Of the four pillars of a happy, thriving B&B business, the fourth pillar, Scale, is often the most alluring and can help you to expand your business.
It can create the illusion of growth and expansion but too often ends up creating chaos and disillusionment.
Why is that?
If we can imagine building a house. A huge amount of time and work goes on under the ground before the house rises to its full height.
There are plans to draw up, drains to lay, electrical cables to connect, and the concrete foundations to pour. And this is before any walls, windows or the roof can be installed.
If we think of a B&B business in this way, we can better understand what’s necessary for a strong, supported business that can withstand the vagaries of the market or the economy.
In our house-building analogy, the plans could be the Strategy. Knowing who you want to welcome and why they would choose you over anyone else, and being clear in our own minds what kind of experience we offer.
The Structure could be the plumbing and cables – keeping the business running smoothly for everyone concerned at the property itself.
What too many owners miss is the Systems part, which is like the foundations of the house. The systems and processes that actually make the business viable.
Even after many years of working with owners worldwide, I’m still shocked at the lack of understanding about this foundational principle or the attention paid to it. It really is like building your house on sand with no solid foundations in place to make sure it doesn’t fall down.
But once guests are coming and money is flowing, it’s easy to think that all is well and we can expand or acquire another business (Scale).
And there are many ways to Scale.
For example, you could add a small weddings business, or write and sell books both online or at your property. Everyone who serves breakfast can create a cookbook! Try doing retreats or larger gatherings, specialising in something that you care about to stay in alignment with your guests.
You could run educational courses yourself, or partner with a local specialist, such as photography, painting, quilting, cooking etc. Or maybe you see yourself as a YouTube video star, demonstrating your expertise, or maybe a writer, publishing your books online.
Many of us have hidden talents and knowledge that we don’t value and sometimes think no-one will pay for.
All it takes is a bit of confidence to put it together and put it out there. Be prepared to fail and learn as you go until you land on something that works.
If acquiring another business is your thing, make sure you have strong foundations in place for your existing business first and you won’t go wrong.
You simply replicate.
But if your current business isn’t properly set up, you could find yourself with a huge headache; bigger is not always better.
Simple and streamlined with all aspects of your business owned by you, is a business that can be added to or repeated.
Go carefully into the night…