If it was easy… wouldn’t everyone do it?

Written by
Nick Clover

15 May 2019

15 May 2019 • by Nick Clover

If it was easy… wouldn’t everyone do it?

I’ve been in business for over twenty years and recently I’ve gone back to ‘the start’ which has reminded me of the challenges from years ago …. Challenges that I LOVE BTW! While I have opened two businesses which could be considered to be successful, I have had one that was a disaster (no consideration there and it failed just before the bank induced recession in 20009- OUCH!!) Incidentally, all three of these businesses have been in the recruitment sector. Oh – and there was a pub thrown in (!) which did really well at the time and combined two factors that I know are incredibly important- fun and success!

Sorry to talk about me… but (everything before but is a lie?!) I have recently joined a New Venture in the job board market- this one. Exciting is an understatement and I’ve put executive search (which was going to be my next chapter) on pause for now because of it.

It’s true to say that Business is a demanding master but, for those of us who launch new companies, it provides us with excitement, drama, stress, and headaches as well as a real sense of adventure. My ongoing sector, the recruitment sector (and now the job board sector) is a tough business to be in. Did you know that, according to Recruitment Buzz, another 8,488 recruitment agencies were launched in 2018? That takes the number registered since 1990 to 39,329 – it’s an overcrowded market, for certain. Bring it on!

Running any company demands a lot of both its owner and its staff but this article is not just about recruiters – it’s also about the men and women who risk it all to launch their dream pub, restaurant, or hotel and their stories.

Risky business

Running a hospitality establishment demands more time, energy, money, creativity, and commitment than probably every other type of business. And it’s really difficult to make a comfortable living out of it for the first few years, particularly for passion-driven but inexperienced operators.

Hospitality is non-stop – you’re up early in the morning and you get to bed very late at night because there’s always something else to do. Hospitality requires its owners to have a unique ability to simultaneously juggle the cerebral (advertising, business management, recruitment, supplier sourcing, cash flow management) with the heavy lifting (changing the beds or the barrels, preparing and serving food, constantly cleaning your premises to impress customers).

I’ve learned from running businesses, particularly my pub, that it’s really really hard work and that, when you’re not established, it requires a huge amount of persistence to keep going.

You need to develop the ability to talk to yourself positively when things are tough but there are a million things that still need doing – these are the times when your head and your heart want to just stop for a while but you know you can’t stop for a while. Tenacity is key – after all, if was easy, everyone would do it!

There are, of course, the initial breaks and points of extreme happiness in the early days but the reward often seems a lot less than the effort dispensed to obtain that reward. No-one truly understands what you’re going through – your friends, your family, your spouse or civil partner, your kids – you feel truly on your own sometimes. If it was easy…

And of all the sectors, you had to go and choose hospitality which, according to the CreditSafe Insolvency Index, is the sector with the highest rate of company failures, 50% more than construction and manufacturing businesses and nearly four times more than IT or professional services businesses. If it was easy…

BUT- it is the best sector as an employee or an entrepreneur. Fact! Where else can you go from KP to Commis Chef, to CDP, to Sous Chef, up to Head chef or from Bar Tender/ waiter, to Assistant Restaurant Manager, to Deputy Restaurant Manager, to General Restaurant Manager and all the other/ similar career opportunities in Pubs, Hotels and Events.

Constantly being shaken down for cash… however…

… you still have the drive and the get-up-and-go to push your hospitality business forward in the early days even when you experience the growing revelation that the hospitality sector profit margin is often wafer thin. If it was easy…

Sometimes it feels like everyone is shaking you down constantly for cash. VAT is a perennial drag as are alcohol duties, ever-rising supplier bills, accountant bills, licencing fees, Sky TV, BT Sport, and so on.

Perhaps the three biggest bugbears however are business rates, constant above-inflation increases in the minimum wage, and the lack of stability in input costs caused by currency fluctuations.

As time goes by, you continually develop your ability to operate within tight budgets ever ready to change your plans because there might be a unexpected bill pop out of nowhere.

While this sound negative there it’s also an opportunity. Has it ever been easy? In my opinion these are just different challenges and there are, after all, ALWAYS solutions with the right mindset despite other’s negativity.

Everyone’s an expert… yeah right 😊

No-one likes a backseat driver. No-one likes an armchair director. However, with the rise of user-generated review sites like TripAdvisor and the seemingly hundreds of others, your business and its performance are under constant and daily review by people who wouldn’t know how to run a hospitality business, or any other business in fact, if their lives depended on it.

You might rack up an impressive array of 4- or 5-star reviews from happy punters day after day but, then, from seemingly nowhere a self-satisfied, know-it-all a***hole decides to pull your pad apart because things were not to their exacting specifications or because one of your staff didn’t deliver on that occasion. (Perhaps another topic to ensure this doesn’t happen!)

All of these reviews seem to find their way to the top of the Google rankings making the job of running a successful hospitality business even harder than it needs to be. You just hope that the vast majority of potential customers reading these reviews consider this a***hole’s review as an outlier. Thankfully, most seem to but these reviews are an added extra pain you don’t need…. but need to (want to) overcome with, I say again, the right mindset. Positivity is a choice?

I know how you feel…we all do here

I personally count myself extremely fortunate to have somehow found myself in a position to take risks and with every risk is either going to prove to be a failure or a success. This is the same in any job opportunity or business venture and I’m a strong believer that you get out what you put in and define your own path. While there are various uncontrollable extraneous variables I, we and you do have the ability to dig deep, play what’s in front of you and be the master of your own destiny. For those who think I, we or you will fail in a certain job or project, think again. I wish you every luck in what you’re doing and hope that you have fun in success.

#lovehospitality #lovebusiness

We’d love to be a small part in your success story by helping you find and retain the talent you need for your business. You can contact us 0844 800 6011 or at info@hospitalityjobsuk.co.uk.