On Starting A Board Game Business From Scratch

Published: June 8th, 2020
Bosco Li
BoardGameBliss Inc.
from Scarborough, England, United Kingdom
started November 2013
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My name is Bosco. My wife and I married in 2012, we have a good income in our eyes, and we didn’t need to worry about much at that time. In 2013 I came across a similar article like this. I asked myself what is my dream, what would I do if I had infinite money. I tell myself I would open board games cafes around the world, because I believe Board Games can bring a lot of joy to people, and I want to see people have fun connecting and bonding with each other. Because of that, I started praying to God if this is something I should do.

After a while, I felt more and more pushes in my heart to do this and I felt peace in doing so as well. I talked to my wife and my pastor at that time, all seem to support this idea, so I started to go for it as a side project I do at night. Registering the business, creating catalog and research on how to stock games and run an online store, manage the money, manage the inventory, etc.


What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?

I studied computer science at the University of Waterloo, and have been working for IBM for 9 years before I started the store. God gave me the skills, and sense to know what to do next and how to find answers, especially on the computer side to build the store. I was able to build a website using Shopify easily.

I remember I felt very nervous when I placed an order to buy the initial stock, it was close to $10k CAD and I never spent that much money to buy all board games. I took a leap of faith and keep going and praying my way through. It’s true opening the board game store the income is lower and the risk is higher, but the enjoyment I have is much higher as well.

Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?

We started at the basement, then garage, then moved to our 1st floor and 2nd floor, then eventually we needed a warehouse to store the games as well as staff to handle day to day operations, every step we keep trying and praying for wisdom, although we did not make money every year, but we learn about our mistakes and are thankful to see the new opportunities that God has given us each year. I would say from day 1 to today we are still learning how to run a business better and better.

A little side story, when we first started our family just had a baby, my wife cannot help as much anymore. It was at night one time after dinner, I was very tired and I had a bunch of orders, perhaps 30 to pack. I was very sleepy, so I started to pray, “God, can you please help me? I’m so tired and sleepy”. Within 15 mins a customer rang the doorbell to do a pickup, and he asked if I needed help, and kind of forced me to let him come in to help. That night we were able to finish around 1 am which was amazing. The only one I told that I needed help was God, and God sent it.

We prayed for full-time staff, and God sent one.

We prayed for a place, and a good place appeared.

This is how God leads the store so far.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

I believe the store will be successful as we have a goal to rely on God if there are issues we will pray for wisdom to overcome, unless one day God asks us to close the store, we will keep pushing to make the store successful.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

We started to rely on Data to restock is much better than guts, which we have been doing for a few years. We have started to automate as much we can on our daily process as well.

Also, we are learning to do bookkeeping for our P&L and expense, as it helps us understand how the business is doing before it’s too late.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Shopify, Freshdesk, Google Spreadsheet with Macro

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Prayer and the Bible, how we should treat other people, and how we should use money.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Prayers, ask God to guide what’s the right thing for you to do on earth.

Where can we go to learn more?