The hospitality industry is an alluring place to plant and grow your roots and follow your dream of starting your own business. Understandably, there may be times that you feel overwhelmed or even intimidated by the steps necessary to get from your business ideas to the plans to finally being open and operating. You have a great idea that you are excited to put into place, but where do you start? We have put together some tips to help you get started and flourish in the hospitality industry.

Find a Mentor
When you work for someone else, it is up to them to show you the ropes. Conversely, when you start your own business, it is up to you to know how to run that business. Again, this can be a very stressful time for an entrepreneur, and if not careful, you can reach burn out before your business takes off.

However, finding a mentor will help tremendously. Small business owners who spend three hours or more with a mentor, see higher profits and growth than going it alone, per SCORE, a nonprofit business offering mentorship services, and small business resources. Aim for a mentor in the hospitality industry with start-up experience. They can save you time and money by sharing advice and tips that have proven effective for them. The right mentor will know where to go for help, what you will need to get started and be familiar with the ins and outs of your customers

Create a Good Experience for the Customer
In the hospitality industry, the customer is your business. It’s important to provide a personalized experience for your customers to help better retain your leads. All it takes is excellent customer service from the first interaction through the very last. Address your customer by name, smile, listen, provide.

If something goes wrong, fix it. Communication is key. Be willing to work outside of the box if it is what is convenient for your customers and makes them happy. They will remember that you provided a service for their satisfaction, and they will return.

Most importantly, they will tell others. These days, customers share their negative and positive experiences immediately using social media and user rating apps such as Google Local Guides and Yelp. An excellent approach to monitor and maximize your reviews is to check the most used sites often and respond to all comments left by your verified customers, whether good or bad. Never pass up an opportunity to change an impression or show off your extensive customer service skills. Remember, you are selling an experience. Make it a great one.

Hire the Right People
Having the right support team goes right along with creating a good experience for your customers. The staff you hire is an extension of you and your services. One unpleasant interaction can ruin the entire experience.

Your team should be well-trained in customer service and understand the importance of unwavering excellence and a great personality at all times during the customer interaction. Your employees should take pride in their appearance and enjoy working in the service industry.

A great employee will have the skills to de-escalate an unhappy customer and, at the same time, create a memorable experience that turns the unhappy customer into a repeat customer.

Be Unique
Give your customers an experience that they cannot find anywhere else and do it well. Once you have their business, you will have their loyalty as long as you continue to make them happy. Think themes or particular services or first-class concierge. It’s your dream, so make it as unique as you are.

Continue Your Education
Today you can get an education with very little to no money and take only the classes you want or need. Just perform an internet search for free college classes or free business classes, and you will be amazed at what you can learn.

As a business owner, it is essential to stay up to date on small business laws and current technology. As a bonus, you will also be working on self-development, which is a must as a business owner in the hospitality field.

Build Your Network
A strong network can make a difference in your hospitality business. The more people you network with opens new possibilities. You will find mentors, business associates, word of mouth referrals, and tools to grow your business. Use your network to find helpful resources to start or grow your business and customer base and share your knowledge with them. Most cities have systems for women in business. Find one that works best for you.

Getting started in the hospitality industry can feel overwhelming or stressful in the beginning, but you will see that you can do it with the right help and determination. There are resources out there to help you along the way, including small business grants and loans for women business owners and groups that will assist you with paperwork and creating a business plan. Search for these organizations and start adding them to your network.