With the idea settled, I’m a little scatter brained. There are so many things to do! My mind is racing in 100 different directions, having difficulty focusing on tasks and getting them to completion. To help me prioritize and focus, I’m going to put together a list of all the things I can see from my current vantage point that need to get done – a pseudo project plan that will start to outline tasks and dependencies.
I will, at some point, need some names. What do I call the game? What do I call the company? These will then drive subsequent activities. I need a domain name (website name) and social media accounts that relate to the company name. Facebook page, Instagram Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other social media account that is important (this will be different by product based on your target audience). I need logos and content to get a basic web page up. I need to set up email – not just my personal gmail account or a email@example.com.
I have some ideas on how gameplay will go. I need to start putting some things down on paper though and do some test runs of the game. I can use thick construction paper cut up into card size pieces and make the cards to be able to play through a game and refine the game play, cards and rules. I need to eventually create a professional looking guide to include with the cards to explain the rules. I need to think about my target audience and how that impacts the rules I should put in. A game for 5 year olds is going to have different rules than a game for adults.
I also need to get started on the art, and by I, I mean my ridiculously talented daughter. I am leaning towards a game on dogs; a quick Google and Amazon search doesn’t reveal any big dog card games. We recently got a new dog and dogs are top of the mind these days, so I’ll be able to draw inspiration from our dog, Luna (or Lunatic as I call her).
I need to start thinking about manufacturing also. I did some initial research and know there are several companies that offer professional card printing, but right now I don’t even really know what that means! What are the choices with paper and ink? Which one is best? Which one do I really need? How long will they last? All questions I will need to get answered before we can make this idea a reality.
This is another area where I need to do research. I don’t know what exactly I should or shouldn’t be doing, but I’m sure I should be doing something. Do I need to register trademarks? Copyrights? How do I do that? What legal things do I need to be thinking about that I’m not? I’ve set up an LLC before, and know that I can do so myself online for about $200 in my state, so I need to do that once I have a name.
My plan for distribution is pretty straightforward. I plan to use Amazon as a 3rd party seller in their marketplace. I’ve done some reading on this already, although I still have a lot to learn. From the Amazon quarterly stock report, I know that about half of what’s sold on Amazon.com is coming from 3rd parties on their marketplace. I’ve also learned that as a 3rd party seller, I can sign up for “FBA” or “Fulfillment By Amazon”. What this means is that I will pay a fee to Amazon, based on size and weight which will be small since we’re talking about a deck of cards. For that fee, Amazon will handle all the order processing, delivery, and even returns of the game. Basically, I won’t have to worry about anything after the order is placed. To me, this is well worth the fees, as it saves me from having to clear space in my garage, build out or pay for an e-commerce site, take orders, make shipping labels, take orders to a UPS store, deal with disgruntled customers, and on. The benefits are so significant that I can’t imagine why anybody starting a company is not using FBA to distribute physical products (I’m sure I’ll learn once I get further along).
I need to set up a separate bank account. I will want to set up the LLC first, and then tie the new account to the LLC. I also need to make sure I keep track of (including receipts) all expenses related to the business for taxes.
I will put all this into an Excel file and use that to manage all the work that needs to get done and help provide me with some focus when needed.