Thoughts on being asked ‘how do you run your biz your way?’

Thank you Judith for inviting me to be part of your blogfest, to mark the exciting launch of your first book ‘Your Biz Your Way’.  Book number 1 of hopefully many more to come!

The book is a series of 52 questions (and answers!) all about running your own business.

You can find out more at Judith’s website.

Judith’s idea was to link to blogs posted by various people running their own business and I’m delighted to post my blog here … about running my biz, my way 🙂

I was SO keen to be part of the small team of proof-readers for the book that I had to promise that NO! I wasn’t just being nice in offering help and that YES! I really did have / would make enough time to do the task justice!  (For once, I thought, perhaps my near OCD for typos may actually be an asset).

To join in with the celebratory blogfest, I’m to answer the question about how I run my biz my way.  I’m also a bit nervous if the truth be told about writing down my thoughts, as right at this very moment, I don’t necessarily really know how I run my biz my way!  I just do it!  And perhaps that’s exactly it – it’s currently out of my conscious awareness.  So time spent writing this post will hopefully help shed some light on the matter.

Paul and myself run our B&B together, so in that sense, I’m in a partnership with ‘my biz’.  However, we are two very different people, with hugely different skill sets and preferences.  For the most part we have naturally gravitated to our own roles and responsibilities, and together we make our business work.  When it’s working well, the two of us, us being 1 + 1, definitely equals way more than the value of just 2.  Surely this must be the best result possible for any team working together, when the constituent parts can create more than the individuals could do separately.

So … how do I run my business my way … in a nutshell it seems to come down to:-

  • having clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as my friend Barbara would say. And
  • clear, clean and frequent communications, as Judith would add. And I would also include
  • the need for tasks to be easily understandable, rewarding, pleasant and even fun!

Working as a husband and wife team, these principles apply to us working together as well as when we are working with any supplier or when dealing with our guests.

After almost 5 years, we are now much better at knowing the roles we need to play to support the business.  I need clarity and am in charge of certain practicalities: check-lists for anything and everything, procedures, online presence, online booking, accounts and customer-facing elements.  Oh, and making sure that the towels stay nice and white and fluffy and general quality control.

We also work with various great people who support us in our business, from people who help with website and online booking processes, to the accountant and laundry man and many others in between.  Each and every person is valuable in their own right and I view them as part of our team, working in some way to support and deliver our product to our guests.  I not only need their professional assistance – but it’s important for me personally to work with them happily as part of an extended team.  Working in harmony with others is of high value to me personally and professionally.  Judith has also been an invaluable part of my own team, helping me sort ‘fact from fiction’, offering encouragement, making suggestions and generally offering support and a wise sounding-board.

With our guests, we need to be open about what we can (and can’t!) offer.  We need to ensure they understand the basic information: availability, room costs, what’s included, how payment works, check-in arrangements etc.  We contact everyone after they book and although it takes a while to send everyone a personal email, and perhaps answer any follow-up questions, we believe it is worth it.  Hopefully it literally sends a positive message and can help to avoid any misunderstandings or difficulties further down the line.  However, difficulties can and do very occasionally still happen.  And that’s when the ‘fun’ element is rather more difficult and challenging to maintain from my ‘nutshell’ list!

So, as I mentioned above about being a bit nervous about writing this article, I can be nervous in a different way if there’s an issue that needs to be resolved with guests.  This is generally ‘my’ job – but fortunately I don’t have many occasions to practice handling difficult issues with guests.  However if I do, I aim to trust my instincts, focus on finding a solution and not be overtaken by uncomfortable feelings.

We are fortunate that the vast majority of our guests do leave with a smile, which is what our job is really all about.  This is all excellent news for us – as with happy guests, we can continue our business, we can continue to support our lives here and also provide work to our extended team … so it’s win win all round.  We chose to come and run a B&B and both left ‘good’ jobs in the UK, moved to a different country and we are living our dream.  It’s been incredibly hard work but it’s great having our own biz, that we run our own way – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

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