This is my first tip and it might seem obvious but here goes. Do not build, buy, rent or take on in any other way, a hotel, guesthouse, B&B or any other business without some knowledge and experience in the industry.
A huge number of new businesses fail in their first year. Yet more fail in the next few years following that. To own or run a business in any industry is a challenge. To truly build a successful business is not an easy thing. The hospitality industry in particular is brutal for a number of reasons. It’s highly competitive, it requires large investment of both cash and time, it can be difficult to market effectively, it can be tough to pin down your target market, and a whole bunch of other reasons. It therefore makes sense to ensure that you are as well equipped as you can be to take the challenge head on and make a go of it.
What does this mean in reality?
It means don’t decide you want to run a guesthouse and therefore jump in headfirst and buy one. Don’t just start a B&B and learn on the job. You might make a success of it, but it will be a lot more work and a lot more wasted time and money than it might otherwise need to be. You can read books, you can read blogs like this one, but there is no real substitute for actually doing the job and learning it first hand. That doesn’t mean from the point of view of owning and/or running your own establishment. It means take a job in the hospitality industry – at the very bottom if needs be – and learn how the business is run and the level of work that is required to run it.
As I said at the start, this might seem obvious. And yet there are still hundreds or thousands of people every year who decide that it would be fun or clever to simply start up or buy a guesthouse or B&B with no experience in the industry whatsoever. For most people, that’s just not a risk that is worth taking. Take a job at an existing guesthouse or B&B – ideally one that is well established and successful, and learn everything that you can whilst there. You might find that the industry is not for you, or you might decide that it is everything you dreamed it would be. Either way, you will gain invaluable experience that will ensure you have your eyes open if you do decide to go ahead with your own business.
In summary, do you best to read and learn what you can. The internet is a fantastic tool for learning, take advantage of that. In particular www.bandbassociation.org is a great place to start doing some research. Aside from that, get yourself out there and working in the industry before you take on the challenge of your own B&B or guesthouse!
Check back soon for the next post in this series.