I've been starting running and selling, taking over businesses since 1982. If I had only had a plan. Anyone that says they had a plan and it all worked out started out on a trust fund and they are lieing like a pro blohard on top of that.
Plan number one, earn the money somehow and never let someone or some entity take all the profits and potential the money you worked so hard to accumulate to make your business solvent by not paying intrest or having short term deadline pay back plans that amot to taking away your money. In other words go to work, report to only paying customers, yourself and collect the money. A bank, an accountant, a financial advisor all have plans to show you how you need to pay THEM and they don't really do anything except make work for YOU, add attorneys to that. Un less you are already driving around in a limo with an attorney and an accountant in the jump seats recording every time you give a hobo $3, plan to do these things yourself. Ask this question: Okay I give my money to a bald guy and then what happens? Answer, you don't have your money anymore.
Any further plans will not work out. Plans will not meet a schedule, someone elses approval and only be a waste of time talking instead of doing what makes money someday. I would want to know how these other guys got 8,000 to 10,000 attendees and there is the plan. It might have sounded so cool to only have a location for as long as you need it seasonally but really, if they made that much money and saw that many people 25% could easily have covered rent for a whole year so part of the plan is not to have money hogs around. Hogs that take money that could have paid rent somewhere for a long term stake in a business. And beware the you seem like a nice guy, this could be YOUR business! Chances are quiters walked away with the money you earned the hardway. I have taken over businesses and done people great favors getting them out from under all sorts of illusions and middle men they once had and you learn all mistakes you can possibly fall for that way.
Plan two, actually have some skilz that equate to money being earned rather than paying contractors to do things. You can only know by doing and chances are you have it all down and there is no reason to worry, you are already organized in your head and heart.
Plan three, forget the word business plan, it really pisses me off. It means you are totally scared or overwhelmed by having your own enterprise and have all the wrong people giving you advice. It is also pretty much an immediate laughable term if you talk to anyone that has made enough money they might be of assistance to you if not monitarily, with direction. Perhaps you think businesses become successful with really smart people with buzz words? Nope most of the best businesses dropped out of academia at some point (usually early) because there was an opportunity to engage in. How many haunted house owners learned this business in Princeton, Yale, MIT or that place in California oh yeah Stanford. Nope none. Those are the only people that like buzz words. The hedgemonic masses. You think it takes a big stack of cash to have your own business? Who told you that?
Plan four, step back and really determine if someone you would like to be like is a success or not. They can be a financial flop and actually quite happy or they may have a cash flow system and a belly full of 50 pounds of undigested meat that is going to put them into an early grave so what is the point of their stupid life anyhow? Even when evaluating haunts that claim to be successful, have they been in the same town and actually grown a business to something that is a load of fun or is a money machine or have they been a gypsy that thinks they are pretty clever. There have been some self proclaimed authors out there that several decades didn't really seem to work out and their college degree didn't seem to translate into real work. In fact I think college gave them all the idea that you try to get everyone to do something for you because you are somehow smart and that never seems to work out right because they never really did it themselves to be able to tell anyone else how to do something.
Really how difficult is it? Just keep working your butt off enduring pain and injuries and near death experiences while everyone laughs until you need counciling only you don't talk to mind benders you go to the laundromat and go back to work. Eventually decades later you have something that works and has proven to work in your town. Then it is even then not a business plan, it is a sort of formula you try to go by. A network of people that evolves over time and changes with every dip and rise of the economy that can never be planned for.
Plan five, plan for failure. If you don't see what doesn't work, how will you ever identify what does work? If you don't work you aren't learing. If you fail then what? Did you simply go for decades not having a vacation or do you owe someone a lot of money? What is your exist strategy? Build the stuff nice enough that it actually has some sales value? Have a trailer big enough to take everything to the land fill? Give it away to younger aspiring haunters? Are you gonna pay storage bills on all of this stuff until it rots? You want a plan the guarentees success? Spend $375,000 for a good subway sandwitch francise location and become a sandwitch artist when people don't show up. Get about 30 locations and you might make about $300 a week with out ever having to punch the time clock, after taxes. It is so simple.
Plan six, to have a sustainable business means doing the same thing over and over and getting results. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity.
Plan seven, do what you have to do with the least amount of overhead and stuff. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to fix all the time and there are relative costs to that.
Plan eight, if you don't plan on seeing 8,000 to 10,000 people in a town that just proved there is such a market, then you better have something. If it is okay to just exist with even lower numbers, you need to own the property outright or that this is the ultimate plan that is saves money over great time in the property and anything over $20 a day is a party. Or do the haunt for charity. A great number of successful haunts that have lasted the test of time began trying to make a charity work or took over an existing attraction that they had worked at for a few years in positions where the could see everything. Not a few days.
Plan nine, just say no to bugs.
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.