Are we too tough on new people?

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I think the rose colored glasses are not the worst thing when it comes to a new venture. If you didn't have hope and enthusiasm, you would never get off the couch to get it going. Ideally we all want new people to enter the business as a rising tide lifts all boats. So maybe we should temper our advice with a bit of ... Any ideas? 

I know of several people on the board got a bit out of shape when joining, myself included. And most of us just went a head with it anyways but what about the lurkers who we have convinced this is not a good way to go? 

Just a thought.

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I have a brilliant and cunning plan.

Just saw this today on twitter and thought THIS is what we should do for Aspiring innkeepers, or those who are PRE-aspiring and come to the forum for answers. (and thes list, oddly enough actually fits INNKEEPING!)  surprise

Wake up and smell the cake: 50 things they never told you about being a chef http://bit.ly/11GIbpi  

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And there are some of us (me this time) who don't know to just leave a thread alone.  I'm afraid I used my quiet morning coffee time (for once, not having to prep and cook breakfast) to get on this board and chat.  I should have paid more attention to all the comments and responses preceding mine.  On the other hand, I've never been called "Sir" before!  <grin>

Most people encountering a forum (on any subject) new to them, know enough to read and lurk a bit before jumping in.  This forum is one of the kinder ones.  Really.

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You ask:  Are we too tough on new people?

NO -  we give the advise freely.  We want them to succeed.  But we are not being paid to hand hold, carry them through each step and tell them what they want to know even if it is not how it REALLY is.   I have read here on the forum (and agree) innkeeping is not for wimps and getting in the business usually sets the tone for how much back bone you have.  (hmmm maybe that is why!!)

We are cordial, but when someone continues (as in the tread that started this discussion) to make it sound as if we are holding back the real information I can see why those spending their time to help, would be upset. 

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toddburme wrote:

I think the rose colored glasses are not the worst thing when it comes to a new venture. If you didn't have hope and enthusiasm, you would never get off the couch to get it going. Ideally we all want new people to enter the business as a rising tide lifts all boats. So maybe we should temper our advice with a bit of ... Any ideas? 

..... Encouragement??

Yes, they  need the 'truth' but we can do that with encouragement too can't we?  Yes, we want people to be successful, but we can help them get there...

Just my thoughts..

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Ahh yes! There we go. gillumhouse did a bit of that with me in the beginning. I too had tons of ideas. Mostly dumb ones but she shared some that had worked for her. She took time out of a schedule so busy that it amazes me and traded a few emails. Joey Bloggs did the same. 

I think of this forum as so helpful. I just think that new people are nervous, etc about their new idea, and we of all people should understand that. 

<==== gets down off of his soapbox. Sorry for the interruption. 

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I'm coming into this conversation a bit late, but I think you need both hard facts and rose colored glasses. The business side of this job is an extremely important aspect. You need to know what things cost, how much you can expect to earn, and what it's really like to deal with difficult guests. But if you look at just the facts you miss the emotional aspect of running a B&B. You do get to meet many wonderful, fascinating people who, for the most part, are on their best behavior. You are letting them into your home and you're giving them a glimpse into your life. In a very short period of time you can make a connection that lasts a lifetime. That is very rare today. And even if you have a guest that only stays for one night and never returns, by opening your home to them, you're allowing that person into your world. If you approach that experience with rose colored glasses and expect that the person stepping through that door is going to love everything about their stay then you're giving off a very positive vibe and I think guests can feel that. 

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I'm in the "aspiring" category of an innkeeper - I don't post here often but I do pop in regularly to read.   Eventually a very good friend of mine and I want to open an inn and restaurant....it's a few years off, but it's never too early to start on a business plan if you're serious about making a dream business a reality.

Perhaps the difference is that I've worked in the hospitality industry for many many years and I have a bachelor's in business.   Working with people in hospitality can be the absolute best job....and also the absolute worst.   While it's also a passion, it's first and foremost a business that has to follow certain rules AND ultimately make a profit I can live on.

I don't see people here as harsh....more so as fellow veterans of the hospitality industry.   People outside the industry often have NO concept of what it takes to do this day in, day out, and deal with the ALL kinds o' folks that we deal with and keep your sanity.   They also don't get that you can't just decorate a bedroom, come up with a couple of nice breakfast dishes, hang out your shingle and make a million.  

The hospitality industry is NOT for wimps.    

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toddburme wrote:
 

I know of several people on the board got a bit out of shape when joining, myself included. And most of us just went a head with it anyways...

Same here. I put about 6 regulars on "ignore this person" my first few weeks here, but my ignore list is now just 2, and neither of them post here anymore anyway.

But I'd say those who are so thin-skinned they leave after the first discouraging words are perhaps not cut out for dealing with the public anyway. I've oven been inspired by Camberley, who once described herself as having skin as thick as an elephant's.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

toddburme wrote:
 

I know of several people on the board got a bit out of shape when joining, myself included. And most of us just went a head with it anyways...

Same here. I put about 6 regulars on "ignore this person" my first few weeks here, but my ignore list is now just 2, and neither of them post here anymore anyway.

But I'd say those who are so thin-skinned they leave after the first discouraging words are perhaps not cut out for dealing with the public anyway. I've oven been inspired by Camberley, who once described herself as having skin as thick as an elephant's.

Glad you came back Arks, or wait, am I still on ignore and you aren't reading this?  broken heart

I still have a couple on ignore. Yes, really. 

We all come and go at times, we are all real people, and this is real feedback. Someone once commented how much they liked me (on the forum) but disliked "so and so" on the forum, which used to be me, btw. I still laugh at that. Perhaps my avatar makes a huge difference.

When I was a HE avatar or named JOE instead of JOEY I had a total different response from a few guys here. It was interesting. All it takes is a different avatar or name to be less liked or respected. 

We can be a rough crowd, there is no getting past that. Yes, we can be. We don't try to be. As the Paul Thorn song goes "I don't like half the folks I love!"

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I spent 2 years answering the phone at the Inland revenue (ie the IRS for you yanks) every call was - you are ruining my life, you are putting me out of business, taking food out of my children's mouths etc - and believe me it wasn't easy - however it did inform me very bluntly about the nature of people who start their own businesses

(1) people who are doing their homework and asking for advice in advance 5%

(2) people who are too dumb to work for anyone else (30%

(3) the rest who are probably 75% there but have just missed a few bits on the way

the things people said - a man in a pub told me I would get 50% off my business rates for the first year - nope

one chap didn't check what he was paying for, complained it was high - turned out he was paying for 2 of his neighbours shops as well - all there on the internet and free to view (based on square meterage so easy to work out if your shop isnt' that big)

people who didn't know what their rent was, hadnt checked their business rate tax before signing a 10 year lease, people who thought being astonishingly rude was a way to get help out of the mess they had got themselves into and so on

I think its better to pull the rose tinted glasses off now. - just met an american couple who live in france really fancy opening a BB in france, if you arn't too large regs arn't too bad - said to her you have to decide one very important thing - do you want to clean toilets a day? if not you need to be large enough to have staff - if you don't mind then you can be smaller! she said thats good advice.

 

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Well number reason for small business failure is lack of capital. Thanks to our recent crisis and some very recent changes in our banking, you can now buy B&B's at 2003 prices and with less then 4% interest rates. So the market is helping aspirings right now.

This board is amazingly helpful. I think it is the best resource I have found for B&B advice. The bad news is I think that some people see the internet as the first step in acquiring knowledge about a prospective endeavor and not the last step. We just need to be aware that sometimes people will have the horse before the cart and it doesn't make them stupid but simply excited and a bit uninformed. I suffered through this and now have a thriving/decent B&B. 

PS the top part applies to the USA. 

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not just the USA babe its the entire fricking world! - and I know plently of people are are S##tt###g themselves about paying their mortgages right now - however they don't particularly do anything about it so i am sorry but im not particularly sympathetic

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

not just the USA babe its the entire fricking world! - and I know plently of people are are S##tt###g themselves about paying their mortgages right now - however they don't particularly do anything about it so i am sorry but im not particularly sympathetic

Sorry, it's quite different around here... the prices never went down but they have made it more difficult to get a mortgage. And then we have to deal with all the illegal competition.

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

not just the USA babe its the entire fricking world! - and I know plently of people are are S##tt###g themselves about paying their mortgages right now - however they don't particularly do anything about it so i am sorry but im not particularly sympathetic

Sorry, it's quite different around here... the prices never went down but they have made it more difficult to get a mortgage. And then we have to deal with all the illegal competition.

I was thinking of Canada when I put the disclaimer in. Oh how we wish here to the South of you. Smiling

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toddburme wrote:

We just need to be aware that sometimes people will have the horse before the cart and it doesn't make them stupid but simply excited and a bit uninformed

Right.  But when people come on and ask questions, and we point them to information, and they come back with the same questions (hello, innfinancing again?) AND they gripe about how we depress them AND they call us annoying - we start to put them in another category altogether. For me - that category is IGNORE.

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No, I really don't think we're too hard on them generally. More than one of us here actually teach aspiring innkeeper courses and see first hand how just a little knowledge can make or break an innkeeping career. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people lose their retirement money or go bankrupt because they didn't have the right information or didn't do their proper research or more often than not, had those rose colored glasses on and thought it was going to be an easy ride once they got up and running or bought an existing. They had no idea how this business can take over your life. There's a reason that the average time for an innkeeper is only 7 1/2 years. One of these people I know spent 1.8 million on a place and within 6 months wanted out. By the time she was able to get out, the bank was going to take over and she lost EVERYTHING.

I've also had wonderful success stories with aspirings. 

I've also had aspiring innkeeper interns here with me. I can usually tell in the first 24 hours if innkeeping is a good match for them. For those folks, usually after doing a couple of days of hands on learning, their dream of innkeeping changes and the reality hits. More often than not, those folks tell me they would rather just keep staying at b&bs rather than own one!

What's great about the interaction here on the forum is that one of us has 'been there and done that', no matter what the aspiring person is proposing. Honest feedback is essential for their success.

If someone comes on here  'in the final planning stage' and hasn't read a book or taken a course or done anything that needs to be done to ensure their future, then heck yeah...we need to help them by telling them the honest truth...good, bad, and everything in between. Those who really have a passion for it will listen and then go ahead with the next step. THOSE are the ones that will make a great innkeeper.

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

If someone comes on here  'in the final planning stage' and hasn't read a book or taken a course or done anything that needs to be done to ensure their future, then heck yeah...we need to help them by telling them the honest truth...good, bad, and everything in between. Those who really have a passion for it will listen and then go ahead with the next step. THOSE are the ones that will make a great innkeeper.

This says it all, the difference between enthusiasm and BLIND enthusiasm. 

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I happen to think rose-colored glasses ARE the worst things for starting a new venture, and having hope and enthusiasm is entirely different from wearing rose-colored glasses.  Ignoring the cons of a business venture, whether through ignorance, naivete, or just not spending the brain power to figure it out, is the fastest way to get in over your head, run out of money, anger your neighbors and governing bodies, and/or give your guests a terrible experience which will reflect badly on the rest of us for eternity. I came into this with clear glasses, no tints - pros on one side, cons on the other.  Agree or disagree if you want - everyone's mileage will vary - but as long as the advice is truthful and honest, even if only for that person's experience, why would we not give it?

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I don't think that I discourage people, but I do note my experience, since it is different than others. Around here, the big deal is the tax. Which is where the "Air" people are going wrong... if anything, government is more interested in their taxes and it's the easiest way to go after people. So many don't even realize that they are cheating the tax man and when the tax man cometh, he comes with a vengeance.

Just get your paperwork in order, the rest can be learnt on the job. It can always be improved on. As long as you provide the service in the way you would want to be served, you have about 80% of it. Which covers Pareto's principal.

Now, once you have it running and you run into trouble, this is the place to come for an opinion. You don't have to listen to it, because the advice you get here is based on people's experience and yours might be different. But it never hurts to hear how others would do it, or what they discovered works. Like the hollow ice core jugs for juice... ask Maddie, I think she's using the same ones that I use now Smiling

Of course, I know a few of the B&Bs that we talk about around here, but not all. One of these days I'll end up staying at someone's B&B and they won't realize who I am, and I won't realize who they are and we will end up telling PITA stories about each other on here....

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Like the hollow ice core jugs for juice... ask Maddie, I think she's using the same ones that I use now Smiling

Of course, I know a few of the B&Bs that we talk about around here, but not all. One of these days I'll end up staying at someone's B&B and they won't realize who I am, and I won't realize who they are and we will end up telling PITA stories about each other on here....

Love those juice pitchers!

And, chances are, you might just stumble across us by accident. We are close to your preferred US shopping circle.

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Generic's picture
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Ah, but you are at an advantage, you know my name. I couldn't be incognito Smiling

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If people ask, we comment. And we tell the truth so they can take it or leave it. No need to sugar coat things..this is the way it is.

If someone would take an aspiring innkeeper course first, then they would know much of what we say.

We give our advice willingly but if people don't understand what we are saying...too bad.

People should do a search here first, read the threads and THEN ask away.

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Yes, those who don't do any homework, definitely.

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You're right. We should back off. There is no sense in alienating the folks who might be buying our businesses in a few years.

I, for one, will stop offering unsolicited advice to newbies.

However, I will still use this board as a place to GET info I need in order to run my business. And if that includes lifting the curtain to show how bad things can get, so be it. It has been my observation over the years that I get the tough customers that very few other innkeepers get. So, everyone should take my situations as the outliers.

Joey Camb's picture
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I wouldn't take what that chap said as common! we love you! wink

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Maddy, your insight and your experience is rare. Please continue just as you have been.

white pine's picture
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Please don't stop commenting.  I have found your advice very helpful and constructive.  This is a tough business and people need to know it.

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white pine wrote:

Please don't stop commenting.  I have found your advice very helpful and constructive.  This is a tough business and people need to know it.

Yeah, I really can't shut up, but I don't have to answer questions that weren't asked.

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The person that this particular topic was about was given reasonable answers in the beginning - truthful but not snarky. It was only after he kept asking the same questions to someone else responding and not liking that he was getting the same refrain - each area is different with different rules, and refused to take steps on his own, wanted us to spoon-feed, that I personally got totally ticked. He wanted his answers the way he wanted to hear them. Too bad.

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