Meet Chris Poirier, Founder of Columbus Got Game
Greetings true believers! My name is Chris Poirier, and I am a geek. I proudly enjoy comic books, video games, movies, technology, board games, and just about anything even remotely related. Seriously, my office looks more like a pop culture museum than a place of business, but that is what makes me who I am. But, that’s not all. I’m also a Pastor/Church Planter. Needlessly put, in a word, I’m different.
All of this to say, this identity also underpins our non-profit efforts right here in Columbus, Georgia. As Founder/Game Master of Columbus Got Game, all of our efforts were but a mere idea floating around in the gray matter between my ears and only a dream of many fellow geeks just like me. Playing games, reading comics, and enjoying all the nerdy pop culture scene is a community in and of itself that ranges all age groups, racial, socio-economic backgrounds, and beyond. What better way to build community than to give an existing group of people a place to call home and enjoy their fandoms together? Well, we couldn’t come up with one so after attending a CO.STARTERS class last year (yup, we started smack dab in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, because…well, we’re different).
A year later, I sit in my museum *cough* office *cough* and look out upon our physical drop-in play space location on 2nd Avenue in the Mill District. 1,000 square feet of computers for E-Sports and four televisions for console play, watch parties, and more. As we turn into 2022, we’ll go full-time (at least six days a week) offering after-school programs for youth, structure play for E-Sports, Role Playing Games, Trading Card Games, Table Top Games, and everything in between.
So, one may be wondering, how on Earth did all of this come together and how can I go from zero to implementation on my totally awesome business idea? Great question! Let’s go on an adventure, shall we?
So, you want to be an entrepreneur? GREAT! Got your business plan? Finances? An idea? Employees? Lawyers? Accountants? A building? Trademarks?
That’s okay! The single best advice I can give anyone with an idea is to START. If you don’t move, you come to a standstill. It’s truly that simple. Something in motion is harder to stop than the energy required to take that first step: It’s physics.
Sign Up for CO.STARTERS
Semi-Shameless Advertising Pitch (sorry, not sorry): Have an idea? Not sure where to start? Willing to invest in your own future? Perfect, sign up for CO.STARTERS, and be prepared to learn! It’s really that simple. Good ideas get better when you share them with others and work through all those pesky question marks. You may not come out on the other side with the same idea, but that’s okay. Bringing ideas to life is a process and CO.STARTERS helped give me the confidence to keep going.
Think you have the solutions to every little thing your business may encounter? Let me, let you in on a secret: You don’t. Once again, that’s okay. After CO.STARTERS you’ll find other like-minded entrepreneurs you can share ideas, struggles, etc.
However, don’t underestimate the power of those who came before you. Find people in similar businesses and seek out their insight. I know it sounds counterintuitive to talk to potential competition, but trust me, many of us want the community to succeed and the marketplace has plenty of room for us all.
Build The Right Team
By now you should realize that none of this is rocket science. Yet, building the right team is probably one of the most important steps. You have the idea, the drive, but you are only one human being (at least it is highly probable you are human, but I read enough comics not to make assumptions). Find people to share vision and goals with. Find people interested in the same things and bring them into the fold.
Don’t forget this includes outside help like lawyers, accountants, project managers, bankers, etc. Don’t be afraid to trust others with your ideas. Small armies have accomplished much throughout history and building a business of any type is no exception.
Guard Your Time
No snarky quips here. Time is what it is. Respect it, don’t overuse it, don’t underutilize it, and always ensure you have enough of it to rest and recover.
I think someone semi-important probably said at some point that if you are not having fun was it truly worth doing? Something like that. Building a business, or multiple businesses, IS stressful. However, bringing your ideas to life and impacting those around you can and should bring a smile to your face. With the right team, every hard day will come with the rewards of that work and continue to fuel your existence even in the face of overwhelming odds.
Once upon a time, I had an idea of how to engage the youth of Columbus with something entertaining that also has multiple educational and personal growth opportunities built into it. We play games, but we play games together and build community. All are welcome at our table and we hope to only grow as time marches on.
The above lessons helped me create something from nothing and drive me every day I get up and turn the lights on in our space. We proclaim the future of Columbus is through the simple reality that the geeks shall inherit the earth, but also the simple guiding words of the late Stan Lee,
“That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero…”
What will drive you to take that first step in momentum that propels you and your ideas into a life-changing decision to be a superhero right here in Columbus?
Chris Poirier is the Lead Pastor/Church Planter of River Valley Church and the Founder/Game Master of Columbus Got Game. Chris also is the co-host of The Pull List Podcast for Love Thy Nerd and a connoisseur of nearly all things considered even remotely nerdy. When not reading comics or playing video games he and his wife Rebekah seek out all that can be found on the nerd scene by hunting for vintage toys, finding the most epic comic shops, and getting their tabletop on. In the hours that remain, Chris serves as a missionary for Love Thy Nerd at conventions across the US. Previously, Chris served for almost a decade as a Program/Project Manager for the US Government, handling multiple high value, high impact National Security Programs/Projects.