</a>Many aspiring <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/">entrepreneurs</a> </strong>dream of opening a hot nightspot that attracts <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/tag/celebrity/">A-list celebrities</a></strong> and a crowd eager to spend their money to take in the ambiance while sipping pricey wines and spirits. But this type of business is tricky. It requires the right décor, location, <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2011/02/18/12-things-every-entrepreneurs-needs-to-suceed/">marketing</a></strong>, food and drink and sometimes a bit of luck to avoid the astronomical failure rate these ventures have to contend with. But don't close the doors just yet. Industry experts and successful entrepreneurs recommend the following steps to ensure you’ve got the best chance at winning in this highly competitive field.
<strong></a>Learn the ropes. </strong>There’s no substitute for hands on experience, behind the bar, at the door, or in a management position. A good resource for more information on the industry is the<a href="http://www.ncbshow.com/" target="_blank"> </a><strong><a href="http://www.ncbshow.com/" target="_blank">Nightclub & Bar/Beverage Retailer/Food & Beverage Convention & Trade Show</a>. </strong>This national event attracts thousands of people working in the hospitality industry.
<strong></a>Don’t open on a whim. </strong>Being a successful nightclub owner is not just about having enough money to open, it’s about having enough to stay open. Think through your idea for a club. Create a business plan that outlines all your ideas and strategies for implementing those ideas.
<strong></a>Fill a niche. </strong>Don’t open a reggae club where there are already 10 reggae clubs. Find a void that needs to be filled. If you’re in a suburban area it might be a sports bar. Be sure to study the demographics of the neighborhood and what its’ residents like and dislike.
<strong></a>Get your own brand. </strong>Don't try to duplicate someone else's success. The whole idea is to make your club unique. It's about branding now and the trick is to make people want to come back again and bring their friends.
<strong>Don’t go it alone. </strong>Starting a nightclub can create a huge financial burden. To ease your money woes, take on a <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2011/03/28/5-rules-for-a-successful-business-partnership/">partner</a></strong> or two. In addition to pooling your cash, you can also combine your experience and skills set.
<strong>Raise and save. </strong>Banks and other <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2011/03/23/3-ways-to-make-your-company-attractive-to-venture-capitalists/">investors</a></strong> tend to loosen the purse strings when business owners throw some of their own money into the mix. If possible, try to raise half of the total start-up costs. It could go a long way to securing the needed capital for your club.
<strong>Check ID. </strong>Don’t let an underage person with a fake ID put you out of business. If you’re caught serving alcohol to underage drinkers you could not only lose your liquor license, but your entire club. Install ID verification systems and use them religiously.
<strong></a>Tend your bar. </strong>Monitor your bartenders. Over-pouring can lead to big financial problems. With formally trained bartenders this is not an issue. But if you’re thinking about hiring someone who learned to bartend at friend’s parties, think again.
<strong></a>Hire people you trust. </strong>You can’t be at the club around the clock, so hire people who are as committed as you to the business. It’s not a bad idea to bring on family wherever possible.
<strong>Create a buzz. </strong>Now that you’ve built the club, will they come? That depends on how you promote it. Use the tried-and-true methods such as drink specials, <strong><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/tag/celebrity/">celebrity performances</a></strong>, reduced admission before a certain hour, and the wildly popular “ladies get in free.” Just remember that the public is fickle and a club can go from ‘hot’ to ‘not’ in just a matter of months. Start with a strong promotions campaign. <ul> <li><strong><em>Ready to open your own business? Join us at Black Enterprise's annual Entrepreneurs Conference, taking place May 22-25, 2011 in Atlanta Georgia. Visit <a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/ec/" target="_blank">blackenterprise.com/ec</a> for more details. As an incentive BE is offering you a discount on early registration: Enter code BEDG295 and receive $200 off.</em></strong><!–/inside–></li> </ul> <!–/inside–>