money is generally something requiring had physical labor and not magic. It's called not wanting to get screwed over and over and over.

    In the real world, say you want to start a restaraunt and I'm just making up numbers, 200 people a night come and enjoy your wonderful dishes and it never varies in popularity. The profit might pay the staff and the overhead mortgage, utility costs and food costs. You got to eat because you own a restaraunt and the hidden accumulation of capital is only in the paying the mortgage. Any extra money you are having to buy new tables and chairs and carpeting just to keep customers coming and the prices of those items increase every year. When we moved into new offices the flooring cost $300. 6 years later it was $800. Of course we didn't increase how much me made times 3 in those years.

    So being a success is more in the line of don't you have any money yet asshole, it is more in the catagory of have you genuinely helped anyone to do what they wanted to do with their life. For me that's where all the money went. Do I want to spend what could easily be worth $100 an hour of my time in some other industry, for some customer that is going to be involved for a half hour of their entire life visiting a haunted house or to someone that is going to make this a life style. Which perpetuates the market as a whole and only then makes what I do for a living possibly make $120 a year hard cold profit.

    In many cases you are a success by just being able to continue and being clever enough not to have to fold because your behavior is ranking up too much debt or expenses piling up.

    All these stupid articles about owning your own business tell you to have 2 to 3 years of the total money saved and then spend that. So like who benefits from you spending all your savings? Everyone else. What's the difference from bootstrapping everything and everone benefits all along only you never lost a quarter million dollars over a long time.

    Haunted house things are something I have seen people make money with something that was only 12 foot by 20 feet. Then see that worked and jump to 8,000 SF then add 4,000 SF to that and then consider buying the building or bigger land somewhere. Still the original formula takes a few years to understand and it is different for any town. Just bowing lots of money has a high likely hood of just being that and not knowing why it didn't work. Or having any appreciation for what it took to make the original sum of money. SO what if you ruin you credit for the rest of your life, it sure was fun right? No, it was stupid.

    I really don't care what some arm chair hater has to question. Someone only marginally involved in things and easy to critisize. Not everyone is really cut out to be an owner or a contractor and the language people like that speak is entirely different than someone that wonders when is pay day and how many hours do I have to put in for that. Actually the owners wander around and might not consider their own hourly wage on something at all. OR worry about being compensated at all. Just seeing some half baked thing work is the pay off. IS the fun, is the life style. And I have had "the talk" with a lot of new haunters that are in their 3d or 4th year, but we can't pay our many people $50,000 a year full time off this seasonal thing! How about $20,000. Who said you needed to make $50,000 a year or you could make that. Welcome to the life style of owning a haunted attraction.

    That would be a great gig if you really only had to move your hands 4 months out of the year and made $50,000 per year. Except that doesn't exist anywhere so why would you expect owning a business was going to do that for you.

    SOme people do make money and they are doing by scamming helpers, scamming investors, scamming suppliers, and everything they do is a score and when the money comes to them it is THEIRS and no one esles. On the other side if you do what you are supposed to do, both morally and for long term, a seasonal business has seasonal income. The only way you can increase your income is to have hundreds of things going on rather than just one thing. In reality it is all so scattered and has potential but what really happens is not plannable until it happens and pays off, so spending time listing crap out is not adding to your possible pay off at all. You get paid by doing so, only do.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  6. Default  
    #56
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
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    2,614
    Another major point I missed is that many small business owners, do not get paid until that major asset, the restaraunt building or whole business is sold. Or in the case of a haunted house, the property is sold. The haunt itself may have a very insignificant value as used building materials and devices, the end game is that there is some asset that everything worked toward developing.

    If you can do all of this with out a loan whereas the term of the loan pretty much is signing paying twice the dollar value of what ever the loan is, the less you have to actually work and demand everyone else to work before that end asset is accumulated. Still a haunt event and the knowledge of how to do that might only have a total value of you can do it, it might never develop some major asset. The activity never stops. There is no big pay off. Retiring is not really retiring with some big saved pension, it is more like just quitting and having to go do something esle.

    So to some this freedom and the end limitations are completely acceptable. To others, it is foolishness if there is something else they enjoy doing that can pay more or develop more asset value. The entitire how you make money is borrow lots of money and go big to me is just accepting some kind of slavery. A slavery with no end in site where the end game is you lose everything or are listed as some criminal for not completing loan agreements. Or habitually pay things late.

    The entire act of channeling multiple streams of income into one thing that has no asset value what so ever is the reality for many. Plain and simple. Every transaction benefits someone else. So now what does that actually buy in the end. A place in posterity? Well thought of by a few and critisized by many? What. It isn't money. Still financially it is no different than buying fancy cars, boats, a McMansion a swimming pool, a european vacation, a summer home, what ever. Something you really don't need and may actually lose money on but it is part of your life style. So such things are supposed to be the spoils of being productive, they aren't supposed to be just because everyone else is doing it and so you take on a loan. Your loan value is always twice to 3 times the cost with insurance and the resale value is half or a third what the retail price was.

    Still you do these cycles of business to eat and pay bills over and over. In comparison the guy with the regular paycheck might be really proud of that amount the paycheck says but for some reason every few years they are unemployed for long periods of time so even that real life income amount is half of what it could have been. So it is just an assumption that the other guy must be so much more successful and it isn't. The only way you can rank it is do you have to work 80 hours a week because someone told you to do something over and over or are you doing it because you like what you are doing. And occasionally you can go without working at all if you met your quotas. With a job, you got in debt to have a degree that says you can do that one thing and even when the quotas are met you are expected to hang out for 50 hours a week and look productive somehow.

    So can you really be productive if someone wasn't telling you what you are supposed to be doing? Or would you routinely be looking for the next cycle of refunding. Well, things that don't need constant refunding are making money from the day they launch. Maybe not serious profits but at least covering all the expenses and costs. SO why not do it the other way. What kind of carrot are you going to chase when it all comes down to doing something every day that results in at least X amount of money. The problem seems to be always things that are supposed to make X to the factor of 5 or 10 seem to be very short term activities and possibly a scam.

    Scams are met with all kinds of retribution so you might make a million dollars but lost it in legal fees and fines. So it is better to make a million over a very long period of time treating everyone involved with some kind of value. If you do that immediate success is not obvious.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  7. Default  
    #57
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    Aug 2011
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    393
    A good read but Greg are you a writer? Every post is like 5+ long ass paragraphs lol

    But seriously lots of good points from all of you.


    Jake
     

  8. Default I Have Noticed 
    #58
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    Aug 2003
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    Ravens Grin Inn, 411 carroll st.mount carroll ill.
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    Reading about famously successful and rich people from say, 100 years ago or more, many of them could not sustain the ability to keep making the big money. And the few that sort of did that also many times ended up broke as some "Sharpie" took their fortune in some scam. Maybe the rich guy was that desperate to grab the big money again, and nothing else was now working for him?
    All haunters and haunter wanna-bees should read about P.T. Barnum's life. He was incredible! He knew how to often circumvent critical people that came after his basic business model whether it was him showing an actual black slave woman, purported to have been George Washington's nanny (and she was property to Barnum) Or how he cleared the idlers from his museum by just posting one mysterious sign, he had incredible lighting effects on the outside of his building in 1842 that seemed to be neon lights!?
    He went broke, regained his fortune by becoming a concert promoter, long before even The Rolling Stones were born!
    He made a fortune with his famous Circus as it traveled across a new , frontier land with few roads, and even bridges. Back in those olden times he advertised by posters nailed up 40 miles away from where the Circus would be appearing and people traveled that far just to see his show(Horse, Horse& buggy, how easy or fun would that have been?)
    David Buick patended the process to adhere porcelin to cast iron , creating the modern bathtub, he sold it, took that money and built Buick cars, sold that and a few years later froze to death in an alley as an alcoholic!
    The Vanderbuilt fortune was built upon junk bonds and other worthless pieces of paper he sold to suckers who lived across the river from him and could not legally make him make good or pay them back!
    Former President Grant was broke, had mouth Cancer, but wrote his civil War book in extreme pain and discomfort so his family would be supported after he died. He was the first person to use cocaine as a pain reliever, and his book was extremely accurate and famous as a historical record. He had an incredible memory for everything.
    My Dad's old neighbor had inherited a lot of money from his sister. where did she get it? From empting the waste basket everyday for her Boss who knew what shares of stock to buy better than most people did. Those millions are waiting to be dispursed to the city of Mount Carroll as his last heir dies and is to be used to build a city teen/youth center.. or maybe to rebuild the local haunted house, the Ravens Grin Inn? (ha ha ha!)
     

  9. Default  
    #59
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    Jul 2012
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    Mount Pleasant, MI
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrotherMysterio View Post
    He is quite amazing, isn't he?



    Well, based on everything I've seen and learned, I've come to one particular conclusion...

    • Can't afford to buy 100 zombie masks? Make your own.
    • Can't make your own? Use minimal make-up and keep your actors in the shadows.
    • Can't afford to buy 100 zombie costumes? Hit the thrift stores and start distressing.
    • Can't afford theatrical lighting? Use a few landscape spots for $6 from Lowe's, or use Allen's LED minispots.
    • Can't afford to theme a complete circus motif? Paint every other wall panel a primary circus color and throw in some LED multi-color Christmas lights bought on clearance.
    • Can't afford the paint? Leave things rustic, or get unused, recycled paint.
    • Can't afford plywood for walls? See if a construction company can dump their discards at your location, which saves them on dump fees at the local landfill.
    • Still can't get plywood? Use two discarded pallets for a wall panel. Instant Ridley Scott effect.
    • Still can't do walls? Use a nearby patch of woods and do a trail of terror.
    • Can't afford animatronics? Use puppetry were applicable.
    • Can't afford a lot of cast? Use multiple scare zones that allow a few actors a lot of scare opportunities.
    • Can't afford a proper strobe light for $40 a pop? Make one for $5.
    • Can't afford corpses? Put them in body bags.
    • Can't afford a full sound system? Use MP3 players and computer speakers.
    • Can't afford to do a full season haunt? Find a charity that needs a fundraiser and do a halloween event that can turn into a haunt.
    • Can't make a haunt happen no matter what you do? . . .


    . . . THEN HELP SOMEONE ELSE WITH THEIR HAUNT!!!!

    You won't find these sorts of solutions listed in books on how to file LLC's or how to write "business plans, and other assorted fictions". You come up with these solutions when you are obsessed with doing something haunt related, no matter what.

    This is how you learn the craft. This is how you become a pro-haunter.

    C.
    I believe this might possibly be the greatest post ever made on how to become a pro haunter.
     

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