The ever-changing opening and closing of my B & B that has come due to various lockdowns and restrictions has left me questioning if running this business is still for me.
I cannot decide if this industry is still the one that I want to be in or even if I would not rather be employed than self-employed? It may be a case of having too much thinking time on my hands but I feel I need a little feedback and wonder if you can help?
I have a saying that I use when coaching and supporting clients through my business The Tiny Troubleshooter ‘If the passion is in doubt, get out!’. I do feel however throughout most of 2020 and heading into 2021 anyone who has been impacted by Covid-19, whether that be health, business or even both, can be left questioning what they would normally see as a clear plan or vision for running a business and how it fits with the lifestyle they have.
The passion for what they are doing maybe heading towards an all-time low. This is not just in the B & B sector but many business sectors that have been hit hard by Covid-19.
It has been extremely difficult to plan and predict what your cashflow might look like, especially if you have fallen outside of Government or Local Authority grants that have been issued as many people have. You may have had to resort to a Government loan and are now seeing that disappear with no sign of business coming back any time soon.
My advice is to make a list of Pros & Cons for carrying on running your business. This might help you understand a little more about the impact it would have on your lifestyle and income generating opportunities.
If you can afford to why not think about closing your B & B for a period of time and taking employed work. After all, if you were to put the business up for sale right now as a going concern you are unlikely to achieve the same price for it as you would in normal trading times.
The key thing to remember is that the grass may look greener on the other side but in my 30 odd years of being self-employed it very rarely is. Talk to family, friends and those in your wider network to get a feeling of how things are for them, preferably people outside of the B&B sector.
Another thing I have discovered, having had a brief employed period about 10 years ago at a time in my life when my business was not doing well, is that I am unemployable. Many people that have been self-employed for some time are! If you would like to chat about further feel free to get in touch. Whatever you decide, Good Luck for 2021!
The more we read the more we feel that once the current lockdown ends the strong likelihood is that we will return to a Tier system across England. Our B & B is located in what started as a lower Tier level though the locations we attract many customers from fell in Tier 3 & 4 areas.
Looking at statistics this could be a similar situation once this lockdown ends. We are based in a town that relies heavily on tourism and a number of our competitors chose to welcome Tier 3 & 4 guests even though Government advice stated people living in those areas should not travel outside of them.
We chose not to do this as we felt we had a duty to keep our town safe. Unfortunately, there were not the grants and support available to us when we were in a lower Tier and do not feel we cannot carry on staying closed and losing guests to our competitors.
Unfortunately, as we know, many of the rules set out by Government since March 2020 have been a little grey and have relied on the public using both their common sense and moral compass.
What you may see as rational is not necessarily what your business peers deem to be the same and this is where many problems lie.
Cumbria, as a region, found itself going from Tier 2 in mid-December to Tier 4 on 30th December, much of this could have been attributed to those with second homes and holiday accommodation visiting the region over the Christmas break.
We can of course not confirm this but having spoken to local B & B owners who had not, like you, welcomed guests from Tier 3 & Tier 4 locations they felt this was a probable cause for a large increase.
It is important that organisations that represent groups of short-term accommodation owners in a local, regional and national capacity continue to lobby Government so that the problem of attracting guests and customers from outside an area is highlighted.
Many are doing this already and my advice is you speak to any you are affiliated to. Hopefully as the vaccine is rolled out we can see light at the end of the tunnel and start attracting guests to the many beautiful areas across the UK.
This article was first published in Issue 46 of the Luxury BnB Magazine in February 2021: