November 2, 2012

Planning for Success in Business

It may be a cliché, but it’s also true; “failure to plan is planning to fail.” Year-end is a particularly good time to take inventory of the year’s successes as well as the shortcomings and make plans for the coming year. Planning for next year doesn’t have to be a daunting task when you take an objective look at your business. As I discuss in Chapter 3 of Running a Bed and Breakfast For Dummies, it’s also important to refer back to you business plan and review initial business goals. You can determine which ones you’ve met and where there are opportunities to take a different approach and increase business.
White House Inn & Spa, Napa, CA
At BnBFinder, we know that in order to be a successful marketing partner we can’t, and haven’t, stuck with the traditional “directory model” by simply being a listing service. Instead, listings are an active advertisement throughout the year, and our plans for 2013 include making BnBFinder packages even more dynamic.

Our PR & Marketing Department has a full calendar of media pitches. For example, the plan outlines advance outreach to magazines and other print publications, TV and radio promotions and a blog and press release schedule to promote events, holidays and so on around our inns. Of course, we’ve left room to be flexible enough to cover new and upcoming trends; have plans to greatly expand our social media efforts; and, as always, make sure we stay on top of whatever is new and popular (and we know there will be new things). Our development team will be rolling out some cool updates for BnBFinder-Mobile, and we have some exciting partnerships and opportunities in the works.

Have you thought about your plan for next year? There are a few things to think about. For example, do you have a mobile website? If not, perhaps you should consider that mobile users are action oriented people; more than 15% of all Google searches are now on mobile; and by 2013 Google is predicting mobile will replace PCs as the most popular way to access the Internet. What about a new niche? Have you had requests to host weddings or small groups at the inn? Can you accommodate them physically, with proper zoning and enough staff? Also, when thinking about how to expand a good place to start is Chapter 15 in Running a Bed and Breakfast For Dummies, “Assessing Your Success and Building Upon It.”

Are any of your policies out of date and possibly resulting in lost reservations? Have you ignored the importance of reviews and reputation management? If so, it’s probably a good idea to devote some time to this. Your plan could be as simple as doing a better job of promoting what you already do. Are the wonderful treats you offer at your inn and special touches you add to your guests’ stays pictured on your website? If you’re adding the value, make sure the guest knows – it costs nothing extra because you’re already doing it.

Of course, business and life throw us some curve balls and we have to react to them. But, when a strong roadmap is laid out ahead of time, these bumps in the road will be less disruptive to your business and enable you to keep on course for a successful year. I wish you the best of luck in your future planning!

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