An update on our community space plans.
We need to make 2.5L a month to safely cover all our monthly costs. This is a bit of uncharted territory for me personally, given all the previous projects have been somewhat within my disposal income to not have to think about needing to make ends meet. Though ReRoll Board Games has been making a small profit for years that we use to buy new games.
With a commercial space there are near-infinite ways to try and make money, but we want to focus on ones that line up with our goals of being a space for communities that we want to see grow. Anything that deviates from this feels like a slippery slope that ends in us turning into another co-working space in Indiranagar.
That said, it’s not always possible for communities to bear the cost of the underlying space and time - otherwise everyone would have their own venue. Atleast with a cafe or pub, the venue is making money from the attendees - but we are decidedly not interested in F&B. This whole project only really works if we can find ways to subside our costs by making up the money elsewhere, so here’s the plan to do that.
The most straightforward avenue for this initially is to do corporate/private board game and puzzled pint-style events for companies and groups like a team building activity, birthday parties, etc. We’ll package a few hours of games with some outsourced catering at the space. We will do the hosting, teaching of games, etc. If we can do 3-4 of these a month at a decent price point, say 30-40k for 40 people for 2-3 hours, we’ll find ourselves in a more comfortable position. Over the years we’ve had companies reach out for a private event, but we’ve usually said no because of the logistical hassle. With our own space we can give a better experience while also making it easier for us operationally.
If you’d like to have your company or private group over to play games and puzzles, please get in touch.
We’re also exploring if there is any value we can give for someone to sponsor a particular community that we host. A majority of existing sponsors usually lean towards F&B venues, so we’re a bit unsure of this. This will depend a lot on what kind of regular events we do - we think something like chess, jigsaw puzzles, or even board games can be viable to find a sponsor for.
We’d be silly to not take up well-wishers who want to help support this venue directly. I think once we have a floorplan/layout I’d be more comfortable having this conversation since I’d like people to have a better idea of what they are supporting, rather than just relying on our personal social capital. We’re very fortunate to be in a place to even have this option.
Lastly and most crucially, we have direct ticketing revenue. We want events to be paid as we’ve found that it makes the incentives for the community and the organiser line up. In our experience, being transparent about what things cost and how it’s priced go a really long way in how people feel about it. For example, we’ve had very few complaints when we increased our Tabletop Thursday tickets from 200 to 300, despite there not being a cafe because we explained the reasoning and made sure that it was available to read before customers bought a ticket. Getting to a place where attendees are paying for the entire event cost is definitely achievable and is fundamental to the long-term success of this venue.
We also have a bunch of other ideas at various levels of clarity - from a decked-out TRPG room that people can rent to run their campaigns, to hosting intimate acoustic gigs - but more on those later.
Aside: This isn’t a philanthropic project. I think I tend to make it sound that way while talking about it because the power-dynamic is already skewed towards venues and I feel the need to correct for that.
We want to make money out of this. This post is talking about 2.5L, but we are aiming for multiples of that so we can explore doing this full time, hire well-paid staff, and more. I feel unambiguously comfortable charging for something when it’s all against meeting expenses. I feel different when it’s about profits. This is a me problem, because while it’s true that I should also value my time, I don’t know how to put a number to that. So I’ll put it this way - I want us to make money, and when we’re making more than our expenses, we will make sure to do it in a way where the organisers who help us get there also get to participate in the upside.