How to Open a Nightclub in Los Angeles

If you are looking to start an exciting business in Southern California, consider learning how to open a nightclub in Los Angeles. Although only a few nightclubs soar to great success, making a careful business plan and knowing your target customers can help a great deal. Los Angeles is known as the city where dreams can come true, and that's also true for starting a nightclub business. It simply takes dedication, preparation, an investment of time, a long-term commitment and careful planning.

  1. Decide which type of nightclub you want to open, then get very clear on a specific niche that is not currently being catered to within Los Angeles. Whether your age group is older adults, the "it" crowd, celebrities or even a teen club that doesn't serve alcohol, there are limitless options for nightclubs, and you want to make sure that you are passionate about your chosen niche, as it's going to take standing by it for the long haul.
  2. Learn what's already out there by visiting existing successful and unsuccessful nightclubs. See which nightclubs are doing it right. However, you're not going to want to simply copy those who are doing it right. They've already succeeded in their niche. Instead, observe how they stand out, what they are doing to stand out and how you can apply this to your ideal niche. You may even speak to managers and club owners while you are out and about, revealing your own plans and asking them questions. Most people are happy to help out out, once they realize you're not trying to be direct competition.
  3. Compose a business plan for your nightclub. This will require a lot of decisions and research. Turn to the Small Business Association branch of Los Angeles, and it will help you compose a business plan if you need assistance. Also, you can look on its website for direct examples of business plans. It needs to call upon what you will need financially in order to get the nightclub off the ground, but it should also present a view of the first five years and a look at where you anticipate it to be in 10 years.
  4. Submit your business plan to banks, personal investors and potential partners. The business plan for your Los Angeles nightclub is your calling card and the power you have to get it off the ground. Within your business plan, you should have the exact financial needs listed and how much you can realistically and idealistically expect to make. 
  5. Secure financing and choose your investors and partners.  Make sure to only partner with those who you can trust and whose company you can enjoy or at least successfully deal with professionally. Shop around for loans, rather than securing the first offer, as you want to look at long-term rates.
  6. Choose a location for your nightclub in Los Angeles. There are many options, from the beaches of Malibu and Santa Monica to the re-vamped downtown area. Pick a location that best caters to your target crowd.
  7. Do renovations as needed and allowed, and decorate your night club. Keep it true to your original vision and niche market.
  8. Obtain liquor and business licenses for the Los Angeles liquor license authority. You must anticipate having all licenses in place at least a month prior to opening. The last thing you want to experience is last minute delays, in which you alienate your target market.
  9. Establish a presence of the web. All businesses, even a nightclub, needs to have a presence on the internet. You need to have a cool website that captures your vision for your location and establishes its unique niche clearly. An email address should be established where you-or someone you hire-can keep in close contact with customers, take reservations and answer questions. You should also set up a Twitter, Facebook and MySpace business page.
  10. Advertise in papers and online. Google may be a good option; it can be ideal for reaching those who are seeking night clubs in your niche in Los Angeles. 
  11. Plan a great opening night.  An opening night extravaganza can put your nightclub on the map, especially if it's a red carpet event that captures media attention.
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