Starting up a Video Game LAN Center Email Bag

I try to almost always answer emails from people inquiring about staring their own Video Game LAN Center.  Sometimes I am tired and busy and I just send a short answer.  Sometimes I spend way too much time.  I thought it might help to start copying down some of the questions/emails I get here on my blog along with my answers so that it might cut down on repetitive questions and allow me to start referring people here for more basic answers.  I will leave the names off for privacy reasons.

**********************

10/23/2013

Hi Zack,

I have been planning to start up  a lan center and while browsing the web I saw your wordpress page and I would like to get some tips as I am starting from scratch and I’m lost. I have no experience at all start a business and I would like to ask you a couple of questions that could really help me. I know you are really busy and I`ll try to keep it short.

Question:
-Did you start it by yourself or by a group?
-Did you get professional help for a business plan?
-How did you get the capital for this business?

Feel free to ask me any questions.

I look forward to hear from you .

Thank you

Regards,
__________

********************************************

My single best advice to you is to find a partner who knows business and especially starting a small business.  Not necessarily a game center, but just someone who can help handle the business side.
The best chance of running a successful game center has to do with a person’s knowledge of running a small business and has nothing to do with a knowledge of gaming.
To answer your questions specifically:
I started the center in 2004 by myself after running LAN events at our church for a few months.
I had already started 3 other businesses before I started eBash.  A software company, an ISP and a sporting equipment online retail store.
I started the store mainly by leasing the equipment through a small business leasing center.  In 2004 that was very easy to do.  Today that is almost impossible and most small equipment leasing companies are gone.
Zack
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2 thoughts on “Starting up a Video Game LAN Center Email Bag

  1. Zack,

    I have a few detailed question about how you guys run the back-end of your stores.

    I am currently helping a friend of mine update his store. Currently they run with CyberCafe which is out of date.

    We were looking at using Smartlaunch but they advise us to use a complete standalone dedicated server. My problem is That’s super expensive and I was hoping to use an old desktop as my server instead of a full rack. I asked them if we could use this instead but they haven’t gotten back to me.

    i was mostly wondering if you guys use a full server and what software you use. I was hoping to stop by your store maybe next year and check it out but that would be quite a trip.

    I am also wondering about your website, who you used to build it and who is hosting.

    I mainly ask these things because you guys have been around for so long I would expect you have hit a lot of roadblocks and made a lot of mistakes and I’m hoping to avoid the most costly ones

    Also any quick tips for setup?

    Thanks in advance,
    Trevor

    • Trevor,
      You can run SL on a workstation level machine, it doesn’t require a dedicated server. If your data grows too large, that means the center is doing well and you can afford to upgrade to a beefier machine.

      We built our own website, these days website “building” is super easy anyway. Just get a wordpress site like my blog here and you can download a free template or purchase a nicer one. Then just point your domain name to your blog.

      There is no such thing as quick tips in this business. 🙂

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