Our number two child is possibly an artistic prodigy … at least he draws a lot in the margins during mathematics. He can’t wait to leave school, grow a goatee and he regularly threatens me with the possibility of a tattoo. He has an over-developed sense of right and wrong; he wears his prohibited greenstone necklace under his school shirt, and told me yesterday that red meat once a week is too much.
Yesterday, while attempting to convince me of the virtues of ‘Panic at the Disco’ he also proclaimed that I had sold my soul … why, because I had gone into Business, and I quote, “Business people cannot be financially successful AND be real artists … you have sold your soul Mum, YOUR model is flawed … what will happen to your spirit?” He continued to denounce the evil of profit making models in business and their supposedly anti-humanitarian focus.
Well we can forgive him; he is only sixteen, and once I pointed out that ‘Panic at the Disco’ is in fact a successful business enterprise, as are his paints, pencils, paper, greenstone necklace, and everything else that keeps him warm and fed – including the marketing systems that are currently influencing his (seemingly counter-cultural) but 100% manipulated teen image – he quietened down and focused on sucking his ‘big business’ Coke and Magnum ice-cream.
Unfortunately many café owners appear equally dazed and confused. This week we had lunch at two brand spanking new cafés that we could immediately tell wouldn’t last 5 years, indeed will probably be gone in three. The youthful owners look fresh faced, and lovely – goatee beards neatly trimmed. The artful design and image of these new cafés were great; edgy, politically aware at a ‘design’ level so you actually felt you might be in Berlin 6-months after the wall came down – the problem is they will not make money. Which is fine if all you want is a life-style that involves working long hours for money tantamount to a wage. One hundred percent for creativity and neatly imprinting a sustainability and community based philosophy BUT a ‘Not Achieved’ for creating a clear and detailed financial plan that will work.
Someone needs to ask these lovely people … what do you want your life to be like in 5 years?
Our experience came on the back of a high-profile café/bar failure in our city (losing in excess of $700k) and Mr Hospitality having two hour long meetings in local cafés without having anything to eat and drink. Which would be fine if his work colleagues ate and drank something … but they never got round to it either. The café managers didn’t appear to even notice the well-dressed (business-like) interlopers.
We’ve realised how important it is that the idealistic youth who have bought into the Hospitality Industry understand that owning your own café is actually really hard-work and stressful; that they are in the business of maximum small unit sales that requires some really clever strategic business thinking and that is the ONLY way they are going to be able to sustain a long-term contribution to their community. Why … because it’s great business that creates wealth and supports a strong creative culture.
It’s hard not to really like bright young enthusiasts, they’re stylish and we want them to succeed. Quite apart from that, we need them to succeed. Despite what my son thinks – I’m not ready for Starbucks, Gloria Jean and Dunkin’ Donuts to McCafé the universe.
Apart from a clear financial vision, we have learnt that the next step towards a successful business is to surround your self with wise and knowledgeable people in business. John Spence in his little gem Awesomely Simple- Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action writes,
“If you surround yourself with a huge network of extremely talented people, both inside and outside your organisation, and get in the habit of asking for help, you’ll soon realise that you can gather the information, experience, ideas, and information you need to support an organisation with a strong sense of urgency and bias for action.”
So that’s our advice for free … struggling to discover and act on a clear financial plan for success? Then get some help … for as little cost as possible. Find a heap of mates who are in business and know a whole LOT more than you … match your financial business architecture with your chic interior design.
Your business model won’t work if you have too much muesli and rhubarb in your beautifully home-crafted oversized bowl … gorgeous anti-establishment and deconstructed café tables … and 7 customers at 1.30pm on a Saturday afternoon.
Hey – Mr Hospitality offers FOUR FREE coaching sessions; take it and squeeze as much as you can out of him over a month.
18/03/2016 Mrs Hospitality