Category Archives: Business management

improving productivity

The power of smart systems for your business and improving productivity.

Hotel management software company, Preno, shares why the right software has the power to revolutionise the way you work.

Running a business with out-of-date tools can cost time, patience, and money. When daily tasks like stock-taking, bookings management, and reconciliation are done manually, they waste hours of valuable time every day. At Preno, we think those hours should be spent focusing on business growth and customer experiences – instead of elbows-deep in admin. 

Our hotel management software is designed to streamline and simplify the way accommodation owners run their businesses. So it’s no surprise that we believe smart software solutions can change the way you work for the better. Here are just a few core reasons why.

A smart system keeps your business hyper-connected

When you’re running your business on multiple disconnected systems – like Excel spreadsheets, Google calendar, and an accountant – crucial data and information can be easily lost. One integrated system keeps things far simpler. For example, you might use Xero’s accounting software to take care of finances, and another industry-specific software solution (like Preno) to manage point-of-sale, stock-taking, customer service, and more. Used together, the two platforms will give you one connected system for everything from sales to accounting. A seamless approach like this means fewer mistakes, less double-handling of information, and better communication across departments. 

You can learn even more about what makes your business tick

The best software solutions don’t just keep all of your information in one easy-to-access place. They also come with reporting features that let you in on valuable insights that you might otherwise have missed. Many smart systems offer daily, weekly, or monthly overviews of how things are tracking – analysing metrics like revenue, sales, and customer demographics. You can then use these handy details to make more informed business decisions. For example, you could learn which type of customer is likely to spend the most money at your business, then invest in advertising that specifically targets those high-value customers. For the hotel-owners who use Preno, these reports can reveal useful information about their guests. Their staff can then use that information to create a more tailored experience – leaving the team feeling empowered to act, and their guests feeling incredibly well looked after.

Smarter systems mean more time to grow your business
When you’re busy running a business, time really is money – and the right software will give you back plenty of it. From emails, to payments – systems let you automate just about everything. No more long nights replying to emails, or manually re-entering information across different platforms. With a smart system like Preno, the routine admin is all taken care of, so hotel-owners can focus on taking care of their guests. Automation isn’t the only way smart software saves valuable time. When there’s only one system to learn, you can drastically cut down the time it takes to train your team to master multiple tools. And all those hours you’re saving on repetitive admin, you can spend finding ways to focus on your customers and build your business for the better.

In today’s world, smart systems aren’t just the best way to run your business. They’re the only way to run your business.  

So do a little digging, and find the right software solution to help your business grow. And if you’re a hotel owner or operator looking for a cloud-based property management software you can rely on, try Preno for free. 

Related post I didn’t have time


Who will hold you accountable so you achieve your goals?

Your Best Year Ever ~ Goal Setting for 2012
Step 6 ~ KEEPING ON TRACK

 

Congratulations you have finished your best year ever process.  Just for a moment consider how much time you have just spent creating the coming year the way you absolutely want it.  My guess is about 1 -2 hours and that is probably 1 – 2 hours more than most people you know have invested in creating the coming year as they want it.

So now it is time for you to take action in the doing, the being and the having.  You want to make sure it becomes a reality.  Consider with whom you share what you have written.  For many people the best time to discover what your goals are is when they see you achieve them – you know; the cynics who will mock you, and make you doubt your ability to achieve them.  Instead, share your goals only with those who will support you, chivvy you along, encourage you, and congratulate you on your progress.

Remember there will always be uncertainty, the coming year will be as uncertain as last year and every year to come will be.  They will always be uncertainty in our lives.  The secret is to act with certainty in everything you have written down.

 

Give up the all-or-nothing, only-perfection-will-do approach.

Avoid becoming obsessed. Not many of us have a 100% hit rate so there may be times when you set a goal and you end up making a mistake or your goal doesn’t work. It’s really not the end of the world. At this point you have a choice: you can get all flustered, beat yourself up and go back to wandering about without direction – or you can learn from the experience and move on.

You can’t break a resolution by messing up just once or even several times. Whenever you notice you’ve gone a bit off-course get back on-track by shifting your actions to get you back on course.  Keep it simple: Pay attention. If things aren’t working try something different. Correct your course.

Re-visit your Rules for Success.  From this list, what single thing if you did it regularly would make the most difference in helping you achieve your goals?

What will be your milestones for keeping track of your progress?

Celebrate your Succes

 

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  • When you see yourself making progress what will you do to reward yourself?
  • What will you do to celebrate your success when you achieve your goal?
  • Assuming we all have some way of holding back or sabotaging success, what would be the way you might do this? (For example: procrastination, arrogance, believing it can’t be done, not saying ‘no’, indecisiveness, being too proud to ask for help
  • When you notice yourself doing this, what will you now do instead?
  • Goals are easier to achieve when you have a support structure in place.  Which support structure will you put in place this week to make these goals fun and easy?
    For example:..Ask colleagues and family for support, and to check on how it’s going
    ..Join up with someone else who has the same goal
    ..Join a club or network group
    ..Find a training programme to give you the skills
    ..Set up a coaching programme with a good coach
    ..Find a mentor to guide you, support you and hold you accountable

Get your business off to a flying start in 2013 with one of my complimentary business retention strategy sessions. Find out more here.

To access the whole programme online here


Achieving your Business Goals

Step 5 ~ MAKING IT HAPPEN

 

Now think about what you need to do to reach these goals?  For each goal outline resources you need, action you need to take and the support you’ll need.

Now make a list of everything you are going to have to do to achieve your goal No. 1.

  • What are the actions?
  • Who can help you?
  • What resources do you need?
  • How will you obtain these?
  • What obstacles will you need to overcome?
  • How will you resolve these?
  • What skills will you require?
  • How will you acquire these?
  • What sacrifices will you need to make?
  • What consistent behaviour will you need to adopt to achieve this goal?
  • What actions can you take in the next seven days to get you nearer your goal?
  • What action can you take in the next 24 hours to get you started?

 

Now do something every single day, however small, that gets you nearer to your goal.

Get your business off to a flying start in 2013 with one of my complimentary business retention strategy sessions. Find out more here.

See Part 6 tomorrow or access the whole programme online here


Setting Goals for your Business

Step 4 ~ WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT

 

Now the next part of the process is probably the most exciting because this is were you start building your blueprint for the next 12 months.

What do you really want in 2013? What goals really matter?

Lots of people come up with lengthy laundry lists of vague, wishy-washy resolutions with no real oomph in them. Often we don’t even really care about them at all. They’re just fashionable or what we think we “should” care about, or based on what we think other people expect of us.

What do I mean? You know, resolutions like this:

…..I’ll cut our overheads                   
…..I’ll be more focussed
…..I’ll be a better ____ (parent/boss/friend/spouse), etc.
…..I’ll clear our overdraft
…..I’ll do more to bring in new business

Unclear statements like this can NEVER engender any real enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, they’re far more likely to cause you to feel bad rather than good because they all focus on something that’s MISSING rather than on what’s truly desired.

When we focus on something, we are much more likely to get it – whether it’s a car, a financial goal or even a relationship. By sending a message of desire to our brain, we start to make pictures of that and, in turn, we do what we have to do to make it happen. Rather like a builder has an idea of what a project will look like when it’s done or like a hairdresser knows what style they want to create before they start cutting, we can all design the future we want – and then go out to get it.

Unfortunately not all of us are focused on positive outcomes. Many of us are obsessed by what we don’t want, what’s wrong with us and what’s missing from our lives. We often forget to put our attention on what’s great, what’s working and what resources we already have to create even more happiness and success. Because we tend to get what we focus on, if you focus on what’s not working or if you spend all your time wondering why bad things always seem to happen to you, then you’ll simply get more of what you don’t want. What’s the point of that?

Finally, the key thing to consider when you’re setting goals is to clarify why you want something. Chances are if you set goals about things that you need in your life or that will benefit you and others, you’ll feel happy when you achieve: for example, increasing patronage in your restaurant may help your profitability.

But if you set goals just because you think you should or to please other people, you may not feel that great – even when you’ve achieved what you set out to do. For example if increasing patronage in your restaurant just increases your workload, but does little to enhance your bottom line, it’s unlikely to motivate you! You have to ask yourself ‘What’s in it for me?’ and ‘What will happen if I don’t manage to do this?

Whatever goals you set, you have to demand more of yourself to push your performance: and you have to realise that we are all more capable then we think we are. Your ability to achieve is immeasurable – and it can be easier than you think to get what you want.

It is also too easy to set resolutions or goals in some areas which are not then compatible with other areas for life.  For example people often set very ambitious goals for their business, which then conflict with personal goals.  So when setting goals for the coming year it is a good idea to look at all areas of life. Business and career, Personal development, Family, Possessions & things that you want , Spirituality, Relationships or personal relationships, Health and fitness and Financial.  Those aren’t in any particular order of importance and ideally you’ll want to have goals in every single area of life.  Even if you are currently focusing on your business goals for the coming year, at some point you have to be honest and take stock of how well these sit with your goals in other areas.

So now what I want you to do is take some time, (this is probably the lengthiest part of this process) and literally dream; picture and list all the things that you want to achieve in all those areas over the next 12 months.  Most people find this easier to do on paper rather than on a computer; use whichever format works best for you to get the ideas flowing.

At this point don’t worry if your goals are realistic or achievable or not; just brainstorm.  Play with the idea; focus your energy and attention on it until it’s clear and sharp and big enough to be exciting to you, until you feel great just thinking about it. (It doesn’t matter at all what anyone else might think of it.) What are all the things over the next 12 months you want to be, you want to do, that you want to have in all those areas of life.  The being, the doing and having of which would make the coming year the best year ever.

From your list of goals pick your most important goal to work on for now.

The goals that you need to be setting need to be SMART.  You are probably already familiar with the idea of smart goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound.  Click here for a more detailed article on SMART goals.  But a couple of areas I would stress are:

That your goals need to be specific. Describe in specific detail exactly what it is that you want to achieve.

They also need to be expressed in the present tense as if now; as if you already had the goal

And each goal needs a precise time: day, date, month and year, and in some cases it might even be a time of day

  • Now identify your number 1 goal. What is this?
  • When do you want to achieve this by?
  • What will you see, hear or feel once you have achieved this goal?
  • Why is this goal important to you?
  • How will this goal impact others?
  • What impact will working on and achieving this goal have on other areas of life?
  • If you don’t achieve this goal what would happen?
  • Now imagine 6 months have passed, and you’ve done it.  You have achieved your number 1 goal. Write down how you would feel.
  • Now repeat this process for goals 2 and 3.
  • If you wouldn’t feel wonderful about each of these, then you might like to go and re prioritise.

 

Get your business off to a flying start in 2013 with one of my complimentary business retention strategy sessions. Find out more here.

See Part 5 tomorrow or access the whole programme online here


What Do You Need to Do Differently to Achieve Your Best Year Ever

Step 3 ~ RULES FOR SUCCESS

 

Yesterday’s exercise probably wasn’t as pleasant as the previous part of the exercise but that is OK; we can now extract learnings from what you didn’t achieve so that you can ensure you make the next 12 months different.

So we’re now going to identify your ‘Rules for Success’.  What I want you to do is go over all of the things you have achieved over the last 12 months and work out what it was that you did during those times that enabled you to succeed.

By going through the goals that you have achieved and also going through the goals that you didn’t achieve you can put together your personal rules for success, the rules that you know you have already proven that if you follow these rules you succeed.

It is a good idea to keep these rules for success somewhere handy, to keep reminding yourself of them.  Then next time when things aren’t going the way that you want you can refer to your rules of success.  I keep mine pinned above my desk as a constant reminder.

So take some time now to review the previous year and work on your own personal set of rules for success.

What are the rules that if you follow them you succeed?

Then look at the things that you didn’t achieve, what were the rules that you weren’t following that if you had followed them you would have achieved these goals?

  • What do you need to start doing?
  • What do you need to stop doing?
  • What do you need to continue doing?
  • What do you need to do more of?
  • What do you need to do less of?
  • What strengths can you draw on?
  • What are your rules for success?
  • Where will you put these to act as a constant reminder?

 

Get your business off to a flying start in 2013 with one of my complimentary business retention strategy sessions. Find out more here.

See Part 4 tomorrow or access the whole programme online here


Setting goals for your business

Step 2 ~ WHERE ARE THE GAPS

So, yes, some things fell through the cracks. Take a look at that, too, without the drama

So the next part of the process is to look at the last 12 months and this time look at what you set out to achieve but you haven’t achieved yet.  The goals that you set, but haven’t yet actualised in reality.  And again take some time to make a list of all of these things.

 

  • What are the things that you wanted to be by now but not yet achieved?
  • What are the things that you wanted to do, but haven’t done yet?
  • What are the things that you wanted to have but haven’t had yet?
  • Have you any outstanding unspoken conversations?
  • What do you regret or feel guilty about?
  • List all the other on-going things that bother you and cause you negative energy – however minor.
  • What do you need to do with them: action or let go?  Make a decision one way or the other; how important are these things to you?
  • What are the things that need to be done?
  • What things do you leave behind you and stop worrying about them?

Get your business off to a flying start in 2013 with one of my complimentary business retention strategy sessions. Find out more here.

See Part 3 tomorrow or access the whole programme online here


Your Best Year Ever ~ Setting Goals for 2012 ~ Part 1

Happy New Year!

We all know that having a sound business plan is key to success in any business, and it’s that time of year when we might be looking to update our plan and map out our strategies for the next 12 months.

However don’t underestimate the importance of goal setting as part of this process.

Goals (not just for business, but all areas of life) give us a sense of direction and shape what is to come. They also help us establish a timeline for our actions. Goals give us a target to aim for; helping us to concentrate all our efforts on achieving the outcome. Without a timeline there is no sense of urgency and a lot of time and effort can be wasted on unimportant activities.

But before we go rushing ahead and brushing last year under the carpet (and potentially beating ourselves up for things left undone), it’s good to take stock, celebrate our successes and learn from what we didn’t achieve to make the coming year different.

So before you get sidetracked on too many time-consuming unimportant activities take some time now to reflect on what you truly want to be, do and have in your business (and life) for the coming 12 months.

This process will take you around 2 hours, so a bit longer than the average throw away resolution made on New Year’s Eve.  But to me it is time well spent.

If you prefer to see things written down rather than on a computer screen then I recommend you record all this in a journal, or a hardback book, where you can revisit your notes. Or to access the online version go here. Either way write it down, as this helps reinforce your ideas.

So find yourself a quiet space and set aside a couple of hours to plan Your Best Year Ever.

 

Step 1 ~ CELEBRATE SUCCESS

 

Let’s start by reviewing the past 12 months.

Most of us have a tendency to view the taking stock process as an opportunity to beat ourselves up and find fault with everything we have NOT accomplished.

Well, enough of that.  Start from a place of power.

This year, give yourself some credit for what you have accomplished! Make a list, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking anything is too small to be significant. In one way or another, in one area or another (and likely in many), you’ve come a long, long way.

So let’s start by reviewing your successes and accomplishments

So starting from January all the way up to today make a list of all of the things that you have achieved, all the goals that you achieved, any new skills learnt, and burdens you have dealt with.  It doesn’t matter how big the goal was or what area of life it was in write down every single thing you have achieved no matter how small no matter how big.  Month by month list and categorize every single thing you have achieved in the last 12 months.

Now let’s take a look at what you have written. I bet you have achieved more over the last 12 months than you thought you did. So notice how good it makes you feel when you look at what you have gone out and done.

  • What have you achieved?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What have you learnt that you didn’t know 12 months ago?
  • What new skills have you acquired that you didn’t have this time last year?
  • What challenges have you overcome?
  • What setbacks have you overcome?
  • What setbacks have you overcome?
  • What situations will you look back on with a smile, even if at the time it was uncomfortable?
  • What have you learnt from these experiences?
  • How does it feel to be reminded of all your achievements?

Get your hotel business off to a flying start in 2012 with one of my 12 complimentary hotel business focus sessions. Find out more here.

See Part 2 tomorrow or access the whole programme online here


What’s so different about your hotel, then?

Unless you have a USP or some point of differentiation, what will make your hotel or restaurant stand out above all the rest in your area, or competing for the same market?

Some can rely on their location, or the building, or history. But what if your hotel or restauarnt has none of that?

One way of capturing the interests of your guest or prospects is to imagine your perfect guest sharing some of the same passions, values or interests as you. It’s a lot easier to sell something you have an interest in, you are passionate about or that’s important to you.  If you don’t love what you do, or feel it’s important, it will show. It will be very hard for you to deliver a good service if you are dealing with people with whom you share no values, interests or enthusiasm.

Anyone who knows me will know that I love my garden, and love visiting other gardens. So if it was my hotel an obvious target market would be other garden lovers. This would not only allow me to attract guests who share my interest and passions, it provides a theme, which can be built on. Such as – sharing knowledge of local historical or famous gardens, forming joint ventures with a local plant nursery, garden designer, gardening author, manufacturer of garden products, or market gardener (or all of these); designing menus planned around locally grown produce.

I could tie in with any specific gardening events happening locally, such as RHS flower shows, Gardeners’ Question Time, etc. Or host my own Gardeners’ Question Time calling upon local gardening celebrities. I might include talks from experts, transport and free entry to a number of local gardens of interest (maybe as exclusive guests of the owner). You get the idea……

 

To take another example, Hotel TerraVina in the New Forest, where Nina and Gérard Bassett used Gérard’s knowledge and passion for wine – Gérard is the only person in the world to hold the combined titles of Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, Wine MBA and, as of April 2010, World’s Best Sommelier. (And I was pleased to have the opportunity to interview Nina and Gérard as part of my interview series  – How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge.) As a result Hotel TerraVina attracts both hotel guests and restaurant diners who have an interest in wine, and Gérard is happy as he has an opportunity to cater for people who are interested in what he’s offering. By employing others who share this interest and knowledge Nina and Gérard are able to be consistent. And all this provides them with great PR opportunities.

But what if your theme is not so obvious?

Start by listing what you enjoy, what you are passionate about, and what’s important to you. Can these be incorporated into your business? Then consider your interests. What are the hobbies or pastimes you enjoy (or used to before you ran a hotel and had more free time!) What particular knowledge or expertise do you have? This could be nothing to do with the hotel industry, it might just be an interest or from a former career.

  • So it could be something you love: be that golf, shopping, dogs, cars, cooking – you’ll then know the types of things others enjoy who share  your love, so cater for these interest.
  • Something you value: such as supporting your local community, being in the countryside, or energy conservation, so give examples of the steps you’ve taken to contribute to these.
  •  Or it might be a particular hobby or expertise you can share with your guests: your knowledge of Italian cuisine and offering cookery lessons, your interest in classic cars, and attracting like minded enthusiasts and promoting classic car events in the area, or you might have a specific skill or talent to pass on to others.

Very few of us could honestly say there is nothing we can get excited or enthusiastic about, but I’d certainly recommend checking there is enough of a market there of others who share our passion before modelling our whole business around it!  Then we’ll want aim to recruit people who at least have a remote interest.

And once you have identified what it is that you have that others don’t, make sure you share this at every opportunity.

If your business reflects your interests, value or expertise the likelihood is you’ll attract other people who share them. Having a specific interest or expertise also makes it easier for you to find a forum or networking group where you can get your name known, as well as finding potential opportunities and prospective joint ventures.

Then tell and show your guests how you incorporate these into your business. Show your guests in as much detail as possible what you do that is different, so they can see all this before they choose you. It could be why they choose you.

It’s very easy to be enthusiastic and passionate about something that interests you, and this enthusiasm will translate into bookings if managed smartly. It means you are more likely to attract the type of guests with whom you can build up a good rapport and a better prospect of repeat business.

If your passion appeals to your perfect guests, it will make your job of marketing your hotel and making it unique so much easier.

Nina and Gérard Bassett were just two of my 10 guests on the interview series How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge.


Who will hold you accountable so you achieve your goals?

Your Best Year Ever ~ Goal Setting for 2012
Step 6 ~ KEEPING ON TRACK

 

Congratulations you have finished your best year ever process.  Just for a moment consider how much time you have just spent creating the coming year the way you absolutely want it.  My guess is about 1 -2 hours and that is probably 1 – 2 hours more than most people you know have invested in creating the coming year as they want it.

So now it is time for you to take action in the doing, the being and the having.  You want to make sure it becomes a reality.  Consider with whom you share what you have written.  For many people the best time to discover what your goals are is when they see you achieve them – you know; the cynics who will mock you, and make you doubt your ability to achieve them.  Instead, share your goals only with those who will support you, chivvy you along, encourage you, and congratulate you on your progress.

Remember there will always be uncertainty, the coming year will be as uncertain as last year and every year to come will be.  They will always be uncertainty in our lives.  The secret is to act with certainty in everything you have written down.

 

Give up the all-or-nothing, only-perfection-will-do approach.

Avoid becoming obsessed. Not many of us have a 100% hit rate so there may be times when you set a goal and you end up making a mistake or your goal doesn’t work. It’s really not the end of the world. At this point you have a choice: you can get all flustered, beat yourself up and go back to wandering about without direction – or you can learn from the experience and move on.

You can’t break a resolution by messing up just once or even several times. Whenever you notice you’ve gone a bit off-course get back on-track by shifting your actions to get you back on course.  Keep it simple: Pay attention. If things aren’t working try something different. Correct your course.

Re-visit your Rules for Success.  From this list, what single thing if you did it regularly would make the most difference in helping you achieve your goals?

What will be your milestones for keeping track of your progress?

Celebrate your Succes

 

1

2

3

 

  • When you see yourself making progress what will you do to reward yourself?
  • What will you do to celebrate your success when you achieve your goal?
  • Assuming we all have some way of holding back or sabotaging success, what would be the way you might do this? (For example: procrastination, arrogance, believing it can’t be done, not saying ‘no’, indecisiveness, being too proud to ask for help
  • When you notice yourself doing this, what will you now do instead?
  • Goals are easier to achieve when you have a support structure in place.  Which support structure will you put in place this week to make these goals fun and easy?
    For example:..Ask colleagues and family for support, and to check on how it’s going
    ..Join up with someone else who has the same goal
    ..Join a club or network group
    ..Find a training programme to give you the skills
    ..Set up a coaching programme with a good coach
    ..Find a mentor to guide you, support you and hold you accountable

Get your hotel business off to a flying start in 2012 with one of my 12 complimentary hotel business focus sessions. Find out more here.