Board game events side business: what can I do better?

Hey guys

I thought I'd share with you some information about my side project and would really appreciate it if you could critique it and suggest how I could improve things. Any critical feedback on any aspect would be really helpful.

What is the business? I host boardgame events in cool venues in my city (Leeds, UK). I try to make these really inclusive and welcoming, where people can play old classics (Scrabble, Guess Who, Jenga) or try new stuff (Ticket to Ride, Sushi Go!, Pandemic) in a relaxing atmosphere. Basically I take along my collection of 50+ board games and charge £2 per person to stay and play as many games as they like. I only partner with venues that serve really good coffee, cake and beer as this is all part of the experience I want to create. My mission is to introduce as many people to boardgames as possible and the social experience that comes with it. Target audience is very broad, I want this to be something that families, couple, groups of friends can all enjoy as well as just "hobby board gamers".

What am I looking to achieve? For me this is all about learning new skills. I have a decent job as a junior at a law firm but don't find the corporate lifestyle very fulfilling. Owning and running my own enterprise has always really appealed to me so I started this board game events project as a way to see if I could build something from nothing. Figuring out how to do stuff I've never done before (hosting events, talking to local business owners, building a wordpress site, running social media campaigns, designing marketing materials) has been really exciting and I want to see how far I can take this. Financial returns are not the top priority, any money I make gets reinvested on marketing or goes on adding more boardgames to the collection (however I have so far and want to continue to run the project to break even rather than lose money).

Current status / challenges – I started the project back in March and now have two recurring events each month and growing followings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so I'm really happy with how things are going. However I'm aware that so much could be made better, one of the difficulties in having is promoting the events to the right target audience. Another is figuring out a good process for hosting the events (I spend a lot of time talking to people and teaching games which makes welcoming new customers and collecting money difficult).

I'd really critical appreciate feedback on any aspect of the project. I'm willing to share any details anybody is interesting in hearing, so just let me know if there's something I've missed. Some of the things I'm thinking about are:

  • How could the online presence be improved?
  • How should I manage current / seek out new venues?
  • How could I improve the events themselves?
  • What would be the best use of my marketing budget?
  • What physical marketing products should I purchase?
  • What alternative revenue streams should I pursue?

All my web presence stuff is as follows:

http://theboardgameguy.co.uk/ – this is my first attempt at a WordPress site, so I'm aware it's not great. Grateful for any hacks or tips.

https://www.facebook.com/theboardgameguy/ – I have an event page for each event so rely on this a lot.

https://twitter.com/boardgameguylds?lang=en – probably the most active on here, I promote events and talk a bit about board games and the local area generally

https://www.instagram.com/theboardgameguy/ – trying to use this more. It feels like I reach a lot of event attendees through this but my photography skills are great so I don’t post as often as I should!

Thanks in advance for your comments!

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