Often in the hospitality industry we are in the thick of fighting fires; well not fires literally, but what I mean is we spend a lot more time working in our business, then what we spend working on our business. Its actually somewhat counterintuitive because when we don't take the time to be more strategic, we end up spending a lot of time fighting the fires such as issues with staffing, management, or lack of customers coming through the doors which might not have eventuated had we spent more time focusing on strategy in the first place. If the strategy is clear and well thought out, we will often be able to extinguish these fires at the first sign of embers, or not have them at all.
We are all busy in the throes of managing staff day to day, managing events, wages, bills, and customer expectation, not to mention marketing and promoting our venues, which gives us minimal time to step outside of the day to day.
Who really has the time, right? After a 10, 12, 15-hour day dealing with customers and staff it’s hard to have the time, or the brain space and energy to think more strategically about what you want your business to look like, how you want to lead your staff, and how you are going to grow your business. Often the only time we start looking at strategy is when business is slow, we are not making money, and potentially at the point where we can’t afford to pay our bills. In essence, being reactive rather than proactive.
But here is why strategy and strategic planning is so important and needs to be a regular component of how you manage. When we open the doors to a venue, we have an idea of the direction we want to take, who our ideal clientelle is, and how we want to manage staff. Over time, those visons can become blurry. We look at what others do and think maybe I will try that, we change tact (sometimes in the right direction and sometimes in the wrong direction) and we lose sight of the vision and goals of what we are trying to achieve. We might have hoped to be a more approachable and inspirational manager, but somehow in the busy day to day we lost sight of that.
Taking time to step out of the day to day and giving yourself a ‘helicopter view’ (holistic view) of your business instead of on the floor working is so imperative to your ongoing business success. When we look to spend 80% of our time in our business and 20% working on our business, we give ourselves space to be more innovative in how we grow our business, and have time to work on new ways to motivate employees, better ways to manage, and better ways to do business in general.
Sometimes we are just too close to our business to see a way forward outside of today’s service, tomorrow, or the weekend. When we don’t have time to forward plan, getting external help can be very useful to set you back on track.
Investing in the time to look at your venue how a customer would, or think about how you would like it to look in 5 year’s time for your staff, for your customer, from a marketing perspective, or from a personal perspective can help you stay on track with your day to day.
Taking a helicopter view will provide the clarity you need to stay true to your vision, and in turn provide a great consistent product, consistent management style, and hopefully a steady growth in profits.
Love to hear your thoughts.
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: