There's money to be made, fun to be had, and success to be experienced in nightlife. But just as any other business or industry, starting off on the wrong foot could lead to closing an establishment as soon as it opens. That's why it's key to strategize on every essential element involved with the business before welcoming in your first patrons.
With over 12 years of nightlife experience, Eugene David Abreu, CEO of Privileged Marketing Group in New York City, has been around the block when it comes to advising owners about the adversity involved with opening a successful nightlife establishment. Developing a unique brand is the name of the game, and Abreu has experience working with the cream of the crop, serving as brand ambassador for names like Henessy V.S. One thing's for sure, if you're looking for sound advice as you work toward your opening night, he has it.
There are key ingredients involved in the makeup of a successful club start-up strategy, but according to Abreu, these should be at the top of your list:
Prepare to create a story
While it's far from a creative writing project, it's important to create a story. This depends on the feelings that you want your patrons to sense once they walk through the doors. This goes hand in hand with the concept of the venue and needs to relate to the individuals that you want consistently coming back. "Give your place an identity, a meaning, core values, and integrity," Abreu says. "In the end, it's not a great name that will make your place great, it's a great place that will make your name great."
Sh*t happens! Prepare the budget for it.
The Notorious B.I.G. once said "the more money you make, the more problems you get." Well, you can throw that quote out of the window in this case. The more money you intend to spend on opening up a club, the more you should have prepared in case things go wrong. Operators tend to feel at ease after raising the capital for their establishment, however, when things go wrong, it may not be enough. Abreu believes that a mistake many club start-ups make is opening too early. That’s because they need to start generating revenue to cover costs and debt. Unfortunately, they need to prepare for that before getting wrapped up in the situation. "Excitement and anxiety causes us to pull the trigger too soon and sabotage our dreams, so I typically advise to always double the amount you have planned to spend on the project because sh*t happens."
Build a nightlife dream team
While there is an "i" in nightclub, there is none in "success." The golden rule to having a successful opening night and achieving longevity in this cut-throat industry is having a dedicated team around you. "Let's be real, [not all] club owners are experts in every aspect of the business, but some seem to think they can do it all on their own because they have a few hefty investors in their pocket," Abreu says. That's the kind of attitude that has a negative impact on the success of the venue. Instead, he advises that one does the best they possibly can to find talented individuals - be it managers, event coordinators, designers, food and beverage directors, ect. - to put together a rock-solid team. "They don't have to be the best of the best, but good enough to fit your vision and take the lead in their respective line of work," he says. "Dream teams are key."