All of us at The B&B Team work closely with aspiring innkeepers in our ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’ Seminars. And in the immediate future are looking forward to meeting and hopefully inspiring many aspiring folks at the upcoming PAII Innkeeping Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, January 23-26. Aspiring innkeepers are also aspiring entrepreneurs. Innkeeper = entrepreneur, interchangeable!
Question? Can a person learn to become an entrepreneur or are the essential skills ‘born’ in you? Let’s take a look.
- Positive attitudes and belief in yourself. People who have lingering doubts and anxiety over stepping outside a corporate mentality are most likely not meant for entrepreneurship. We have had some aspirers in our seminars who have queried; What if we fail? I can honestly say that not once did the thought of failure enter into our thought process when Rick and I started pursuing our innkeeping career. We educated ourselves by attending a seminar and PAII conferences, consulted with our financial advisors and innkeeping consultants, we researched and visited properties, did our due diligence when we identified a property and finally, gathered all our business and personal skills together and focused on the process that would lead us to our goal. By going through this process you gain knowledge which translates into confidence and belief in yourself. A very successful entrepreneur once said; ‘We entrepreneurs have a hard time imagining that what we believe in so much could do anything but succeed.” More about him as we move forward.
- Innovative and inventive mind. Your business/Inn is your baby; it must be nurtured and fed constantly. For instance, we always suggest a business plan be written in pencil because you will revisit it on a regular basis, and it will be revised as needed. Your baby also needs constant attention. An inventive and creative mind will be put to use to breathe new life into your property and your ever-changing marketing strategies. Keeping abreast of the latest hospitality and social media trends and then creatively adapting them to your Inn is a practice that can result in real success. It is also fun and challenging!
- Move at a hare’s pace, not a snail’s. Take your innovative ideas and implement them sooner rather than later. Always work to be a step ahead. Quick thinking people tend to be more successful.
Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (that successful entrepreneur I mention before) is one of the largest and most successful restaurant and hospitality companies in the world. But just like all entrepreneurs he started small with one restaurant. This quote from him highlights on the skills discussed so far. “The road to success is paved with mistakes well-handled. Overcoming adversity with imagination, courage, good humor and confidence is a crucial skill.” Mistakes? Yes, we have all and will continue to make some mistakes. Most can be foreseeable and avoidable from the beginning if you do your due diligence and go through the learning process. But I think Mr. Myers would agree that, if you make a mistake, have the courage to admit it, learn from it, change your direction and have the confidence to move ahead.
So, was the question answered? Can a person learn to become an entrepreneur? I think one has to listen to our internal voices. Do they say ‘go, go, go’ or do they say ‘maybe, I’ll see, I’m not quite sure’? Be honest with yourself when you listen to those voices! Then answer the question for yourself.
To conclude I will end with another quote from a favorite movie: A League of Their Own. Coach Jimmy Dugan is talking to the team’s star player, Dottie Hinson as she is about to quit the team.
Jimmy: Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up, you can’t deny that.
Dottie: It just got too hard.
Jimmy: It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard…is what makes it great.
Starting your own business/Inn is hard work and takes courage and conviction. But if you love the ‘work’ of providing pleasure for other people, which is the essence of hospitality, it can really be worth the entrepreneurial leap and the ensuing journey. Yes it is the ‘hard that makes it great’.