Need thoughts on expanding my offline business

23 replies
I'm a longtime WF member but need some thoughts on expanding my offline business.

My business is running comic conventions and I have a largest one-day comic con in Texas. We regularly get 50-60,000 visitors to a show day. All uniques. Our largest competitors do shows monthly somewhere in the United States but only get 10,000 unique visitors per show, which makes my show very valuable to advertisers and vendors, etc.

I want to expand my show into other cities but I don't necessarily want to travel to other cities to do it, so was thinking of licensing my name and reputation to other promoters.

One time license fee to use logo/name
Monthly support includes:
Support to get celebrities to attend
Ongoing licensing
Connecting to cosplayers, etc
More...

People can do all this on their own, but I already have and have a reputation and 33k Instagram followers to boot.

Thoughts?
#business #expanding #offline #thoughts
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  • Profile picture of the author jmosticc22
    I would treat it like a franchise, that is kind of what you are already geared toward. Upfront initiation fee then monthly/per show franchisee fees. Sounds like your reputation is worth some money and you are headed down the right path.
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  • Profile picture of the author alexobyrne
    Yes as said before, treat exactly like a franchise. Guarantee a certain number of people to an event for them and spend a bit of marketing to make that happen then let them go on their own. Obviously you help with other stuff too but you get the idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Now that you have this huge membership list of buyers who are fanatics...what else are you selling them?
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    • Profile picture of the author themikerogers
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Now that you have this huge membership list of buyers who are fanatics...what else are you selling them?

      My list is actually small since my direct customers are retailers that need traffic to their product. Which is what I provide to them. They get new customers and I get happy customers that are willing to spend money on me.

      In the end, my customers are reaching more and possibly new customers at a cost much lower than what they would normally have spent to do so. Their cost is less than 1c per customer on average.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
        Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

        My list is actually small since my direct customers are retailers that need traffic to their product. Which is what I provide to them. They get new customers and I get happy customers that are willing to spend money on me.

        In the end, my customers are reaching more and possibly new customers at a cost much lower than what they would normally have spent to do so. Their cost is less than 1c per customer on average.
        You aren't capturing the details of the 60K visitors daily...??

        I'd start that at once.
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        • Profile picture of the author savidge4
          Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

          You aren't capturing the details of the 60K visitors daily...??

          I'd start that at once.
          AS IN YESTERDAY.
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  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

    I'm a longtime WF member but need some thoughts on expanding my offline business.

    My business is running comic conventions and I have a largest one-day comic con in Texas. We regularly get 50-60,000 visitors to a show day. All uniques. Our largest competitors do shows monthly somewhere in the United States but only get 10,000 unique visitors per show, which makes my show very valuable to advertisers and vendors, etc.

    I want to expand my show into other cities but I don't necessarily want to travel to other cities to do it, so was thinking of licensing my name and reputation to other promoters.

    One time license fee to use logo/name
    Monthly support includes:
    Support to get celebrities to attend
    Ongoing licensing
    Connecting to cosplayers, etc
    More...

    People can do all this on their own, but I already have and have a reputation and 33k Instagram followers to boot.

    Thoughts?
    What's documented?
    Can you hand over a manual that tells someone new to this how to run all aspects of the convention?
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

    I'm a longtime WF member but need some thoughts on expanding my offline business.

    My business is running comic conventions and I have a largest one-day comic con in Texas. We regularly get 50-60,000 visitors to a show day. All uniques. Our largest competitors do shows monthly somewhere in the United States but only get 10,000 unique visitors per show, which makes my show very valuable to advertisers and vendors, etc.

    I want to expand my show into other cities but I don't necessarily want to travel to other cities to do it, so was thinking of licensing my name and reputation to other promoters.

    One time license fee to use logo/name
    Monthly support includes:
    Support to get celebrities to attend
    Ongoing licensing
    Connecting to cosplayers, etc
    More...

    People can do all this on their own, but I already have and have a reputation and 33k Instagram followers to boot.

    Thoughts?
    The real money would be to do everything for them as a complete packaged service. You book everything, make the calls, send out the e-mails to your list of dealers/booth renters/companies/attendees. Of course, they pay for everything (site rental, direct mail, your fee, celebrities).

    The difference in fee is immense. You may be able to sell a manual and "do it yourself" kit for $2,000. But if you do everything for them? If you can show that you regularly make $200,000 a show, you can sell the service for $70,000. And they pay you before you do the work. So there is no risk on your part.

    Why wouldn't you just put on all the shows yourself? Cash flow. But eventually, you would put them all on yourself. Your best prospects for this might be some of the companies that have exhibits at your shows.

    The only reason I suggest this is that there are a very limited number of people able and willing to put on a comicon, even if you teach them how to do everything. How many comicons a year can there be in Ohio?
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    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      You may be able to sell a manual and "do it yourself" kit for $2,000.
      Disagree. We licence 20 page leadgen booklets for more than that on an annual basis. Got the idea from an interview with a guy who told of how he had sold 11,000 copies @ $2 a copy - $22,000 for a booklet he already had.

      I also help small business owners document and licence their "business in a manual" and if I was only making $2,000 it wouldn't be worthwhile.

      It really needs to be a package to make it really easy to duplicate your success.

      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      But if you do everything for them? If you can show that you regularly make $200,000 a show, you can sell the service for $70,000. And they pay you before you do the work. So there is no risk on your part.
      You can do the same with a manual. Have someone else do the work.

      OP, do you think McDonalds would have become so big if they'd just licenced the name? It works because wherever you go in the world you get a genuine McBurger.

      And the franchisee gets an idiots guide to how to make such a burger.

      If you just licence your name, and someone runs a total shambles, or even just not up to your usual standard, then it's your name that will suffer.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

        Disagree. We licence 20 page leadgen booklets for more than that on an annual basis. Got the idea from an interview with a guy who told of how he had sold 11,000 copies @ $2 a copy - $22,000 for a booklet he already had.

        I also help small business owners document and licence their "business in a manual" and if I was only making $2,000 it wouldn't be worthwhile.

        It really needs to be a package to make it really easy to duplicate your success.

        .

        We aren't disagreeing. Licencing a manual is a different sale than selling a manual.

        Of course you can sell your "Business in a box" for whatever the market will bear. I was mentioning a common price point I see from guys selling in a seminar format.

        But selling a "Done for you" package can be sold for much more to an individual. Literally their only requirement is that they give you money. It also pretty much guarantees that the event will be a success. And when you are licencing your name, that's important. And I have found that complete "Done for you" services are easier to sell (even at vastly higher price points) than an information product, no matter how complete.

        The reason I was mentioning going for the biggest individual sale, is that the market of potential event producers is small, and territory is an issue. Like I said before, how many events can you put on in Ohio this year?

        There are a lot of ways to monetize this.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Have a hard time believing your customers are paying less than 1 cent per customer.

    I think you're saying less than 1 cent per interest...or view...or walk through which doesn't mean they're a customer. When you say customer...most assume you're talking sales.

    If the 1 cent per customer were true you wouldn't be asking about expanding because you'd be hiring people to manage things.

    So my guess is you're saying based on what they pay for inclusion in your event, they're having the customers walk by and based on that divided by cost and traffic it's less than 1 cent.

    Problem with the license thing is you're gonna have people who would do it...but they're not probably gonna want to share. So you need to narrow the license deal to one organization that gets results.

    Trade shows get a ton of viewers but they're not called customers.

    So if I'm reading your post right, you're saying you do what they do in San Diego with the comic con thing? (or you are the one that puts that on)

    I've done a lot of license deals (should say a few), but I've found it can be a selfish thing among those that will agree to a license agreement...they aren't willing to share.

    My own belief is that without doing this yourself or having a lot of involvement, you won't be able to expand. Just having a hard time believing the less than 1 cent per customer with what I know from your post.

    As far as the book thing...you would have a very limited audience that would buy...as already said, you'd have to charge a lot to make it profitable.

    We do have those events at the fairgrounds here in Ohio where I live. Kinda like the gun shows, etc.

    Maybe I'm just not reading your post right...not sure.
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    • Profile picture of the author themikerogers
      This is what I mean...

      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      So my guess is you're saying based on what they pay for inclusion in your event, they're having the customers walk by and based on that divided by cost and traffic it's less than 1 cent.

      $150 for booth space divided by 60,000 potential customers = .0025 per person.



      I have no intention of making books or videos on how to do it. It would be too time consuming.
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

        I have no intention of making books or videos on how to do it. It would be too time consuming.
        And the downhill slide begins.

        If you think franchise for a moment. I have the original subway and I want to sell the right to open more.. there had better be a book, some videos.. SOMETHING in place to ensure its at least better than close to the original... that's YOUR reputation.

        Isnt there a case about a FortNite event gone wrong recently?

        If an event falls short and has YOUR name on it.. whos fault is it?
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

        This is what I mean...




        $150 for booth space divided by 60,000 potential customers = .0025 per person.



        I have no intention of making books or videos on how to do it. It would be too time consuming.
        That's too bad. Do you know how to licence? If you aren't going to create a complete information package, then you will be offering a complete "done for you" service.

        A few people will pay for a complete information package, including consulting time with you. A heavy commitment of time and effort on your part. Or they want hand holding...and they want you to do everything. A heavy commitment of time and effort on your part.

        What you are suggesting in your first post (and the bolded portion above) is only going to appeal to people who are already putting on Comicons, and just need a little help with cosplayers, celebrities, and maybe marketing.

        But presenting it to investors? People who haven't put on a comicon yet? You better be prepared to do everything for them, or build a comprehensive information package that you can sell for a chunk of money.

        And creating manuals and videos is no more time consuming than any other business start up. If you are going to be selling this to newbies, you need a comprehensive presentation. Answering every potential question and concern, building value. A heavy load right there.

        Unless you are going to sell your offer for $1,000 per event to established comicon producers. Then much of this isn't needed.

        And how would you sell it? One on one? in a seminar setting? To your booth buyers?

        Marketing 101 is to know exactly who you will sell to, how to get a hold of them, how to pitch them.....and then you worry about how to fulfill.
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        • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
          Because of posts like this one by Claude. And the stuff by Savidge4, max5ty, animal44, Jason K, Princess B, and others in this subforum, is enough value to keep us coming back.

          Even when, or if, not necessarily referring to this Original Poster, but...often the advice given is not the advice wanted. So the OP either argues his point, or just leaves and ignores the advice.

          And many times, the value is in the questions which are asked by EXPERIENCED business people.

          When someone, anyone, laments that an answer is "too time consuming", it is a red flag tossed onto the playing field, and experience tells us...best not waste anymore of our time because a "man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still".

          With all the modern tools of leverage, including ghost writers and dictation/transcription services, manuals, books, courses, how to can be knocked out very quickly.

          Good luck to the OP. See you in the funny papers.

          GordonJ





          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          That's too bad. Do you know how to licence? If you aren't going to create a complete information package, then you will be offering a complete "done for you" service.

          A few people will pay for a complete information package, including consulting time with you. A heavy commitment of time and effort on your part. Or they want hand holding...and they want you to do everything. A heavy commitment of time and effort on your part.

          What you are suggesting in your first post (and the bolded portion above) is only going to appeal to people who are already putting on Comicons, and just need a little help with cosplayers, celebrities, and maybe marketing.

          But presenting it to investors? People who haven't put on a comicon yet? You better be prepared to do everything for them, or build a comprehensive information package that you can sell for a chunk of money.

          And creating manuals and videos is no more time consuming than any other business start up. If you are going to be selling this to newbies, you need a comprehensive presentation. Answering every potential question and concern, building value. A heavy load right there.

          Unless you are going to sell your offer for $1,000 per event to established comicon producers. Then much of this isn't needed.

          And how would you sell it? One on one? in a seminar setting? To your booth buyers?

          Marketing 101 is to know exactly who you will sell to, how to get a hold of them, how to pitch them.....and then you worry about how to fulfill.
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          • Profile picture of the author themikerogers
            Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

            Because of posts like this one by Claude. And the stuff by Savidge4, max5ty, animal44, Jason K, Princess B, and others in this subforum, is enough value to keep us coming back.

            Even when, or if, not necessarily referring to this Original Poster, but...often the advice given is not the advice wanted. So the OP either argues his point, or just leaves and ignores the advice.

            And many times, the value is in the questions which are asked by EXPERIENCED business people.

            When someone, anyone, laments that an answer is "too time consuming", it is a red flag tossed onto the playing field, and experience tells us...best not waste anymore of our time because a "man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still".

            With all the modern tools of leverage, including ghost writers and dictation/transcription services, manuals, books, courses, how to can be knocked out very quickly.

            Good luck to the OP. See you in the funny papers.

            GordonJ

            Your advice is why I posted it and I see now that making manuals and videos will be required for me to expand like I want to do so.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

    I'm a longtime WF member but need some thoughts on expanding my offline business.

    My business is running comic conventions and I have a largest one-day comic con in Texas. We regularly get 50-60,000 visitors to a show day. All uniques. Our largest competitors do shows monthly somewhere in the United States but only get 10,000 unique visitors per show, which makes my show very valuable to advertisers and vendors, etc.

    I want to expand my show into other cities but I don't necessarily want to travel to other cities to do it, so was thinking of licensing my name and reputation to other promoters.

    One time license fee to use logo/name
    Monthly support includes:
    Support to get celebrities to attend
    Ongoing licensing
    Connecting to cosplayers, etc
    More...

    People can do all this on their own, but I already have and have a reputation and 33k Instagram followers to boot.

    Thoughts?
    My thought is: you have something more valuable, but are limiting your market. Consider this: offering your expertise as a SUCCESSFUL Conference/Event/Seminar PROMOTER.

    You don't need to limit yourself to Comic Book Conventions. The event you've held successfully has the step-by-step information which could be used by anyone who wants to put on a conference.

    And I suggest you become a conference consultant. Fellow Warrior Marcia Yudkin, has a good book you might want to read, it is 6 STEPS TO FREE PUBLICITY 3rd Edition. The reason I recommend it is, it has chapters on CONFERENCE PLANNING.

    There are thousands of conferences, big and small, and more every year.

    With some twists and marketing, you can collect some pretty large fees for sharing your knowledge, and if you want to expand, you TRAIN some licensees to be the Conference Go To Consultant in their region. Sure, you can include comic books.

    But the organization and EXECUTION of the event can be done with Sports Cards/Memorbilia.

    Antique Shows.
    Bridal Shows.
    And down scaled to individuals who just want to do their own regional conferences but are clueless as to how to do it.

    Your manual could be like those old ENTREPRENEUR manuals. You probably qualify for designations like CMP Certified Marketing Planner or CSEP a Certified Special Events Specialist, and if not, start your own ASSOCIATION.

    The ComCon & Event Specialist, and YOU do the certifications at 1500 bux a pop for a 100 people a year, renewable year by year.

    My point is, you have EXPERTISE, because you have done it, and done it successfully, you know how to contact venues, do the contracts, get the vendors, arrange the place, get entertainment, blah, blah, blah.

    And that is VERY VALUABLE how to info, which probably could be leveraged to bigger ongoing profits without the slop and mess of what you proposed to us.

    License your expertise, train others how to become Conference or Event Promoters. Just one of several ways you can leverage your expertise and do so with avoiding some headache and heartache down the road.

    Mine the gold in your brain, but don't break your back while doing so, eh?

    GordonJ
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  • Profile picture of the author themikerogers
    Ok, so I will need to create books and how to videos on doing this. I did not intend to do it, but see that I will need to in order to properly sell it to potential promoters.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

      Ok, so I will need to create books and how to videos on doing this. I did not intend to do it, but see that I will need to in order to properly sell it to potential promoters.
      A faster way to do this is to have someone video you at a comicon, as you explain everything you do. Just make sure you describe in detail, every facet of your business. Give resources that you use. And it's important that you give some consulting time as well. A couple of hours is enough. Let them contact you for the consulting.

      A manual can simply be someone transcribing your videos, and formatted into a manual. A small cost, and no time investment on your part. You could have all this done in a few days.

      The first question you have to answer is..who are you selling this to? Is it;
      1) current comicon promoters.
      2) your current list of exhibitors. or
      3) investors in their own business.

      Once you have decided who you are selling to, and how you will sell them (in groups/seminars, webinars, at your event)...you need to know how you will contact them (direct mail, e-mails, PPC advertising, Facebook, etc)

      The answers to these questions are what comes first, then everything else flows from that.

      Interesting business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    I helped organize and run many conventions in the past around the 10k attendance.

    I think you have some great potential here. I liked Claude's done-for-you package the best.

    I also wonder if you screened applicants and then got some buy-ins that you could offer hands on training as part of the package. You could have 2 or 3 people shadow you for the day before and the day of the event. There are always little things that come up that have to be dealt with on the spot. It might seem frightening or beyond their skills until they shadow you. It really is much simpler than it looks from the outside at least once you have run an event or two.

    Once you have trained them you have a steady licensee that will continue to use you.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    The idea of bringing in smaller promoters under your umbrella sounds somewhat like what Century21 did with real estate brokers back when. Perhaps look at their model for ideas. I believe it was revolutionary at the time, expecting established real estate agencies to keep their businesses but work under the Century21 umbrella in exchange for co-op marketing, advertising and branding advantages.

    So for you it could be simplified down to you giving that one or small handful of features, not necessarily having to handle all facets of their operations from A to Z.

    In other words what you make possible for the smaller promoters MAY be the information/support they need to organize a larger event, but if you do anything at all I'd suggest the easiest and biggest profit maker for you would be your ability to put together several of those out of state shows in one or more packages to offer to your existing vendors/advertisers list, where now they can participate in shows across several states. If they're already travelling to do shows throughout the year, this seems a natural sell for you.

    For which you receive not just a one time fee but that one time fee PLUS ongoing consistent fees/percentage of revenues. Some of which might be prudent to spend on local advertising to bring in crowds and more vendors/advertisers and grow your list.
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    "Best book on answering objections I have seen... it's for photographers but it has brilliant techniques you can use in any business." - Claude Whitacre. When They Say That, You Say This (Amazon Kindle)
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  • Profile picture of the author Medon
    Ya, they are called franchises. Someone else will do the donkey work and you reap the benefits of them using your name. One important thing before you pursue your dream. Have you patented your business?
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  • Profile picture of the author professorrosado
    Be careful with saying "franchise" due to the fact that there are strict legal requirements a business must meet in order to be able to offer franchises. Do the legal footwork and get legal advice before deciding.

    Personally, I would set up a course type funnel for all the basic and introductory stuff and then upgrade the graduates to a coaching engagement with development of their respective events.

    You'll want to limit availability to increase urgency and enjoy higher perceived value pricing.

    I am already running similar funnels (different niches) and I know that you're sitting on a goldmine but you need to think this out carefully to ensure you have an effective plan to make it all work out well. Good Luck and expect to bump into you in the near future!
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