This is what I have learnt about running a business over the past 18 years

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 348. This is a recap of my Facebook live where I talked about what I have learnt about running a business over the past 18 years.

Here’s the audio for this episode:

Here’s the video for this episode:

Timestamp

00:00 Start
01:30 Worst thing to do as a business owner
05:40 My final tip

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Transcript from the Episode

One of the worst things, as a business owner that you can do is to be reactive, to just wait for that email to come in and say booking. That’s the worst thing that you can do. Because in hospitality we are very, very, very, very, very, very, very lucky. There is no other business in the world, no other career where you can create a business, open the doors to it, list it on 1, 2, 3 websites can pretty much be guaranteed as long as your pitches are all right, guaranteed to get in revenue. With hospitality, you’ve got that because we are so in demand, especially now where we are in the world coming out of lockdown, there’s some pent up demand to go travelling. And again it very much is very much market-specific where you are in the world, etc, etc. But there is a massive demand for it.

And so Airbnb have come out and said, Listen, we need at 1 million, we need millions of more hosts to cope with the demand. And you know, it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because you can go get listed on Airbnb and pretty much guaranteed to get bookings in straightaway. But it’s a curse because as soon as that happens, you get lazy. And when you get lazy, you become over Reliant. And like you said last March, everybody who was around and had a business and other hospitality business and we’ll never forget it. It was the 21st of March 2020 is when you woke up on the phone, like you said, and Airbnb sent our blanket notification email to everybody. All of the platform hosts and guests saying free cancellation doesn’t care what the policy is. And they rub salt in the wound by giving vouchers back.

It was crazy for a lot of people, not everybody. And a lot of people never got the money. They never got the help and support they never got the thing doesn’t matter what the PRB did on either end because they had the IPO and Ico spray and all that. So it’s a blessing and a curse.

And there’s no coincidence in the fact that April 2020 to today, my business growth went up 200% because there were people that were stout Airbnb supporters, especially in America because Airbnb is an American thing. There was so behind it but they’ve changed the verb it’s no longer str it’s Airbnb, I’ll get an Airbnb, it’s not I’ll get short term rental is I’ll get an Airbnb. They were the ones were like, hang on a second, I’m building a business here. I can’t be just relying I can’t put build my house on someone else’s land, I can’t put my eggs in someone else’s basket, I got to do something about it. I got to become multi-platform, I got to get this thing called a direct booking website.

And I’m very, very, very fortunate that for the last four years of building a personal brand of showing up every single day, coming on podcast talking about these things, not talking in stages that when somebody went into our Facebook group and goes, who do I go to for a website, people were instantly recommending me which was which was amazing.

My final tip

And this brings me back to maybe my final tip to give I know we’re sort of running out of time, is that business is all about two things. Number one, it’s relationships. And number two is about becoming a go-to. So relationships just like anything, and Matt Hancock and his cronies are all about this. It’s not who you are, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, at the end of the day, you could just be next-door neighbor to Mr. Health secretary, and you can get a multi-billion dollar contract. And it’s the same with anything. It’s like high school, it’s like when you want to get picked on a football team. It’s not how good you are, if you know the captain, and that’s literally his business. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, relationships.

And it’s about when you first start and join in that local BNA group going on a Friday, going down for breakfast, meeting other business owners in the area, telling them about you and your business and what you’re doing. Because you never know, these are the people, the business world is very successful, everybody knows everybody, all it takes is for you to stand up and go, hey, I’ve got a couple of really, really high-class luxury apartments and houses that are made for contractors or people business owners coming in from out of town and need a place to stay that don’t want to stay in a Travelodge with crappy Wi-Fi, we actually work out really cost-effective. And if I’m fully booked, I’ve got a wealth of other people in my network that I can recommend you to as well, just doing that for about three or four months building those networks, because you never know, they may not be the person that is going to be your customer, but will definitely know somebody who’s coming into town and they’ll go, john, I’m coming to target where do you recommend, get the links, or check her out mazing properties? Really well well known. I’ve met her at the local bar, and I go check her out.

And again, that’s the relationship building and becoming the go-to is even more simpler. You’ve got to become your local brand ambassador. So what do I mean by that? With the Grainary what I did is I created a loyalty scheme, not alone scheme for the Grainary. But I went and I went to my favourite coffee shops. I went to my favourite days out I went to my favourite bars and restaurants and pubs in the local area that I knew that my guests would like. And I went to them and I introduced them I said hey, you know I’ve been cleaning for ages. I don’t know if you know this, but I actually run the greenery for them bedroom guesthouse. We’ve got 300 cottages, we have 1000s of guests come every year through our business. And I would love to recommend them to come and check out you when they come to the area.

And what we did is I basically said if you’ve got any discount that you could offer, so I worked out discounts with each one and I created a cool little PDF, a little print out a little laminate, whatever you want to call it. I actually stayed in a place in Harrogate and they create a mini-map which I loved. And I wish I stole the idea but I didn’t I just loved it and sort of moved on. But again, you can create a mini-map of for example Torbay, and just pinpoint on that you can get a printer to do it for you. But your favourite places to go you can leave it on the kitchen table and get a cleaner to put it down. And you can do this place at 10% discount for an instant discount. You get a free star x y Zed because a guest when they’re coming to your area for the first time doesn’t matter. It’s leisure or workcation or staycation or whatever it may be. They would love to have the insight of a local person because they don’t want to be wasting their time trying to find on Google or TripAdvisor or a place to eat or takeaway or whatnot. They just want to go here. It’s amazing.

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