So you have worked long and hard on planning your haunt. Business plan is done and ready to go and you walk into a bank to go for that loan to get you off the ground. After a brief interview your shocked that they decline your request. Why you ask. That is a question with many possible answers. Usually the answer is you have no collateral or not enough. Now your wondering what your going to do to get the money to get your haunt started. This is where bootstrapping comes in.
Bootstrapping is the art of starting out small with what you have and slowly expanding. So say your haunt plans called for a 8,000sq ft location and then you need all the materials and people to work it and on top of that you have to cover the lease of the location since at this point you cannot afford to purchase a location. This is how many entrepreneurs get their start. You work super hard to get what you can out of the little you have. Instead of the 8,000sq ft haunt why not do a short 2,000sq haunt that requires a quarter of the materials, people and cuts your starting costs drastically. Now your in a price range that you can manage.
Now if you have money already then work your haunt size around that budget make sure you can get everything up and running off of what you have. Then once that is successful you use the profits from it to increase the size and expand into larger and larger buildings each year until you can afford to buy your own. The key here is work within your boundries. You do not need to go barrow tens of thousands of dollars on top of say the 10,000 you already have. Make due with what you have and another benefit here is you do not owe anyone because it is your money.
What if I do not have any money? The answer is bootstrapping once again and starts with friends and family. You hit up everyone you know but do it in a business fashion. Show them the business plan and the fact you have a plan and a team of people to help you make this haunt business successful. The way the money works is you work out an agreement something like the following. If you give me x amount of money with no repayment until the end of November then I will pay you back x amount of money with x amount of interest. Now they will want to know what happens if you do not make a profit and can not pay them back at that specific date at the end of November. Your answer is I will guarantee repayment myself. You basically work it like a loan over the next 2-5 years and pay them x amount each month with the interest still in it so they make their money back with interest just over a longer period of time. Make sure to get this all written up in an agreement with signatures because it makes it much more business like and covers you if they decide they want their money sooner or all payed back before the 2-5 year mark if things do not work out at the end of November as stated. This covers you in the event a friend turns enemy and thinks they can get one over on you because the documents will prove to a court that they agreed to the terms.
This is a great way to start out also for several reasons. First if your location does not work out well the first year then you do not have to worry about having purchased a location that does not work. Second it provides a chance to test out the haunt on a small scale to see if it is even going to work in the town your starting in. It also allows you to test things out, try different prices on different days to see what works best since its small and only for this year most likely. Plus like before if it does not go well you have not spent tens of thousands on a giant 10 to 20 thousand sq ft warehouse. A smaller start allows you to work through your first year and not have to stress over not making a huge profit or if at first you do not profit then you can see what needs changed for the following year. I highly recommend this method if you do not have a huge bank account.