How to Start a Hospitality Business

by Jan Simon; Updated September 26, 2017
Finding the right location is important in the hospitality industry.

Starting a hospitality business, whether it is a small B&B or a boutique hotel, requires extensive planning and an influx of cash. Opening a new business is always a risk. Take the time to carefully prepare for the day you will open your doors to the public. The right location, stellar customer service and the appropriate business strategy are components of a successful hospitality establishment. Marketing must be addressed--plans to attract customers should be high on the list of priorities.

Get your ideas down on paper. Define the hospitality service you want to provide, and start your research. Create a business plan that includes your target market, who your competitors are and your financial requirements.

If you do not know how to create a professional business plan, classes are offered at the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can also learn online on the SBA website. Another excellent source for complimentary coaching is SCORE, a nonprofit organization comprised of executives. These professionals volunteer their time to mentor new business owners.

Line up financing. Take your business plan to a bank or credit union, and request a loan. Plan to present your formal business strategy to the bank officer. Have a professional review your presentation first. It is important to be as prepared and polished as possible.

Check your credit score prior to making an appointment to discuss funding, and make certain it is accurate. If errors exist on your credit report, clear up any discrepancies immediately. As a new business owner, your personal credit score is a factor in a loan's approval.

Find a viable location for your new business. In the hospitality business, location is king--make sure to scope out any nearby competition. If you plan to lease space, work with a reputable Realtor who specializes in commercial properties. When buying an existing business, have an expert review the property with you on a walkthrough. Make certain that the construction is solid. Beware of repairs that could end up costing you far more than the budget allows.

Attend to the items that comply with state and federal laws. Apply for the proper business licenses. Become familiar with the employment laws. If you do not have a tax accountant, ask for referrals.

Running a successful business means finding the proper support team. Think about what characteristics you need in trusted employees, and create an employee manual so future employees understand your standards. Start the interview process, or retain an agency to screen candidates for you to meet.

Design a website, or hire a professional to handle this. Market your business to the community--get the word out prior to your official opening. Signage may be necessary, but make sure your understand the laws of the city you will do business in. Often, there are regulations on sign dimensions.

Schedule a dry run to work out any issues. Prior to opening, make sure your operation is ready to debut. Employees should be properly trained, and the premises should be clean and neat. Ask friends to pose as customers to give your employees some practice.

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About the Author

Jan Simon is a career and life coach with more than 20 years of experience in corporate human resources. She holds a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. Simon enjoys writing career articles and is a columnist for the CV Weekly. She also publishes a weekly blog called Life on the Sunny Side.

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