Where To Find A Great Business Plan and Timeline?

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09/24/2015

Hi - I would like to put together a Business Plan that I can use as my roadmap for a new B&B we are building.  Does anyone have one that has worked well for them?  One of the things I struggle with is the timeline of getting things done and which action items should take priority because they may take longer to accomplish.  For instance, if I am building a new website, do I do that 3 months prior?  6 months prior?  How about putting in a reservation system? phone system? buying furniture? supplies?  Of course, I have a million of those details!  It seems like I need a checklist that helps me prioritize the setup & operations.  Hate to re-create the wheel if someone has done this before.  Any help or advice is appreciated.  Thanks!

ChrisandShelley's picture
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04/13/2014

When we wrote our business plan, I used this as a template. I didn't get as in-depth on some of the stuff, but our banker helped us out a lot. If you would like, I don't mind sharing it, send me an email address.

Even though we were buying a B&B with an already established website, I went ahead and started building our own. When we took over, we wanted it to look newer and different. The old website was severely outdated, so I read some Wordpress books and watched Youtube videos and hired several Wordpress freelancers and it turned out pretty well. I liked that we had one ready to go when we flipped the switch. As far as a timeline, it took me three months to learn and build, but I had a lot of time on my hands. I learned that people who charge a lot of money to build a website earn it.

We looked at a few reservation systems at the PAII conference and decided on Rezstream. Still like it a lot. Like Muirford said, get to a conference, talk to people and vendors, see what's out there. It was an eye opener for us as we were aspiring then. (We closed on our B&B in June). 

Like several others have said, it is best to buy one already going as a new innkeeper. It's hard to know what to do until you decide on which one you will look at purchasing. You will have to do your due diligence in reviewing their financials. We hired a consultant from the B&B Team to do an appraisal. That helped as well. 

Good luck!

C

 

 

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Christopher and Shelley Smith, Innkeepers
The Wildflower Bed & Breakfast, Mountain View, AR

 

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09/24/2015

Thank you Chris!  Good advice, and I saw that Magnolia Biz Plan online as well.

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09/24/2015

Thanks everyone!  I bought the book "Running a Bed & Breakfast for Dummies", and it is an excellent resource.  I also see there is an Innspire Conference & Trade Show in January that has a workshop for Aspiring Innkeepers and opportunity to connect with Vendors.

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09/24/2015

All great advice from experienced Innkeepers, and I appreciate it.  Thought I should share a little more about where we are with this project.  B&B funding is secured.  We have received all County approvals and will have Use Permit next week (BTW - that was quite the process!  Whew!).  We break ground in October.  Anticipate 1.5 - 2 years to build the B&B which will be a luxury 6-bedroom Tuscan style wine country destination.  We have reserved the domain name but have not started on a website.  Difficult to get a jump on some of these action items too early because I do not have a B&B yet to store them in.  I feel pretty comfortable with the Sales & Marketing end of the biz since that is my background.  It is the setup where I am a true beginner.  I have no concept of how long it takes to stock the B&B.  For instance, if I order beds, do they take 8 months to deliver?  If I order a reservation system, does it take 6 months to set up?  Etc., etc.  Has anyone opened a brand new B&B that can share what worked well and lessons learned?  Thank you for your input!

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Follow muirford's advice and get thee to a class!

In the meantime - no, it doesn't take 8 months to get beds delivered unless you are buying custom made beds. The reservation system, with no database to move with years of guest info, will take about an hour to set up, possibly two.

But, if you go to an innkeeping convention, you can see everything at the vendor mall and get a feel for what you like. Sign up as a member of any local hospitality groups or the state one to get insider deals in your state.

You want to touch the linens, lie on the beds, use the soaps, etc to get exactly what suits your style - especially as your market is a luxury one. Everything needs to be the best you can buy to keep that luxury traveler coming back. Every company has tiered products based on what you want your guest to experience.

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Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

Also depends a lot  on your area ie in a large city you could probably buy a bed same say - very much out in the country you get it when they deliver there.

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muirford's picture
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05/22/2008

Get thee to an aspiring innkeepers workshop, preferably one attached to a conference.  

You will meet vendors, see and touch product, attend workshops from experienced innkeepers and industry professionals who cater to B&Bs, and take away some handy operations information.  

There is a lot you can glean from the forum but don't expect anyone to gift you an operations manual. Buy the B&B for Dummies book by Mary White. It will be as close as you can get.

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Jeanne

There are no rules, just follow your heart. ~ Robin Williams

 

JimBoone's picture
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12/18/2014

If building is still a dream for the future I'd second the ideas suggested by Duff2014 as it is often more practical to add your ideas and improve on something that is already in operations than to start from scratch.  If financing and government approvals are in place and construction is under way then I see several roads to travel.

Web:

Have you registered a domain name for your future website that works for the B&B that you are building, seems to me that's step one. Choose a hosting company for the site and a program to build your website or a company to do that for you.  I'd probably go ahead and join the chamber(s) and tourism organization in your area/state and get a website on line as it seems to take a while to get discovered.

Supplies/Furniture:

What is your theme, are you planning on ordering motel furniture, shopping high end furniture stores, shopping antique shops for pieces that speak to you or recreating flea market finds, so much depends on the style or theme you have in mind.  Will you order linen and towels from a supply house or choose from a classy store.  We order some things from a supply house and pick up other things locally.  Limited storage space so cleaning type supplies get picked up locally when we do our personal shopping.

Phone and Reservation System:

We're a mom and pop operation, phone system is just a single business line with a cordless phone that when needed transfers to our cell phone. We don't book "online" so our reservation system is a printed book on a marble top dresser from grandma's attic.  Again, so much depends on your dream and vision for the place that suits you. 

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Jim & Maxine

 

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Didn't you have to have this in place before you got a loan or started construction?

If you have already started and have a target date to open you should definitely get your website up and running 6 months prior to what you plan for your opening date. The website takes awhile to be found. You can post your day to day construction to pique interest.

Add a rez system as soon as you're sure you're going to make your target opening date. Maybe offer a discount 'shakedown cruise' deal for guests to test your systems.

Lee2014's picture
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12/11/2014

https://www.facebook.com/winClaiborneHouse?fref=ts

   This will be your fastest and easiest way to getting a B & B.

   First thing first is coding with the city, state, etc. because you don't want to do everything wrong and having a wonderful place full of stuff but can't use it as a b&b.  For a beginner I would start with a place that is already a b&b and learn the ropes and see if you like it.  There is plenty of time to build your dream b&b later on.  There's a million and one things you can do wrong....learn from those that have been in the field for years.  Most b&b that are for sale comes with the sellers helping you out the first couple months, showing you the dos and don'ts.

  Who says you can't have two if you got help?!?

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Have a great day!

 

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