You work hard but you should also work smart.

5 Lessons Any Business Can Learn From An Escape Room

I would like to see you amp up your business game. We have some teaching points that can help you grow your business while establishing a brand. The context is Situation Room recently launched a new game called Macon Timescape . It really is quite fascinating sending people all around our downtown area to solve a series of puzzles while they interact with augmented reality. The creation of this game was a process and had some very valuable learning points along the way. The design of this game is so complex it's like The Amazing Race but as an escape room.

Quick Takes: read the article to see examples on how to implement these lessons
    Solve a problem
    Cooperation is Powerful
    Be Critical
    Organize Then Empower
    Practice Humility

help others written on sidewalk

Make Your Business Matter

1. Solve A Real Problem By Helping Others - I don't mean solve your own problems. What is meant is to solve your problem but solve other's problems too. With the world turning upside down due to pandemic our fellow local downtown business owners were admitting some struggles due to decrease foot traffic. Someone else's problem right? People were getting bored of always being at home in quarantine itching to get out of the house but wanted to do it in a safe way that would help avoid crowds. Someone else's problem right? At the same time we were in the need to keep customers coming back for more entertainment as our current 2 escape rooms have already been played by a lot of people and we were getting calls asking about when a new experience is coming. That would be our problem right? To solve everyone's problems we decided to create a game that would be safe in a pandemic world ( ie. outside while building social bridges). Good news is this would also increase foot traffic downtown and provide an entertainment value to our community. That is really how you should approach your future product launches and your whole business philosophy for that matter. Make your business matter to people. This is how you build a successful brand.

outdoor game in Macon Macon is a Puzzle

2. Realize Cooperation is powerful - You can work within your business community to see great results. Once we came up with the idea for our time machine based outdoor puzzle adventure game we reached out to community based organizations to help garner support for it and build a word of mouth campaign. This turned out to provide value for all involved. It gave us an opportunity to build some inital buzz, educate others about our offerings, and it was a clear statement to our community of gamers and local business owners that we care about them. An idea for your business might be to find a complementary organization and shoot them an e-mail saying something like "Hey Judd, I know 2020 has been a whirl-wind. As we move toward 2021 would you like to partner together and provide a value that will stimulate both our businesses? I am looking forward to brainstorming with you. Please, let me know. All the best, - Brandan" . This type of casual email is relaxed, projects confidence and will likely keep a door open for others to work with you. We partnered with our local Macon tourism group, downtown growth organization NewTown, and others who could see the reward if our project went well.

3. Be Critical -Anyone ever tell you that you can be your worst critic? That is true but what is also true is that you can also be too in love with your project to see it's flaws. Afterall no-one likes to hear that their baby is ugly right? We story boarded our new game and came up with what we thought would be good. Then looking at it we needed to make a game that was thematic with a futuristic appeal. We drafted so many designs and while doing this I remembered something I was taught at Disney University when I was a Castmember. Walt Disney use to push the bounderies of his team to inspire creativity and grow a small project to a big one by simply asking his team to "Plus it" which by the way is where the name "Disney Plus" comes from. You see by doing this you keep pushing the bounderies of what you were once comfortable with. The business lesson here is that if you do the impossible there will be less competition. So after throwing away multiple draft for our game we took our own advise to HELP OTHERS (problem solving for others) and Cooperate with specialist. We enlisted the assistance of an aircraft engineer to help us build a time machine after we 3D modeled it in a CAD program. We then asked a friend who is a dentist to help us with making molds for the aesthetics which gave the product a hollywood movie set like feel. Next we knew we wanted to make an impact and grow with technology. So we learned to use game design software to implement augmented reality, we studied hard and learned about artificial intelligence, geolocation and app making. This really could be a whole other post topic about things business owners and leaders need to start doing to stay ahead in 2021. I digress. To make sure we had a polished product we than asked a friend who specializes in APP production and is known throughout the world for some of his creations to help us work out some kinks. The end result? We got a product that we are very proud of from every angle by being a hyper-critical approach in the begining and not being content with what felt comfortable.

4. Organize and Empower Your Team - Being organized is a great asset of a leader. The next thing is to make sure you communicate the "goal" clearly to everyone on the team. This means that they all got the same communication. Then let your team do their job without micromanagement. We often say "let builders build", "let designers design", "Let our game masters run games" which is a simple way of allowing our specialist to specialize in the things they are passionate about. So when we run into problems with aspects of a project the folks that are passionate about that are more likely to come up with a fantastic solution. Once we learned this it took problem solving from a 2 hour discussion to a 2 minute conversation. We deploy this easily by making sure everyone knows where the other parties are. We make sure everyone gets the same message and is aware of any delays. A great example of this is when one of our time capsule energy cells for the time machine was not opening correctly, the carpenter spent 12 hours to correct one out of 4 items. Once the problem was communicated we let the team know and our engineer came up with a solution that took the builder 10 minutes to correct for instead of a whole working day on the next 3 energy time capsules. This is the way you build a respectable company culture that will inspire your team to keep coming to work everyday. Everyone wants to be a problem solver. That is why escape rooms are still in business.

5. Practive Humility -You will not have all the answers. Not everything you do will be a success. Gary V once said in an interview "the definition of being an entrepreneur is being able to live with failure". Do not be afraid to fail consider it an opportunity to learn. Stay positive because on the other side of a failure you will hit some home runs! It's harder to be humble after success than it is to push forward after a failure.
I hope these lessons above can help you hit your next project out of the park.

Situation Room is my company and I love what we do. If you have any questions or want some real world individual advice we always get excited about business talk. Reach out at Info@SituationMacon.com. This is an offer that I mean because when we were just forming we had a lot of mentors that helped us and just like the breakfast line at chick-fil-a sometimes it's nice to pay it forward.

Written by
Brandan Wormsbacher
Situation Room, Co-Founder