My second blogfest guest today is Liz Truckle, who like #44 before her is also a member of SBBM. These women are good, coming in under deadline with a couple of days to spare. I confess… there was some judicious nagging there on my part at times (surely not, Judith?). Here she is, Liz:
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 and 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 Judith’s book that she made me 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 I 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 two. 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
- clear, clean and frequent communications
- 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, our 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.
Just 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 business 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 in Austria 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 in our own way. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Read Liz’s article in full HERE at the Landhaus Lilly website, as she intended. While you are there, enjoy her beautiful website. She’s really good with photographs too and if they don’t make you want to go and visit, I’ll be surprised.
Like a few more of our Blogfesters, you too were a founder member of Small Business Big Magic, in at the beginning and very much a part of the magic we co-create there. We have fun, comparing notes, and being so similar and yet so different. Only last night I observed how much I could learn from you as well as vice versa. I love that.
Thank you too for all your various contributions to the book, submitting at least one question, proofreading so ably, cheerleading, congratulating and now blogfesting. You are an ally, a supporter and an all-round Top Bird and since I am so close to you and the story of the Truckles in Austria, I can say with ease that you totally deserve your success and not just from the hard work, the long work too, but the way you have grown as a business owner in the last five years, even during the course of me writing my book in August and publishing it in December – that fast!
Your piece serves to remind us all that we can reinvent ourselves. How many of us can say we are living our dream lives and that our business supports that? Not even me quite yet! What a fabulous achievement, richly deserved. Kudos to you both. x