After five years in the business, what else can business owners work on?
I am the Recreations and Events Manager at a resort that has been open for over 5 years. The resort has mostly worked through all the challenges that come with starting a business. What should be the main priorities or focus of a business once they are established?
Keeping it alive and updated with current trends that may bring in more money.. if the owner gets so bored, moving onto another new challenge: a new business.
One of my clients is a lodge-fishing camp in Canada. In the case of my business, I believe very strongly in never stop learning. I have been at it for 22 years. However, I never stop looking for opportunities to learn more. I have been creating web sites for many years, and had clients while in college. However, I have been taking more web design classes through a meetup group. The difference between what that meetup group is doing and what programs such as Dreamweaver and WordPress do is that this group is using a web site that teaches coding. It has been awhile since I actually hard-coded a web site, but now, with HTML 5 and CSS 3, it presents a new challenge for me. I strongly recommend everyone be open-minded and keep on learning more about your business and use examples of others. The folks running the lodge-fishing camp have never stopped learning, either.
Since I don't know your company firsthand, let me give you a few general ideas.
First, you have to make sure that you continually nail the fundamentals – no matter how long you are in business you always have to do these things well:
Find, grow and retain top talent.
Build a winning culture of highly engaged employees that consistently deliver the required business results.
Own the voice of the customer, be better than any of your competitors listening to the real concerns, wishes, desires and fears of your ideal target customers so that you understand them better than anyone else in your marketplace.
Create a high accountability culture where you take your great business ideas and execute them with discipline, because even the best ideas are worthless you can't put them into action effectively.
If you got those things down pat, then I would be focused on driving massive amounts of new business through word-of-mouth referrals from my top customers.
I would also be constantly looking at my strategy to make sure that it was compelling, differentiated, defendable and that you execute it flawlessly in the marketplace.
Lastly, another fundamental – if you don't manage cash flow, you won't be managing much for long. There is never a time in a business that you can't have absolutely superb financial controls.
I hope you found this helpful – John Spence
In my experience the number one thing business that have been open, in your case for 5 years or more, fail to do is plan for the low times. If you Hotel has pools, outdoor lounges, Hotel owned restaurants what happens if a pool needs maintenance? Or a Lounge floor needs re-done? Or the restaurant gets closed down because of health regulations? These unforeseen costs and possible renovations need a source of income. And if your hotel is in a low time, where money is tight, it can cripple your profits, put you into debt, or even foreclosure. So if you own this business or one like it, don't forget to always have reserves.
Appreciating the people that helped get you there. Lasting relationships and referrals.
Companies can strive to Break Big - move onto the level of serious and planned growth through new products/services, wider geographies, greater customer care of existing valued customers. Strengthening supply chain relationships and sharing with them your growth ambitions. Your success is their success too.
There are internal measures to take too - ensuring great leadership and management, satisfied employees who are part & parcel of understanding and delivering strategic vision of the organisation,
Simply improving the products and customer experiences. (And the work environment)
I agree with many of the answers below----think outside in and then inside out, make sure you are holding true to you mission and vision statements...Start to address and understand your strengths and wweaknesses
Richard Sterrn-Suggest preparing a Vision Statement..
Once your company has maximized the profit potemtial of the company then you need to consider the next phase of deelopment of your company that does not disturb your base..
You have passed the 5 year hump of staying or not staying in business. Congrats. Now is the time to organize activities, personnel and marketing. Pass down the things you can and expand your outside the front door activities to find business partners and build the business.
In my experience, this is a pivotal point to continue to working on continuous business operations. Once you have tackled the challenges, you can begin to streamline operations and look for areas of efficiencies to increase profit margins. It is also a good time to make sure you continue to be head of any trends in your industry.
Jason, always continue to learn and tweak your business. Success is not getting to the top it is staying there, it takes more effort to stay on top than it took to get there.
Never forget, no business can ever be put on auto pilot. Reach out to people in other markets and learn something from them.
After 5 years in business you are now in a position to start reaching for excellence.
Or you are at the beginning of the decline.
Can you say that you are doing everything as well as it can be done?
Is your resort considered absolutely the best in it's class?
Do your key people and staff see an upside for perfecting the resort.
5 years is a most dangerous time.
Twice in my life, so far, I've reached points where both I and the people that were part of my teams, as well as the extended team of vendors and customers felt we had reached a pinnacle of success. The problem with the pinnacle illusion is that you and your staff After spending a it of time there I started looking for new pinnacles to climb.
In looking back it's crystal clear that the feeling like we'd reached the pinnacle was a total illusion.In reality it was only a pinnacle to us because we had never been high enough to see the much higher levels that were now accessible.
The journey to mastery has no pinnacles, and every goal you reach discloses new goals to strive for.
The alternative is inevitable decay in moral that will start eroding your current position.
One possible next step I might suggest is that you all add two goals.
Train a new staff that can do your jobs at least as well as you can.
Learn what will create a high enough guest satisfaction rate to maintain 70% occupancy rate in the low seasons.
When you achieve those goals you should start looking for a location for a new resort(s)
Firstly you can diversify your business. Secondly you can add many things in your business or give up more services to your customers. Lastly take your business to next level by bringing more technology.
Jason, congrats on passing the dreaded five year mark and still be in operation. Lots of great answers already. Now why not decide to be the best in class in your area,state and country.
In my opinion first establishment and success of a business it is best to be measured after 10 yrs of being in field. And i dont understand when u say what should be the main priorities, it means you dont have competitors,Market,Clients,Visions and Missions about your business.For my experience the answer is NO.
So now focus on how to make it a known brand and conquer your market,fulfill your clients needs(clients always came with something new),advertisement and also dont forget to promote and arrange seminars for your employees.
Diversification of business in areas of interest
Skill development of employees
Ongoing improvement in quality of services
Introducing and updating technology
I would like to build upon some of the answers that you received and suggest that you look at three things. 1) What is your competition doing better than you are? 2) What plans do you have in place for where your industry is going to be in the future? and 3) Don't lose sight of what got you where you are and what you need to do to continue to improve the overall operation.