Elevator Pitch: Bogan Bingo Entertainment

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Darren Hilsley, founder of Bogan Bingo Entertainment.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea

Bogan Bingo is an entertainment concept that combines the interaction of your usual trivia night with the laughs and professionalism of a local comedy night. It’s a real game of bingo, with the numbers being cues for songs from the ’80s and ’90s and jokes about our Australian past. With everyone dressing up in their Bogan best, it all comes together as one huge party.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

We target football clubs and sporting clubs as they seem to attract the largest crowds. When clubs have their annual general meetings, we’ve made sure we’re part of the conversation and can help fill their social calendar or be selected as their major fundraiser for the year. These clubs give us the largest audience to perform for and we then promote Bogan Bingo for work functions and bucks or hens nights to these audiences.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

Our biggest challenge is growing the team at the same rate as demand for the show. It takes many shows to train up a host who can deliver the show to the level we require, so this does make us quite dependant on finding great talent. If we take too many bookings and then later find out our core team is not available, we have to expediate the training of new members outside of shows, which takes a lot more time.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

We differ because we provide an entertainment experience. It’s a performance and rehearsed show on the stage, however is also interactive and the audience ultimately provide the biggest laughs for the night. People go in thinking it’s going to be an average bingo night, then come out of it raving about how entertaining and professional it was.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

We depend a lot on Dropbox. We have over 400 shows a year to manage around the country and the team leaders in each state need a shared drive for payment details and updated information about shows.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I have received was to call up three TV stations to try and promote the show. It was going to be a lot of wasted energy trying to protect Bogan Bingo from being ripped off. I trademarked it pretty quickly but didn’t want to worry that other people would start doing their own versions. So, I rang Getaway and got hold of the producer and they got back pretty quickly and came down to film a show.

Getting it on national television was obviously pretty good for business, but it also helped trademark the show to a level that gave me the comfort to focus on the product instead of worrying about the competition. Not only that, but the segment was obviously a favourite and ran about another six times over the next few years.

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