Every Business Plan is Wrong
As the year comes to a close, one evening this week I decided to sit down with yet another mince pie and look at the business plan Josh and I created in 2014 to see if we had managed to stay with the original premise.
Our original mission statement was to provide “quality accommodation for friends and families in the most wonderful setting from which to enjoy Snowdonia and the surrounding area” .
This statement has not changed, the bones of our business plan has remained the same. Phew.
However the problem with most plans in life including business plans is that no one can predict the future and the more of the business plan I read the more that had changed.
Our business plan originally predicted a higher level of occupancy in the peak season during mid weeks (this planning was our best guess or what we hoped would happen!) The trend of occupancy in reality is that we have a higher level of occupancy across weekends throughout the year which came as a surprise.
We didn’t budget in our cash flow plan for maintenance for our beloved Landrover Discovery. For 4 years we have used our Discovery for absolutely everything not just the Lodge. From being a recovery truck pulling tourists caravans out of ditches in our local area, winching fallen rocks from roads, from being a true 4 X 4 performing off road to doing motorway driving this vehicle has pretty much done everything. So it needed a bit of a pampering along the way which adds up. Going forward we will put more money aside for her upkeep.
Business Plans tend to be very specific in nature and to a certain extent they need to be. They plot a direction of travel, just as a captain of a ship uses the stars to reach a destination. A specific goal, with specific points to hit along the way.
However reaching a destination will take time. In that time, we learn new things, our circumstances, and our priorities are likely to change. As we draw closer to a goal, reality unfolds and the original goal almost never actually aligns with our expectations.
I do believe in setting specific goals, goals that are not set in stone. We are dealing in ideas, concepts, not black and white, analog ideals. We should be able to shift and change direction without going off course and realise that we may not ever reach the exact destination we set out for. But that’s OK. And actually what if the destination is better than what we had hoped?
As I write, Josh has just informed me that the met office has warned of another Beast from the East 2. In our original business plan we had never pre-planned for cost of bad weather.. Last year we had three huge storms, cancelled guests and reduced income.
If the Beast from the East 2 does arrive we are prepared.
The Lodge is now practically storm proof.
This goal wasn’t included in the original business plan.