Six Hours

At the average American reading speed of about 250 words per minute, you can read the Game Retailer Guide in about 6 hours. Within six hours of research, you have the groundwork for laying out your own plan to become a game store owner, ready for a full-time job playing games.

Or so goes the perception from people who do not do this for a living.

In reality, you won’t play many games for fun—at least not for a couple of years. You’ll play games so that you can sell them, which is not as fun. Protip: it’s scripted so that the customer wins.

One Hour

In one hour you’ll know the broad-brush topics to think about when planning your store. You’ll know how you can—and can’t—finance your store. You’ll have some tips on finding a location and negotiating the best price. You will learn about some gigantic cost-reduction and risk-reduction measures that you ignore at your peril.

Two Hours

By the end of the two-hour mark you’ve read through a store’s financials, know where you’ll spend your money, and know what to avoid. You know what you need to decide on before you open, and what you can afford to figure out as you go (it’s mostly the former).

Three Hours

In three hours you’ll know where to go to buy your games, how to order them, how much to spend, and how to choose how to spend your budget. You’ll know how to display them for maximum sales. You’ll probably have a good idea of your floor plan by now.

Four Hours

Four hours after turning the first page, you’re well into the meaty stuff: getting customers in the door and what to do with them now that you have them. You’ll know the trifecta of increasing sales: advertise to get them in, run events to get them to come back, and upsell and merchandise to get them to spend more. I increased revenues at FLGS by 2,500% largely by focusing on these basic elements.

Five Hours

Within five hours, you’ll know how to staff your store, how to schedule those people cost-effectively, and what you should expect them to do with their time. You’ll have a training guideline you can customize for your own business. You’ll have some tips regarding keeping them from stealing from you and keeping them from suing you. Finally, you’ll teach somebody else how to teach them what they need to know.

Six Hours

After six hours, you’re an old pro. You’re reading about how to manage your veteran store and preparing for growth into multiple stores or other directions. You’re working to replace yourself as owner-operator so that you can focus on growing the company, of which a retail store is just one component.

I often say there’s more than one way to be right when it comes to game retail. For every rule I can think of, I know somebody successful who breaks it. However, you can’t copy what works for one person unless you understand how that rule works within the confines of a holistic business model. The GRG shows you how to create your own model so that those individual components fit like square pegs in your square-peg framework.

I sandbagged a little bit on the reading time. Reading technical material is a little slower than average. You should take notes as you go, too. You’ll want to come back to some sections, spend some time re-reading the elements with which you’re least familiar, and ask questions about anything unclear.

But even if reading it takes 8 or 10 hours to work through, that seems like an easy time investment that can change your life. If you don’t know if you want to do this, you’ll know if this investment and lifestyle is right for you. If you’re already determined to open or buy your own game store, the Game Retailer Guide can prevent some missteps hundreds of other people have already made.

If you open a store and this book doesn’t save you 100 times the cover price somewhere along the line, I’ll give you your money back.