Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dustin Staats, Owner of BGE's Tabletop, located in West Hills, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At BGE, we're all about leveraging the positive impacts of tabletop gaming. We believe tabletop games can be excellent tools and entertainment for creating stronger relationships and experiences for ourselves and others in our lives. We are here to help you find the perfect tabletop gaming experience for you and your game group. Be sure to make use of the various ways to stay engaged with our community and us by signing up for our newsletter, which contains our calendar of events, recent content curated specifically for tabletop gamers, special promotions and sales, and other great perks and benefits for taking the first step to becoming a member of our gaming community.
Tell us about yourself
I have experience working in the field of education in various capacities, including consulting, research, and running and hosting tutoring programs. I am now the owner of Board Gaming with Education's brick-and-mortar store, "BGE's Tabletop." When I was in the classroom, I was always looking for ways to create a more engaging classroom to develop a strong classroom culture and strengthen learning, and I am thrilled to be able to provide similar positive tabletop gaming experiences to the community at BGE's. And I couldn't do it without the support of my amazing wife, Grace. You can find me playing board games with friends, running the store, running around LA training for races, or at any of the "BGE's Tabletop" events.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner to date has been opening a brick-and-mortar store and creating a safe and inclusive community of gamers! The most rewarding thing as a business owner is seeing our space being used for engaging entertainment, building relationships, and for a bit of learning.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing as a business owner is dealing with stress and maintaining my physical and mental health. There are so many pitfalls we fall into as business owners, such as feeling guilty when taking breaks, comparing ourselves to others, not taking the appropriate amount of breaks, and falling victim to burnout. It is very important to me that I use healthy coping habits like exercise and spending complete time away from my business. We even implement a week-long mental health break at our store twice a year because we want to be sure we share with our community how important it is to take breaks and prioritize our mental health.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Done is better than perfect-- especially when getting started with something, whether it's launching your business, a new podcast, a stream, or a new project/process within your business. You will always have time to refine, and you'll likely learn how to better refine and implement things as you go.
- Takes things in pieces— you will make mistakes and learn and grow, and it's best to take it in steps so as you fail and learn, you can implement new strategies in the next step of growth.
- Your competitors are better viewed as collaborators-- especially in the board game/gaming industry. There is a lot of room for growth in the hobby, and the saying "a rising tide raises all ships" rings very true in this space.
- Bonus: Finally, no one knows what they're doing! We're all in this together, and even the biggest brands are still learning as they go.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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