The LAN Center Startup Checklist

UntitledStarting a LAN center or any form of business takes a lot of time, money and consideration. Visualizing your business should be simple but actually making it happen can be a daunting task. There are laws and guidelines to follow, competitors to look out for and most of all financial analysis to ponder upon. Starting up a business is not for the faint of hearts but good thing there are several support groups that can help you start your LAN center business and walk you through the process of making your business plans come to life.

Below is a checklist of the things you need to consider when starting up your own LAN center:

1. Create a feasibility study

Since opening up a LAN business or any business in general, is risky, creating a feasibility study will help you evaluate as to how your business will be profitable and will address important things like where and how the business will operate. The goal of your study is to be able to identify potential problems and find solutions early on. The study will provide data to help you gauge if certain ideas will work or not.

2. Write a business plan

A business plan is set of business goals you want to achieve and the necessary steps you need to take in reaching those goals. It is an essential roadmap that can help you cover all the bases before you take the plunge. A good business plan will help you lay the foundation for your business, an excellent way of identifying your mission, vision and values, knowing your market, improve your chances of being successful, and generate enthusiasm and excitement about the business.

2. Find out the legal structure of your business

Decide which form of ownership is best for you. Sole proprietorship is the most straight-forward option. Partnership is an association of two or more people and is usually governed by a partnership agreement.  Corporation is a separate legal entity with certain rights, privileges and liabilities beyond those of an individual. Because of this separate status, the owners of a corporation don’t use their personal tax returns to pay tax on corporate profits-the corporation itself pays these taxes.

Too much information, yes? And you are just getting started.

3. Obtain business assistance and training

Diving into the business world is not all about what games, consoles and food to sell in your café. There are a lot of things that you should also know when running the whole thing – business wise. Take advantage of free business trainings and mentoring, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or the legalities of hiring an employee. This will give you a good knowledge and will help you in running your business successfully!

4. Choose and register your business name

Your business name will shape its identity. It not only identifies you to your customers, but also allows you to differentiate your business from your competitors and enables your customers to make an emotional connection to your business. For many businesses, the name is often the most valuable asset. Naming your business however is not only an important branding exercise, choosing and registering your business name is a key step to legally operating your business. Registering it is done either with your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located.

5. Choose a location

Choosing a business location is as important as choosing a business name. It requires research, planning, staying on budget, considering state laws and taxes, scoping the competition etc. Majority however choose a location that provides exposure to customer. Keep in mind the fact that different types of businesses attract customers in different ways and  consider whether it would benefit your business to be around similar businesses that are already drawing the type of customers that you want. Other less obvious factors and needs to consider are local labor market, customer-friendly location and zoning laws.

6. Register for taxes and obtain business licenses and permits

It is important to know about the business licensing in your area so make sure you visit your local Chamber of Commerce or development authority. In some countries and cities, you will first need to secure a state Tax Identification Number or TIN, trade name registration and zoning approval for your business location. Also learn which tax identification number you’ll need to get from the IRS and your state revenue agency.

7. Finance Your Business

Financing your business will be a challenge. Majority of the new small businesses are funded through owners personal resources including personal savings, assets, angel investors, loans from family and friends, etc. It will not hurt however to try to find out how to apply for a bank loan, secure an SBA financing or any social grants that will help you start-up your business.

8. Employer Obligations

Becoming an employer is not an easy peasy task. Apart from the legal steps that you need to take to hire employees, there are things to consider like work and personal background, compensation, trainings and other employee benefits. Learn your employer responsibilities and apply them accordingly. A harmonious employer-employee relationship will be beneficial to the success of your business.


About the authormikeziarko
Mike Ziarko is the guy behind Smartlaunch, the world’s fastest growing internet café and LAN center software company in the world. Their software is the preferred choice for gamers, and is used in over 120 countries. Visit Smartlaunch and start a no obligation free trial today.





  1. So I just have a quick question involving the startup of a LAN business. I have a degree in Restaurant Operation and Management, and while not completely the same, I have designed two restaurants from the ground up including everything from the tiles in the floor, to a fully costed-out business portfolio for the first 3 years. I plan on applying my knowledge (with a little help) to something I find similar (a business degree is a business degree after all), and that is the opening and operation of a LAN business. However, the only thing I am struggling with is where to find the financial backing to start. My personal skill set is more involved in helping others open their dream restaurant after they have acquired where the money will come from; I have no history with the searching. I know you briefly list Angel investors (will start there), personal loans from family and friends (family is not a feasible source; already have two other friends going into this with me), and SBA loans (which from what I read are last minute loans). So I’m not even sure where to start, and where to end this leg of the adventure. Any direction would be most helpful!

  2. Hi Clint

    Most retail LAN stores get financing from a bank or are personally funded from what I’ve seen. If you have a unique concept you could also try Kickstarter. In the forum there are a bunch of active members who have been through the financing side of things many times over — send a PM to Robert Steele at Level Up in Augusta. He could share a lot of pointers.

    • I have been in contact with Robert even before I visited this site (he’s actually the one who pointed me here) and he has been highly helpful thus far. Though Robert did his through personal funds. I will look further into bank financing and Kickstarter. I appreciate the pointers!

      • My first center was almost completely funded through personal funds, credit cards, and a small loan from an “Angel/Devil” investor.

        A start-up I was consulting here in Arkansas was actually able to secure business funding by pitching his Game-Center as a Family-Fun Restaurant. (The extent of his food honestly was hamburgers, hot dogs, and chips) The bank amazingly enough bought into the restaurant idea and paid almost no attention to the fact the majority of the income was going to come from the Game Center. The banker saw a concept he was familiar with (The restaurant) and went with it. He was able to get approved and is going to be opening mid to late summer. Hope that bit of information helps.

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