Do you want to start a speed dating business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a speed dating business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample speed dating business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample speed dating service marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for speed dating companies. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a speed dating business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Speed Dating Business?
If you have good people skills, are able to foster relationships and have good business acumen, then starting a speed dating business might just be the perfect business for you. A speed dating business is a niche business that has not only great potentials, but there is also less competition in it.
The reason why this is such a great business to start is that more singles have busy lifestyles especially due to demanding careers that has left little or no time for most to engage in romantic relationships. Asides from the busy lives of singles, the high divorce rates for married couples have led more people to seek for either a companion or a life partner, hence the reason why speed dating, which is a modern form of matchmaking has turned out to be quite popular.
The speed dating business is usually conducted by creating get-togethers and social events and then inviting singles to interact with each other at a hired venue. This means you will need to go round to identify which venues will be suitable for whatever events you have in mind.
Unlike a matchmaking business where singles go with the mindset of meeting someone and so are most usually tensed, not knowing what to expect; the speed dating business is one where singles meet under a more relaxed atmosphere and familiarity is increased via contests, games and entertainment programs.
However, even though this might look like a simple business to start up, you have to treat it seriously like any other business. First of all, you will need to conduct a thorough market research and from this write out a comprehensive business plan.
Before you can fully start and run your speed dating business, you must ensure that your business is legal enough by checking with local authorities to know the required licenses that you will need to run your business without hitches from the law regardless of whether you run your business offline or online.
You can get in touch with the Small Business Association’s (SBA) local office in your area in order to get the necessary guidance for your business. Alternatively, you can get an attorney to help you handle all the legal aspects of the business.
When looking to hire a venue to hold events for your speed dating business, you should try to negotiate discounted rates with the venue owners. You will need to be creative as regards the choice of your venue and also ensure that you keep operating costs at a minimum so that you do not end up making little or nothing for every event that you host. One way you can get a venue cheaper than the usual rate is to ensure that you create a relationship with the owners of the venues.
Starting a Speed Dating Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
According to a report by Marketdata Enterprises Inc, the dating service industry is a $2.5 billion industry in the United States alone. 70 percent of the industry has been taken over by online dating services which has soared in popularity since 2001 and offers affordable and convenient matchmaking services to more than 120 million single Americans.
Other segments of the dating service industry are dating apps which has become popular as more people now have smartphones which makes it easier for consumers to connect to many single customers instantly. For example, Tinder, which is a dating app is one that has generated more than one billion matches since it started.
According to IBISWorld, revenue generated by the dating industry amounted to $3 billion with a 5.3 percent growth between the periods of 2012 and 2017. There are more than 6,700 dating services in the United States and it has employed more than 9,500 people.
The reason for the growing acceptance of the dating industry is because social stigmas over getting a date online or via matchmaking services have begun to fade. Another thing that has increased acceptability for the services in the industry is the growing population in the baby boomer generation as well as more usage of smartphones.
The dating service industry is in its growth phase. The growth stage in its economic life cycle is depicted by the increase in the industry’s value added, better economy which has led to more people getting employed and an enhanced level of technological development in the United States.
Another reason for the high demand experienced by the industry is due to the fact that consumers are having a change in their attitudes towards dating services especially the online dating service as the internet has become a platform for singles to look for dates.
The dating service industry has continued to grow especially online dating as more people are looking to the internet for love or companionship. It is expected that over the next five years – 2017 to 2022 – more households will become more acceptable towards the dating service industry.
Starting a Speed Dating Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of a speed dating company are usually those who are single, divorced and widowed. The age range for such type of people is between 18 and 60.
Those who normally seek out a speed dating company are usually those who can afford it – mid class to high income earners. Therefore, if you are looking for the demographic composition of your speed dating business, you should endeavor to make it more all-encompassing.
List of Niche ideas Within the Speed Dating Business That You Can Specialize in
In every industry, entrepreneurs struggle to find an area of specialization where they can generate revenue, be identified with and also compete fairly against their competitors and the sped dating industry is no different. While the industry is still a growing one and there are few niche services available, entrepreneurs are still looking for areas that are untapped to generate revenue from.
While niche services has several advantages, it is best that you conduct a thorough research into the niche areas you are looking to go into so that you do not waste your time specializing in something that no one is interested in. Below are some of the niche ideas that exist within the speed dating industry;
- Speed dating
- Online dating
- Mobile dating
- Matchmaking events
The Level of Competition in the Speed Dating Industry
The level of competition in this industry depends entirely on the services that you are looking to offer to your clients. If you choose to specialize online, then this is a business that can be done from anywhere as you will have to compete with so many other services.
If however you are looking to run a business that requires you to host events in a physical location, then it is necessary that you study the area you are looking to go into thoroughly to know if it is within the hub of your target market. All that clients are looking forward to when they seek the services of your company is that you provide all the services required.
Even though the speed dating industry is a growing one in the United States, more entrepreneurs are going into it which means you will be facing a lot of competition not only from those already in the business but also from those looking to enter the industry as well.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Speed Dating Industry
The speed dating industry might be a growing one but there are already companies that stand out from others and this is due to several factors such as quality of events hosted, rate of success, charges and customer care relationship. If your intention is to be well known, then you must ensure that you are able to offer more than one of these factors to your customers.
Below are the most popular speed dating companies in the United States of America;
- SpeedLA Dating
- NY Minute Dating
- 8 Minute Dating
- Slow Dating
- When the Music Stops
- Date Switch
- NY Easy Dates
According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of those who are over the ages of 18 is between 92 and 100 million. Out of this huge figure, about 16 million have tried an online dating service. The online dating service however used to be a lucrative business but the profitability has been dwindling due to free social networking sites.
However, with the decline in online dating services, Europe and China have remained untapped markets. Other forms of dating services have continued to post moderate growth and niche services like the speed dating service.
The internet has caused a revolution in this business and has made dating to be more convenient and affordable. The dating market in the United States is highly saturated and growth has slowed to the point that is has become non-existent.
It is expected by analysts that only niche areas will continue to do well in the dating industry which is why speed dating services have continued to do well in the industry.
Starting Your Speed Dating Business from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
As an entrepreneur starting a business, deciding whether to start from scratch or just buy a franchise might look very tough especially if you are new to running a business and have fear that you might be overwhelmed by the whole process. While each option might have its merits and demerits, it is best to stick with the option that best aligns with your own corporate goals and objectives.
If you intend to buy a speed dating franchise, it is very necessary that you study the franchise companies, see what they are offering, what their charges are and if their services will boost your goals and objectives. Keep in mind that buying a franchise does not mean that your business cannot fail; it just offers you an opportunity to have less start-up challenges.
Starting from the scratch is a different ballgame altogether because when you start from the scratch, you must handle several aspects such as finance, management, marketing and all other important areas by yourself. This is why it is usually best to have a comprehensive business plan at hand that will allow you have an outline of your whole business and what you intend to achieve so that should you face challenges during the teething process, you will be able to check with your business plan and see if the action or decision you want to make are in line with your overall corporate goals and objectives.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Speed Dating Business
When starting a business, you should be prepared as an entrepreneur to face threats and challenges that will arise. No one starts a business expecting an easy ride all through and if you are one of such persons that are not prepared for any challenges or threats, then it is best that you do not start the business at all. It is important to note that some challenges and threats cannot be handled and when they occur, the best you can do is wait for them to pass whilst remaining optimistic.
Some of the threats and challenges that you are therefore likely to face during the course of starting your speed dating business are; having to deal with existing speed dating companies, intense competition from alternative dating services, new industry entrant challenges, economic downturn and changing industry trends.
Starting a Speed Dating Business – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
The five legal entities that are available for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the United States are; sole proprietorship, entrepreneurship, S Corporation, C Corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC). In making the decision as to which legal entity to choose, an entrepreneur will do well to use the following factors as an aid towards making the right decision.
Some of the factors are; liability, ease of ownership and control, taxation structure and flexibility. It is important to note that operating some of the legal entities might vary depending on what state one is operating from, which is why it is necessary to make enquiries regarding the business so as to make the right choice. You can also engage the services of an attorney to help with choosing the right legal entity for your business.
Most entrepreneurs starting their business usually prefer to start off with an LLC because this is a legal entity that offers flexibility and is easy enough to set up and control. The LLC shields your personal assets as any failure in the business will mean that only the assets of your business are affected.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for a Speed Dating Business
Before registering your business and legalizing it, one aspect which you must take care of is what name to call your business. A business name is important because it is what your business is going to be identified with. When choosing a business name, ensure that it is not only unique and memorable but that it is indicative of the industry that you are going into as this will help clients get to you easily.
Below are some catchy business names for your speed dating business;
- Speedo Dates
- Quick Fizz Dating
- Snappy Dating
- Flash Dating
- Come Closer Dating
When starting any business in the United States, one of the important must-haves is an insurance policy. While not having an insurance policy might not be a punishable offence, it is meant to save you from a whole lot of mistakes and incidents that could occur during the process of starting or running your business. When such incidents occur, paying from your pocket could lead to you wrecking your business financially.
It is best that you set aside a budget and get the insurance policies that you need for your speed dating business. If you are not sure of what insurance policies to get, then you should get in touch with an insurance agent or broker to help you choose the appropriate insurance policies for your business.
Below are some of the basic insurance policies that you will need to purchase for your speed dating business;
- General Liability Insurance
- Errors and Omission Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Property Insurance
- Auto Insurance
- Employment Practices Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
The speed dating business is a service oriented business and as such the services you provide aren’t ones that require intellectual property protection. Most entrepreneurs that apply for intellectual property protection are those that have invented something that they know will be beneficial to the industry they are in but want to earn money from others that will want to use what they have invented.
However, the fact that you are in a service oriented business does not mean that you cannot apply for an IPP over certain areas of your business such as company name, logo, domain name and any other material that is deemed important to your company.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Starting a Speed Dating Business?
The speed dating business is not one that requires the entrepreneur to possess any sort of professional certification before they can start the business. This is a business that is based on the social skills of the entrepreneur. This does not however mean that entrepreneurs that are looking to get professional certification in certain areas such as management, marketing or accounting cannot do so for the benefit of their business.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Speed Dating Business
When starting any business in the United States, it is important that you make your business legal by having documents in place. The legal documents needed to start a business often varies depending on the kind of business you intend to start, there are however documents that are basic to every business and as an entrepreneur, you should know what documents you will need for your business so that you do not get into trouble with regulated authorities.
If you aren’t sure of what documents you will require for your speed dating business, then you can ask others who are in the business or seek the counsel of an attorney. Below are some of the basic documents that you will require;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement
- Insurance Policies
- Business Plan
- Business License and Permit
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN)
- Contract Documents
Financing Your Speed Dating Business
Finance is very important for any business either as a startup or an already existing business and so is not something that can be overlooked. If you are thinking of starting a business and do not have the necessary finance to start the business, then it is safe to say that your business might not become a reality.
One reason why it is important to have a business plan in place is that it allows you to approach private investors and others that might have the finance to support your business. It allows you to show how serious and committed you are to the business as well.
Below are some of the financing options that are available to you when looking to start your speed dating business;
- Use private savings and revenue from sale of stock and property
- Source for soft loan from family members and friends
- Get startup capital from private investors ad business partners
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Speed Dating Business
Location is one of the most important aspects when it comes to starting a business and running it successfully. Therefore, it is necessary as an entrepreneur that you chose the right location for your business if you intend to make it a success.
One sure way you can quickly know the area that will make your business a success is to conduct a thorough research about your business which will let you know where your target market is and invariably where your business should be.
The speed dating business is one that is double edged, for while you can run the administrative part of the business from home, you will need to source for physical venues in which to host events for your clients. If you are therefore going to be running your business from home, you will still need to source for the right venues for the different parties and events that you will host.
Running the administrative part of your business from a brick and mortar building means that you are trying to be more professional. It might also mean that you are looking to employ more hands to help you with running the business. If you check and see that your closest competitors are all running their business from an office facility, then it is something that you must also do.
If you are going to be renting a facility, then you should ensure that it is in a very conspicuous place that is easily accessible to clients and employees. The facility must also be one that is conducive for your employees. You might need to conduct certain renovations on the facility in order to meet with certain standards so it is best that you put this into consideration.
If you are not too sure of the location where you should site your business, you might need to engage a real estate agent who knows the area well to help you out. It is best that you let the agent know what budget you are looking at so that you do not end up causing a strain on your overall budget.
Starting a Speed Dating Business – Technical and Manpower Details
The speed dating business is one that requires the entrepreneur to be a people person and have an engaging personality. Therefore, if you are looking to start this business purely on the motive of profit, then you must employ or partner with one who has the right personality to draw singles out.
Location is very important in this kind of business as choosing the right venue can help boost your brand. To get the best location, you might need to go round your local area in order to identify great places that would be suitable for the events or parties you intend to host.
Some aspects need to be taken care of when getting a venue and they are; knowing if the venue is licensed, finding out about their catering facilities, and checking if the place can accommodate the number of people you are looking to host.
Even though this is a service based kind of business, there are still equipment that you would require to help you run your speed dating business efficiently such as computer, phone, office supplies, printer, fax machine and business software.
If you intend to run the business on a large scale, then it is definitely not something that you can run alone, so you must build a solid business structure which will allow you to choose proficient and committed people to work with you in achieving your goals and objectives.
Some of those that you might need to employ for your speed dating business are; Chief Executive Officer, Admin and Human Resource Manager, Logistics Manager, Accountant, Marketing and Business Development Executive, Customer Care Executive and Security Guard. From the above analysis, you will require at least 7 key people to help run your speed dating business successfully.
The Service Delivery Process of a Speed Dating Business
In starting a speed dating business, you must have the enthusiasm necessary with which to run the business as the business is one where you have to interact with people and get them interested enough to attend the events that you will be hosting. If you are not enthusiastic about the business, you might not be able to get your clients to be excited about it either.
You must identify your target market especially in the area you are looking to start your business in. Start by conducting a thorough market research, and then through the identification of your target market create programs and events that they will be able to identify with.
Identifying the venues where the speed dating will occur is very important as you need places that will suit the clients you have at hand. There are several things you will need to look at for when looking for a facility and they are; if the venue is licensed to serve alcohol, if catering facilities are available and if the venue is close to your target market.
Starting a Speed Dating Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and Strategies
In order to be able to generate the needed revenue that will sustain and grow your business, it is essential that you take marketing seriously. Marketing is a way of anticipating and knowing about the needs of your clients and then ensuring that you meet those needs in the best way possible.
When you engage in marketing campaigns for your business, you are not only going to catch the attention of your target market but that of your competitors as well, it is therefore important that your strategies not only allow you to have a fair share of the market but one that also allows you to stand out and have advantage over your competitors.
Before the right marketing strategies can be crafted, it is necessary that you conduct a thorough market survey. This market survey will allow you understand what is expected of you from your potential clients and what you should expect from them as well.
Location is a very important component when it comes to marketing a business. In the speed dating kind of business, once you choose a location to host your events in a conspicuous place, others who didn’t know about the business are likely be aware of the business.
Below are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can use effectively for your speed dating business;
- Empower your marketing executives to physically source for clients
- Place adverts about your speed dating business in local newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Install billboards and flexi banners in strategic locations in order to advertise your speed dating business
- Use your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram to advertise your speed dating business
- Ensure that your speed dating business is listed in online directories as well as yellow pages
- Distribute handbills and fliers in several strategic locations so as to create awareness for your speed dating business
Possible Ways to Increase Client Retention
While it is very important to attract customers that will help the business grow and boom, it is more important to ensure that a high number of your clients remain loyal to your brand by patronizing your brand alone. One benefit that customer retention gives is that it enables you spend less than your counterparts that were always attracting new customers all the time.
There are several reasons why a customer might leave a brand for another and as one who must have conducted a thorough research into a business before going into it, you should know what customers in your industry want and how to give them what they want.
Some of the reasons why customers leave a brand for another are due to poor quality of service or bad customer care relationship. Clients want to have their inquiries attended to immediately and also complaints promptly resolved. Therefore, you should have this in mind when starting your speed dating business.
Strategies to Boost Your Speed Dating Business Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
Every entrepreneur starting a business in this era knows how important it is to have the right strategies that will allow you to boost the awareness for your brand whilst also creating a corporate identity that is positively communicated to the intended target market.
Boosting a brand’s awareness is very important especially as publicity not only brings awareness but also enables the company generate revenue as well. Asides from letting your target market to be aware of your brand, publicity also allows your competitors to be aware of your brand.
No one starts a business with the intention to fail, however without having the right information as regards your business, you might not have the right information that will allow you to make your business a success and publicity is one of them.
Some entrepreneurs might feel that engaging in publicity campaigns is a waste of resources but companies that have long existed and have become successful know the impact of publicity and so do not mind setting aside a certain amount of money each year in which to advertise their business.
As one who is just starting out, knowing what publicity campaigns will be most effective for you might be time consuming and so you can engage the services of an experienced publicity consultant who knows about the industry you are in to help you create the right strategies that will boost awareness for your brand and help create a corporate identity for your business.
While using different means to advertise your business and promote your brand is not something that is cheap, the internet has offered entrepreneurs several platforms that they can use to promote their business without having to pay through their nose.
Below are some of the strategies that you can use to boost awareness and also create a corporate identity for your speed dating business;
- Distribute handbills and fliers in strategic locations in the city where you are operating your business
- Develop an interactive website and deploy Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy to ensure that your website pops out on top in local search engines
- Encourage your satisfied and successful clients to help promote your speed dating company
- Advertise your speed dating business in popular forums and blogs
- Make use of your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to promote your speed dating business
- Participate in local community events in order to create awareness about your speed dating company