Over the past 8 months, I have been involved in the planning of my new theater. Unlike my other businesses where I could make adjustments and investments as I went along, the theater requires that all the investment and planning take place at the beginning.
For instance, I started RentQuick out of my basement in 1998 with $3,000 worth of investment. As I went along, I would use income to buy new equipment which I would then rent. There were times when I had orders for rentals and did not have any equipment. So I simply bought a projector or two on a credit card, had it shipped to the location of the rental, then figured out a way to get it back to me.
The theater project is completely different. With Zeus Digital Theaters, I need to build the theater, put in every single seat, then run it. Once it is open, it will be very difficult to make major changes since the theater is open every day. Yes, even Christmas!
So now the pressure is on to not only make all the investments from the start, but to get it all right. It is a fine line between what I can afford to put in and what I want to put in. The sign is a great example. Would I like to put in the mac-daddy of all signs on the street? Sure! Can I afford it on my budget? Nope. So I have been spending the past couple of days trying to come up with a workable solution.
Where the investment affects the quality of the experience to the visitor is where I put the money. As a result, we have nice carpeting, great projectors, fantastic sound, top-end seating.
Of course, there will be some things I can change after the theater is open. I am really interested in getting the thing put together as nice as I can with what I have available.
As I have said, my first theater is likely to be a Chevy, not a Cadillac.