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Seven Ways To Spring Clean Your Hospitality Business, Step #1

Posted on Apr 8, 2016 in Innventive
Seven Ways To Spring Clean Your Hospitality Business, Step #1

#1 – Understand that 80% of people in this business sector are completely wrong

You may have heard these statistics before. If you’re in any business, the chances are that your business sector is split as follows:

• 1% are fantastically successful and famous
• 4% are doing very well, wealthy and could retire
• 15% are getting there, increasingly profitable and on the right track
• 60% are merely getting by, most bills can be paid on time
• 20% are seriously struggling and are going bust

Think about it. Isn’t this the same for sector?

Having worked closely with independent hospitality businesses (restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels and cafes) since 1993, I can tell you that these statistics are definitely real. Ever since the early days of helping independents with their financial advice and operations, I’ve worked with business owners in every one of these 1%, 4%, 15%, 60% and 20% segments. You know yourself that it means that 80% of the people in this sector are doing the WRONG THINGS; busy fools heading in the wrong direction.

Did anyone start out in business, dreaming of being in the 80% who are just getting by or struggling? Of course not – the chances are that the 80% have been listening to either the wrong people or no one at all. This means that they are all clinging on to old ways of marketing and operating and slipping back further, becoming low paid or, worse still, unpaid and exhausted managers of their own businesses.

Well, GOOD NEWS! This spring you can make a choice between getting into the top 20% who embrace change and achieve goals, or fall back into the 80% who get stuck in the old ways, those which feel most comfortable.

Sobering, I know, but the 80% are SO wrong, that they just copy each other, can’t keep up with the chains and will always struggle and fall behind. In such a fast changing industry like hospitality, that’s fatal. The market changes every month. It used to be every year. Fact. It’s not just government legislation, red tape and the economy that changes, the needs of your customers do also. Stand still and you fall backwards.

So, what do the 20% do so differently?

What do the 20% do that is so different from everyone else in the sector? What do they do that sets them apart? Can someone in the 60%, or even 20%, climb back up and make a success of their business after all? Of course they can, but it needs a fresh, clean, open mind and the ability to step back from one’s business. Difficult, but entirely possible.

The good news is that it doesn’t need tons of cash or hundreds of people. It doesn’t need lots of time each week, either. The fact is that the 20% have always thought differently and, most important of all, acted differently. They’ve mastered a set of skills more important than mastering just cooking, serving, decorating, marketing, number crunching, recruiting, training or any one of the dozens of operational skills. They’ve mastered what we call entrepreneur skills.

Entrepreneur skills (ES) are founded on the premise that everything is changing and change needs to be embraced. The top 20% are indeed entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurs that we have in hospitality are people who the whole of our industry should be incredibly proud of. They’ve had to embrace the changes of one of the most demanding sectors the business world has ever known.
So, perhaps Step 1 in your business spring cleaning should be not just understanding that 80% of people in your business sector are wrong, but making a decision to get close to and study the successful 20% instead?

The 20% take advantage of every opportunity. They control their business, while all those around them are ending up being controlled by their own businesses and influenced by others in the 80%. Again, a sobering thought.

Here’s a taste, a quick ‘Top 10’ if you like, of what the super-successful top 20% in your industry are doing RIGHT NOW, as you read this:

1. Learning how to be a great entrepreneur or leader, from those who have succeeded in other walks of life, getting inspiration and avoiding the so-called ‘wisdom’ of the 80%.
2. Inspiring those that work with them, for them and buy from them.
3. Hiring wisely, bringing on board experts, building highly effective teams and surrounding themselves with people who are better than them at specific, operational, tasks.
4. Loving what they’re doing, as they know they are creating something that’s great and worthwhile.
5. Failing far more times than the 80% are ever prepared to, as they know that that failure is an essential part of success.
6. Focussing on the important things, the tasks that need attention and the projects that need completing above all else.
7. Watching what’s going on in their industry and other industries, instead of television or funny videos on YouTube and Facebook.
8. Listening to staff, customers, suppliers and their trusted advisers.
9. Thinking about what they’ll be doing tomorrow, before today’s finished and writing down a ‘To Do’ list that has got to be the focus of tomorrow’s activities.
10. Saying ‘No’ to all the things that the 80% say ‘Yes’ to, like temptations, distractions, unimportant and non-urgent activities.

What else do you think the most successful 20% do on a day to day basis that you don’t? Isn’t it time to get close to them, study them, may be even copy them, instead of everyone else in the 80%?

Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at the things which the 20% do. That’s our job at How do we know? We’ve interviewed them, worked with them and hung out with them. We’ll look at some of their strategies, identify ways of using new tools to help with your marketing and operations and show you how to use old tools better. Are you prepared to take time out to look at these strategies and tools? Well, if you want to be in the top 20%, you’re going to have to!

Unfortunately, many hospitality business owners aren’t doing what it takes, or just don’t know what they need to do or, worse still, they don’t even know that they should be doing something differently in the first place!!! Instead, they’re willing to make excuses for why their activities and their businesses won’t work. They’ll never do a serious spring clean of their strategies and activities and before too long, they’ll not get the results they used to get and they’ll be forced to do something else.

If there’s one thing that will hopefully come from reading this article, it’s a willingness to get out of the dreaded 80%. Look out for Step Number 2!

By Peter Austen, Business Planning and Operational Coach ( and Founder of Hospitality Entrepreneur (

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