This is an abridged summary of steps necessary for the creation of the Olympus Campground Resort, and our current progress toward attaining these goals. For a detailed checklist of milestones and tasks required for their completion, please see the Business Plan (available to potential investors upon request).
Current stage of progress:
Initial Research and Development
We are currently in the research and development phase. Mel has taken a few small business courses from Tidewater Community College and is currently taking online courses related to starting a business and small business funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and through Lynda.com.
Online research into similar LGBTQ, Pagan, and other campgrounds was completed in the Fall of 2016, and field trips to a few of these are planned for the summer and fall of 2017. Mel has already been to a couple of these campgrounds while participating in previous events and gatherings.
An initial business plan has been completed as of February 2017. This will continue to be tweaked throughout each stage of development.
A website for the campground resort was created in May 2017. This will be used to generate interest among potential investors and customers. Some intermediate events including fundraisers and gatherings will be promoted on the site to cultivate interest.
After the initial research and development stage, the remaining stages have been broken into milestones. Milestones allow each stage to be broken into manageable action steps, and for each stage to mark completion with the attainment of a tangible goal.
Milestone #1: Land Purchase
This phase will be marked by the purchase of a suitable parcel of land to create the campground resort. A number of counties in central Virginia will be researched and visited to determine an appropriate location. A second partner will be sought who is interested in co-founding and co-managing the business. The land itself will be purchased by the owner(s) who will secure personal loans or other means to purchase the land. Initial land preparation measures such as clearing, drilling a well, and installing a septic tank may take place at this stage.
Milestone #2: Incorporation
After the land is purchased, Olympus Campground Resort will incorporate, secure a business license, establish a bank account, and take other actions necessary to become a business.
Milestone #3: Reach Fundraising Goals
Once incorporated, steps will be taken to secure the funding necessary to establish the business including land development, buildings, furnishings, and other funding needs. A financial advisor will be consulted to determine the best way to sell stock and distribute dividends. Stock prices will be set at this stage.
Fundraising efforts will include seeking small business loans and grants; selling shares in the business; crowdfunding; soliciting donors; hosting fundraising events; and selling charter memberships to the campground resort. Once the resort is within 6-months of the grand opening, we will begin taking reservations for camping, special event weekends, gatherings, and outside group events.
To find out how you can help, please visit our Investor page.
Milestone #4: Buildings and Grounds
With funds in hand, initial buildings and land features will be constructed. Essential buildings will include a main lodge with restaurant space; a shower house; dining shelter; and living quarters for the owner(s). In addition to a well and septic tank, essential land features will include a gravel parking lot; some cleared campsites; a small number of RV spaces; one or two outdoor stage areas; a fire circle; and a handful of sleeper cabins. Additional buildings and land features that are not essential at first, but highly desired, include a recreation building with a snack bar; a pool; a couple of bunkhouses, and a handful of deluxe cabins.
Milestone #5: Grand Opening
A grand opening will take place at the start of the camping season in the spring. By that time, the buildings and grounds should be mostly in place and furnished (some buildings and land features can be added later); reservation, security, payment and other systems should be in place; a food vendor should be contracted; staff should be hired and trained; the first season of events should be planned; marketing and promotions should have been done; memberships and reservations should be taken.
An opening festival with prizes and giveaways will take place.
Milestone #6: Turn a a Profit and Pay off Investors
It is hoped that the campground resort will start turning a profit within the first couple of years of operation. Once the business becomes self-sustaining and profits are made, the business will begin to pay investors their dividends on a set schedule. Within 10 years of opening, it is hoped that the business owners will be able to buy back the remaining shares in the business from the shareholders.