Starting a social club is a great business opportunity for those who love interacting with people. Community centres allow members of the community to interact with those who share similar interest and get to know each other. There are many types of social clubs, including sports clubs, students’ clubs, or general social clubs. If you’re thinking of opening your own unique social club, you can find out how to do it from this guide.
Step by step guide to opening a social club
Step 1 – Define the objectives for starting a club
You have to ask yourself what is the purpose behind you opening a community centre and what do you want to accomplish. That means that you have to decide what your club will do. A few ideas are:
- bring together people who share a specific interest, for example, in music or sports
- organise and host events
- raise awareness about a certain issue
- help people develop a certain skill
- allow people to develop a hobby.
There are many things that your club could do, but in order for it to be successful, you have to make your plan as detailed as possible.
Step 2 – Verify the demand
Before you open a social club, you need to check whether there will be people interested in visiting it. To determine that you need to do some research and pay attention to questions such as:
- Is there a similar club in the area?
- Have people online expressed interest in such a club?
- Was there a similar club that recently shut down?
- Do people living in the area share the same interests, for example, in protecting the environment or cooking?
If you discover that there already are similar venues in the area, do not get discouraged. You can still open yours, but you need to ask yourself how your centre will stand out and beat the competition.
Step 3 – Pick the perfect location
The main aspect of a social club is bringing people together so your venue has to be easily accessible. It also has to be big enough to host big groups. Finding the right location should not be overlooked as it can determine how many people will attend your events. When looking for the right premises for your club, you should consider factors like rent, parking space, and accessibility by public transport. You should also investigate the demographics of the area to make sure that people living there are the audience that you want to target. That’s very important because if, for example, you’re thinking of opening a students’ club, you don’t want to do it in the neighbourhood inhabited mainly by the elderly.
Step 4 – Determine what the structure of the club will be
When you get to this step, you should start by coming up with a name for your centre. Make sure that it’s creative, easy to pronounce and memorable. Then, you should decide what the rules and structure of the club will be. Structure refers to how many times a week and at what times the members of the club will meet. The more activities your centre offers, the more complex the structure will be as all the groups cannot meet at the same time. Rules refer to the code of behaviour that members will need to follow. The rules should reflect on the club’s values and mission but creating them is completely up to you.
In addition to that, you have to decide how the process of signing up to the club and becoming a member will look like. You need to explain to potential members how and where they can submit their application and tell them whether there are any fees involved.
Step 5 – Hire staff
Running a social club completely on your own can be challenging, so you will most likely need some help. That’s why you should decide how many staff members you will need and what their roles will be. A few suggestions are:
|role||what their tasks could be|
|chairperson||Ensures that the club runs smoothly|
|treasurer||Manages finances of the club|
|secretary||Manages members’ subscriptions and handles admin tasks|
|marketing specialist||Promotes and advertises the club|
If the goal of your club is to help members develop a certain skill like playing an instrument, you might need to hire additional people who will teach them it.
Step 6 – Get funding
When you’re running a social club, there will be certain costs like rent, utility bills, broadband, or wages that you will have to cover each month. Hence, it is important that your business generates enough profit to pay for them. The best way for your social club to bring you money is to collect money from the members. The majority of social clubs requires members to pay a monthly fee to be able to attend events and the facilities.
If at first, these fees are not enough for you to cover all the expenses, you might need to look for alternative sources of funding. You could, for example, organise fundraising events and charge people for tickets to attend them. You should also research available grants for small businesses.
Step 7 – Market and promote your club
Once you have everything set up, you have to let customers know that you exist and convince them to use your services. Marketing and promotion is a very important part of running a social club as it can help you attract new customers and retain the existing ones. A few marketing strategies that you could use are:
|advertising||You could place ads in local newspapers or in social media, for example, on Facebook or Instagram.|
|public relations||You should try to contact local media and establish relationships with them so they can promote your club.|
|flyers||Printing flyers and distributing them in town and at various events allows you to build a bond with future members.|
|social media||You should build your social media presence and share content that might be of interest to your members.|
|listings||You should get your club listed on online websites that include all such establishments in the area.|
|promotions||You should offer discounts or bonuses for new members to encourage more people to join your club.|
Step 8 – Host an opening event
An opening event allows people to come see what your club offers before they commit. There are many benefits of hosting an opening event and the main ones include:
- Introducing your business – during the event, you can explain to people what your club offers and how it will work. It also gives them a chance to ask any questions they might have.
- Building a brand – by inviting many people and promoting your business, you are making people aware of who you are and showing them that you offer great value.
- Forming a bond with customers – an opening event allows you to talk to customers, be friendly and build a good relationship with potential customers. If they see that you and your staff are trustworthy, they are more likely to join your club.
- Spreading the word – if people who come to the opening event enjoy the atmosphere and find your club interesting, they might tell their friends and families about it and get you more potential members.
Tips for running a successful social club
Every club is different so there is no strategy that can be used by all social clubs and guarantee success. Nevertheless, there are several tips that can help you be efficient and keep the members satisfied.
- Make sure the club is active – hosting regular, frequent meetings is extremely important so people remember about your club and so coming to your events becomes a part of their weekly routine.
- Keep the activities varied – even if your club focuses on one thing, for example, poetry reading evenings, make sure that every once in a while you offer an additional event or change the format of the meetings slightly. This way you will avoid members getting bored and you will encourage new people to join.
- Be inclusive – make sure that members respect each other and that no one is discriminated against. You should give everyone the chance to express their opinions and participate in the club’s activities.
- Listen to your members – make sure that you ask the members about their needs and take into considerations all the ideas that they propose. This way you can improve your club’s performance and show your customers that their voice matters.
- Keep promoting your club – you should keep your social media profiles active and advertise content that will let people know about your club’s activities. Even if you already have a good number of members, there is always a possibility for growth.
Opening your own social club is not difficult but, like with starting any other business, it requires careful planning. Thanks to this guide, however, the process will be straightforward and easy. The most important thing to ask yourself throughout the process of setting up a new community centre is what makes your venue unique. Nowadays, anyone can open a social one, but not everyone can be successful. If you want to beat the competition, you have to make sure that you have a real passion for what you’re doing. You also have to always treat customers with respect as these are your members who matter the most in the business.