How to Start a Video Game Business

This article provides a seven-step guide to starting your own video gaming business. It will guide you through the process of writing a business plan to refining your product offering.

Decide how you want to start and what you want to sell. Do you want to sell new, used, or both? Do you want to charge fees for trading? Will you carry inventory or have a direct relationship? Will you auction or set a defined price? If you plan to resell, you will need to become an authorized reseller. Understand the terms and conditions associated.

Decide on a location. Will you have a brick-and-mortar shop or an online presence or both? The state you operate in is where you apply for a sales tax ID, reseller license and business permit. You might also want to form a limited liability corporation (LLC) to shelter personal assets from exposure to loss.

Write a business plan. See Resources for a guide. The main purpose of a business plan is to get your ideas on paper. It will be a guide for reference as well as a way to find investors. Your business plan should fully represent your business idea, explain how you plan to grow and show why your business model is unique. It should also include a financial model with scenarios.

Decide on a name. Your name should hook avid video gamers; that is, it should be “sticky.” Your business name should be both memorable and easy to remember. Words with zz or oo tend to stick better than mm or nn. The name should create interest and capture attention.

Set up your systems. Taking the time to do this right the first time will save countless hours and money on the back end. Install a point of sale or accounting application. Buy a credit terminal, cash box, and bar-code scanner.

Market your product. Use print ads, eBay, local directories, trade shows and gaming forums. The goal is to get people to think of you when they want to make a purchase. This is why you want a memorable name. For gamers, this will also mean good prices and product availability. Establishing your business as the go-to source for games in limited release will build a loyal customer base.

Refine your product offerings. If you are selling directly to consumers, it will be important to closely monitor demand. Develop a method to collect information from your customers on what’s hot. Monitor key word searches on the Internet. Which products are selling the best on eBay?