Three years ago we started Evergreen dine and stay. This is a Home Stay business that provides affordable short term accommodation for individuals as well as groups of people. No one can prepare you for the experience of starting a business from scratch. It has been a journey, an adventure and a personal growth challenge like nothing you will ever experience. If you are new here, my name is Lucy Manyara. I am an eye specialist at the Family eye Clinic and I manage the Evergreen Dine and Stay business. Juggling the 2 careers in health and hospitality is not an easy one.
That aside, in the 3 years and-counting on we have learnt the following major lessons that you can apply to your home stay business.
- Start small –Even if you make errors it will not cost you so much. Learn and redo until you are sure of what works and set out the structures and processes for your business.
- Training is key. No one is an island and there are things that you will need to learn and teach your staff. Learning is a continuous process and unless you learn you may not be able to execute your duties optimally. Train and develop your staff and they will take the business to another level.
- Create a culture that runs your business so that every staff, current and new knows what the business stands for and how things are done. The idea here is to give a great experience to your guests because this is what leads them to keep coming back and referring others to you.
- Share your vision with your family and staff. Your family will be your biggest support especially at the beginning when you are putting everything in place. They will give you ideas that you can use to improve your original idea. Let your children be part of this and learn and work with you as you develop a family office. My son and nephew work part time when they are not in school and it helps them build a work ethic. Getting commitment from your staff is better when they understand what the business stands for and where it is going so that you all work towards a shared common goal.
- Learn to outsource what you cannot or are not able to do. I found that creating my website and running a social media platform a daunting task. I have therefore tasked these activities to different people to do it for me so that I could release my time to do what I am good at.
- Develop processes and structures that work. As you begin, see what works for your business and write it down as your processes. Be clear what must be done at each point. This ensures that each team member knows what to execute in each scenario.
- Communication is key and never make assumptions. People understand certain aspects very differently and you need to make it very clear from the very start to avoid misunderstandings. Get affordable smart phones from Kilimall for you and your staff.
- Delegate. As the business grows, you must be able to delegate to avoid burn out. If you have a shared vision, this becomes easy. Start by delegating small tasks but with checks and balances. With time it will become much easier as your staff know the expectations. Eventually, they will be able to take care of the business without you and this is the ultimate hope of every business owner.
- Replicate what works and do not be in a rush to expand. It is better to have a compact business with profits than to have a huge business venture with too much capital expenditure as you risk having liquidity problems. Liquidity is what keeps businesses running and brings the profits flowing.
- Market your business online. Create and market your brand. Marketing is now easier and cheaper with the internet and social media. Create a website and use social media. These are powerful marketing tools and just by a stroke of your gadget you can reach huge numbers of potential customers. Remember customers are your brand ambassadors. Treat them like royalty and you do not have to spend money on marketing because they will do this for you.
I do hope that you find this article helpful. If you own a business and relate with the lessons drawn from my experience, I would love to hear your tips and words of advice here. If you, your friends or family need a serene place for short or long term, book evergreen for a great experience!