Starting your own company is a pretty big challenge in itself – let alone starting it in the middle of an economic crisis. And yup – that is exactly where I am! Yet, it is the most fulfilling thing I have done in a long time.
This challenge comes with even more challenges, which I experience hands-on every day. Here are a few of the challenges you will face when starting your own company:
- Finances. If you didn’t have enough capital to begin with, you definitely won’t have enough now. Make provision for more than you think you might need – things get rough out there.
- Your biggest enemy is you. This was a very scary part to realize, but trust me – you are a bigger enemy than your competitors. You are the one who get tired and lose faith at times. You’re the one who start thinking it’s not going to work. You’re the one starting to trust that voice in your head telling you that you were stupid to think it was going to work in the first place. Don’t fall for the lies! Keep your eyes on the goal and march on.
- Making time. You tend to work harder than usual. Ten to twelve hour days, seven days a week is nothing. Therefore, there is less time to spend with your loved ones, but remember: they are your support system. They are the ones who cheer you on when you feel like you can’t go any further. Make time for quality friend and family time. You need it and they need you to still be you no matter what.
- “What if’s”. Stop right there. Don’t even go there. Thinking “what if it doesn’t work” is not going to get you anywhere. Train you brain to rather think: “Okay, what next”. Don’t stop thinking, don’t stop doing and never stop researching.
- Possible clients will always have a comeback. Oh, this happens too often. People will tell you they don’t need your service, because they’ve been in the industry for “almost 20 years” and they don’t think anyone can teach them anything. Even though I really feel sorry for them (because you learn new things everyday) I respect their response and take them of my contacting list. Don’t let this demotivate you – there are always people like that in life and you don’t want to work with people who think they know everything anyhow.
- Sacrifices. When starting your own business, you need to be willing to sacrifice certain things in order to save some money. Testing out a new coffee shop every day will need to wait a year or two. Buying the best phone will need to wait another two years. Window shopping will need to become the new way of shopping for a while and holidays will need to be put on hold. In the long run, this will pay off – trust me.
- Forgetting the important things. Don’t forget or let go of the important things like exercise and relationships. These are things that will keep you going – don’t omit it from your routine.
These are but a few of the challenges I’ve encountered in the first few months of starting my own business and I suppose there are still many to come. But these challenges teach me something new every day and I love it. Starting your own business is definitely a good way to get to know yourself (and your limits).
So, to all the entrepreneurs out there: Up top for taking on the challenge and good luck!
Any industry has its ups and downs and so the hospitality industry in South Africa also has certain challenges to face.
Travelling Mystery Guest has been observing a few challenges which need to be addressed – let us know if you agree and what your thoughts are:
- Economy: South Africa’s economy has taken a knock and local business has decreased tremendously. But, this gives us the opportunity to look at other possibilities like targeting international tourists. Have you given that any thought yet?
- Working hours: The hospitality industry has always been known as one of the industries with long and irregular working hours. Have you ever given thought as to how we can change this or work around it? I know of one restaurant that has decided to reduce is operating hours to ensure that its staff get enough personal time. This ensures that they have more energy and loyalty to the company, allowing for great customer service. Yes, it’s less time to make money, but trust me, with such loyalty from staff you can move mountains!
- Shift work: Staff working different shifts makes it difficult to arrange staff meetings, etcetera. How do you work around this?
- Transport for staff: Most staff working in South Africa’s hospitality sector use public transport. Do you as a hotel, guesthouse or restaurant provide staff with additional options like on-site accommodation, transport allowances or in-house transport options?
- In-house training: Many of the smaller hospitality establishments and even some of the larger companies neglect to pay attention to training their staff on a regular basis. Training not only forms part of basic customer service, it also provides staff with the feeling of belonging and self actualization. If you, as a manager, can’t find the time to train staff, get someone to do it for you. Travelling Mystery Guest offers customized workshops and presents the workshops at your establishment. No effort, no need to organize additional staff, no need to plan transport – we come to you.
- Bad customer service: Is this due to the lack of training or is it just attitude? Either way – something’s got to be done. If it’s a lack of training, make a plan and train your staff. Lack of attitude – if you hired them, you have the right to fire them. Make this clear and don’t just say it – act on it.
- The lack of loyalty: I’ve noticed that many people are not in the hospitality industry for the love of it, but merely because that’s the only job they could get. We need to find a way to make our staff love the industry. We will never be able to exceed customers’ expectations if our staff don’t have the right attitude. Management needs to find a way to make staff love what they do. Get to know your staff, place them in the right departments, train them on things they are interested in and build on their strengths rather than focusing on what they can’t do right.
Do you have any comments or ideas? Would you like to add other challenges to the above? Feel free to comment below.
Travelling Mystery Guest is planning a brainstorming session on the challenges in South Africa’s hospitality industry and solutions to consider for the end of May. Let us know if you would be interested in attending, and we’ll add you to our contact list for further details. Contact Renate on 082 336 1562 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the hashtag #HospitalitySolutionsSA and let’s encourage South Africa to overcome the challenges we face in the hospitality industry.