2. The Ownership/Management
Two major factors come to mind when analyzing the management for a property. First, do the owners and/or managers have adequate experience operating a profitable business, preferably in the customer service sector? Second, do they have direct experience in the aerial adventure park field, or at least in the adventure business field?
It is not uncommon for owners to have a full resume in one of these criteria and be completely lacking in the other. If that is the case, you may want to consider looking for a partner or full-time manager who has significant experience in areas that fall within your proverbial blind spots. A strong recruiting strategy can put together a powerful management team. Just be aware that this requires some effort on the front end.
Whether you will be the owner, manager, or both, visit as many aerial parks as you can. Keep an eye on how they run the business. Ask questions of the managers and guides. All this will help you refine and establish your own practices.
If you are new to business, there are several good general business courses available. Be sure to check out the Small Business Administration and SCORE. They most likely have a local office near you and can be a great resource.
3. The Money
Let’s face it. This is not a cheap business to get into. Between design and construction, land, zoning, training, inspection, staff, and insurance, you can invest well into six or even seven figures before opening day. It always seems to take more capital than expected. You will want to consider how much cash you have on hand, what your startup and ongoing costs will be, and how much capital you will need on any given day in order to operate. Additionally, you will want to know your break-even point, so that you can forecast when you can start paying back your investors and turning a profit.
Speaking of investors and profits, they will want to see that there is a viable source of income to be earned from your business, which brings us to…
4. The Market
Seriously investigate who your customers will be. This begins with looking into population numbers and demographics in your targeted area. One of the prime markets for aerial adventure parks is mid-affluent families. Also, be sure to note age as well as income level. The U.S. Census Bureau can be a good resource for this information.