Q&A with Michael Obod, Founder of Lasertag.net

Lasertag.net is a full-cycle manufacturing company that designs, builds, and supports laser tag equipment in-house. The company does everything from plastic molding and assembly, to programming and supporting the software and firmware. And in this Q&A with Michael Obod, Lasertag.net’s founder, we get to know the behind-the-scenes of how Lasertag.net was conceived and what the journey was like to build a successful company from the ground up.

Q: Tell us about Lasertag.net

In Lasertag.net, our main goal is to provide businesses with a complete and reliable toolset to create a profitable business. And for end users, we create a unique entertainment experience.

What drives us? We know how to start a laser tag business, how to turn it around for a company and make a profit, how to realize a potential and get after it. After all, we’re in the shoes of beginner businessmen and now want to share our experiences and expertise. We’ve started by running our own laser tag center, and know what would be appreciated by other club owners feature-wise.

By the way, the Net part of our name isn’t random either. Lasertag.net’s design philosophy is to create an interconnected web, so all equipment can be controlled at once from our app. And of course, we keep an end-user in mind too, taking great care of designing features that will entice a player. Wider functionality means a richer experience that will compel players to play again and again.

Q: How did the idea to create Lasertag.net come about?

Everything we learned, we learned from practice. We believe this is the only way to get things done.
While we were running the paintball center, we began to realize that we could do more. Then an idea to start a laser tag business came up. The first surprise for us was that the investment in equipment broke even in less than three months. It was something incredible, so we decided to further develop laser tag business.

As to the development and manufacturing of laser tag gear, it turned out as it usually happens: first, we were not happy with the equipment that was available on the market, then we decided that we can make our own equipment, which could be much better. So we became a manufacturer of laser tag equipment. Take special note to it: never let a good opportunity go. When something isn’t good enough, there might be a good business in it!

Q: What was the hardest part in the early stages of the company’s growth?

The first of the most challenging aspects we dealt with during our early stages were the exceptionally limited resources available to us at the time as we needed to engage with large-scale competitors.

And the second challenge we faced was to get brand awareness and first customers.

Imagine you’ve just started your business, and you need to get people know about your business in your intended industry or region, and get them to try out what you are offering. And your resources are limited at the same time. But we initially knew that having a good product and the right strategy, our chances of success are great.

Don’t get me wrong, there are management issues, logistical and financial issues that can give trouble to the new business, but those tend to iron out in due time. The thing is, you won’t have the time or resources to fix them if you don’t get customers straight away.

Q: Who are your customers and where are they located?

Our customers can be divided into three distinct categories.

The first and major category is entertainment business owners. They want to expand their businesses with a new attraction to provide the customer with a new service, make them come back for something different. Happy recurrent customer means better profit.

A majority of this category is taken by paintball centers. They are better suited for laser tag since they already have the necessary facilities. Besides, it expands potential client base: unlike paintball, laser tag doesn’t involve any painful sensations, and kids from the age of 5 can participate.

The second category encompasses those who already run a business but in the industry other than entertainment, or aspiring entrepreneurs.

And the third, currently, much smaller category that can be summarized as event agencies, hotels, summer camps, and holiday resorts. It requires the most support in using the equipment properly, but it’s a market that will grow.

If we are talking about the geolocation of our customers, we work globally and today we have customers from 23 countries.

Q: How does an organization of Laser Tag arenas vary in different parts of the world?

When comparing the regions we operate in, one can notice some differences. In Eastern Europe, laser tag arenas are usually situated in big malls. In Western Europe or Americas, all arenas I’ve seen so far were in separate buildings or located outdoors outside the town.
Otherwise, laser tag arenas are organized nearly the same around the world.

Q: Why can the Lasertag.net’s equipment be considered best in its class?

We build our equipment with a clear goal in mind – to streamline the work process of an owner or a manager. For example, using Lasertag.net’s equipment, a manager doesn’t need to connect every set separately anymore. With our software, he can pick a scenario, configure the hardware, and launch a game, all in just a couple of clicks from an Android device.

Lasertag.net aspires to make monthly improvements: new features for the gear, new scenarios of use, new functions and everything that would make operating and renting it out more transparent and profitable.
Another important aspect of our equipment is its safety: an ergonomic shape of the tagger, no moving parts that can break off or pinch the user, and consumer-safe technologies all the way, especially the laser.

Also, we are the only ones who has the impulse recoil feature – this is our patented development, which we are very proud of. This feature truly delights the players, pulling them back to our customers laser tag centers.

Q: What should be considered when purchasing laser tag equipment?

When choosing laser tag equipment, I would recommend paying particular attention to these 5 criteria.

  1.  First and foremost, safety. Laser tag business equipment is in constant use in an active environment. Don’t take safety for granted, as your customers are often children. You should be absolutely sure that the customer will have a good time without the likelihood of harm or accident. Equipment should be lightweight, with no sharp edges, angles or extremities that can cause harm to the players.
  2.  The second important point is durability. As I’ve said, our primary market is the B2B segment. To those who run the venues, it’s important that the equipment remains in a presentable and operational condition, despite heavy and not necessarily careful usage. So don’t try to save on quality.
  3. The third point is technological impeccability, ergonomics, and ease of use. The more advanced a piece of gear is, the more processes it automates and the easier it is to operate. Ease of use is important for your staff too, a new guy would have a hard time figuring out an overcomplicated piece of kit.
  4. The end-user experience. Although our main client is a business owner, one should never forget about the players’ experience. If a venue can offer a wider range of scenarios and abilities, customers will be intrigued to come back for more.
  5. And last, but not least: customer support. Even the most durable equipment, made for heavy-duty use, can malfunction. It’s paramount that technical problems are solved as quickly as possible. The center should remain operational to bring in revenue no matter what. For that reason, at Lasertag.net, we have a backup supply of kit for our clients. So we can send the replacement kit even before our client will go about sending the malfunctioning kit back for fixing. Minimal downtime is always good business.

Choose wisely.

Q: What is your advice to the laser tag venues that are just starting up?

If you are just starting your business, I would recommend focusing on getting your first customers, like hosting birthday parties, corporate parties, team-building events, etc.
Also, take a complex approach to your clients. Design a selection of packaged deals: for different days of the week and time slots. Try to always have clients in and keep the business running. And remember, first you work for clients, and then they will recommend you to friends.

Q: Could you give some tips on how to make a paintball or laser business more profitable?

Set yourself the goal of being the best at what you do and then run the ad. Make promo-events – it’s a quick and effective channel to spread information about your services. Just get them to try it out for free, hook them in. Then they will know how exciting it is and where to get it.

Create pages of your center in social networks – get the advantage of social media like Facebook or Instagram on your side. And don’t forget to make promo partners. It works magic! It can be carting, bowling, rock climbing, rope course, quest rooms, whatever. If you get a cross-promotion deal, you can draw some of their client traffic. It’s an entertainment business, people need variety.

Q: How do you see Lasertag.net evolving in the future?

We will continue to develop in what we do – continue to create best-in-class laser tag equipment. But that’s not all, regarding our vision, we plan to develop Lasertag.net in three directions:

  1. Software. There are new features coming up, like personal stats, so players can see their performance over the year, analyze their game patterns and make adjustments. Now we prioritize software development in general.
  2. Further development of the kit. We want to give players new abilities and spice up existing ones. We have an idea of implementing teamwork bonuses and feats to make players engage with their teammates more. Newer players tend to miss out on team play a lot. So this feature should decrease the learning curve, from a design standpoint.
  3. Immersive technologies. If we talk about the perspective evolution of laser tag as a game, moving the envelope, so to speak, it must be a merger with Virtual or Augmented Reality of some sort. The technology is almost there, but the market is never kind to first adopters. It’s often better to be a close second and to learn on someone else’s mistakes. But Lasertag.net is ready to take this bold step.

At Lasertag.net, we aspire to create the most realistic and seductive experience. We want that a player have freedom of action, control over the surrounding, as in real life and full immersion experience.
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Interesting, right? If your curiosity is piqued and you have more questions about Lasetag.net or want to launch you own laser tag business and need advice, please contact us.