Every modern gentleman enjoys a raucous night out on the town, but have you ever considered taking your love for the nightlife a step further? Opening a nightclub is a popular endeavor among entrepreneurs, and for good reason. Bustling atmospheres, the inherent prestige, and potential profits are enough to entice even the most hesitant of entrepreneurs. However, owning your own club can mean long, stressful hours at the “office”, huge capital investments, and legal stipulations that can leave you vulnerable to a variety of unsavory aspects of the business. If you’re considering opening your own club, keep these strategies in mind.
Write a Detailed Business Plan
Before approaching investors, looking at vendors, and scouting locations, you need to sit down and write a detailed business plan that outlines how you will run your business, what type of clientele you’ll target, and realistically what revenue you can expect. There’s tough competition in the club industry, so you’ll need to do your research and be prepared to explain your reasoning to investors when the time comes.
Securing the Right Financing
Opening a nightclub can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. When you’re ready to approach financers, there are a variety of options to choose from. Many club owners access their financing through grants, but you may also seek loans. Traditional loans have become much harder to come by thanks to the last decade’s recession, and your chance of approval will be based largely on your credit score, debt history, and proof of revenue potential. You can apply for a small business loan through the SBA on SBA.gov; generally, business owners with proven previous success may have a better chance of approval. You may also consider hard money lending, private funds from angel investors, or even a club crowdfunding campaign, but all of these options can be risky and/or cost you more in interest.
Scout Your Location
Location, location, location—it couldn’t be more important. Depending on how you want your bar to look, what kind of clientele you hope to attract, and what you’re willing to spend, you’ll need to scout numerous locations. It’s also important to decide whether you intend on renting for the foreseeable future or whether you’re planning to purchase the building itself. As you take a look at locations, consider the neighborhood; will residents consistently report noise disturbances thanks to rowdy patrons? Is it easy to access, or is it off the beaten path? Is there plenty of parking? These are just a few of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself as you scout. Consider using the help of a professional real estate agent experienced in commercial buildings
Acquire Your Liquor License
What’s a nightclub without alcohol? Unsuccessful. You’ll need to acquire a liquor license, which can be a difficult process that can vary by location. For example, in California, there are numerous types of alcohol permits available, but they’re limited in number. If the government has already issued their quota of liquor licenses, you’ll have to approach private sellers, who can easily mark up their prices due to high demand. Nightclubs and bars require a type 48 liquor license, which allows a business to serve alcohol in an establishment open only to those 21 and older. Club owners have paid anywhere between hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars for the right liquor license, so it’s important to look at your finances and have a realistic view of just how much you’ll need to spend to open up a nightclub in your area of choice.
Source Equipment and Furniture
You’ll need to take your time when it comes to design. Nightclubs are about prestige, exclusivity, comfort, and class. Finding the right bar stools, chairs, tables, couches, and décor is essential. Consider using the services of an interior designer; because theme and atmosphere are vital to success, you may find their advice to be invaluable. Check out ModaSeating.com for nightclub furniture that will cultivate the experience you’re hoping to provide.
Beyond these essentials, you’ll also be tasked with hiring and training staff, promoting your opening, and seeking out liquor vendors. While opening a nightclub can be a lucrative endeavor, it’s also rife with risk, so proceed with caution.
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