smallbusiness.co.uk: Helping your business think big

Both my wife and I would like to go into business running a small guest house. Could you please point us in the right direction?

This sort of business is a huge commitment. Usually the guesthouse is not just your place of work, it also becomes your home. While it is always really important to research your business idea carefully to avoid failure and improve your chances of success, it is crucial with a guest house because you don’t want to end up losing your business and your home.

The British Hospitality Association, the national trade association for the hotel and catering industry, publishes a free guide on ‘Starting a small hotel, restaurant or catering business’. You can access a copy by emailing Bob Bacon at bob.bacon@bha.org.uk. You can find out more about the BHA from the website, www.bha-online.org.uk or you can call on 020-7404 7744.

It’s also worth contacting your nearest Business Link for advice on your target market, availability of finance, drawing up a business plan plus any other cruicial aspects of your idea. Call 0845 600 9006, or log onto www.businessling.org. Don’t forget, too, that an increasing number of tourists and holidaymakers make their bookings through the internet. Have a look to see if any guest houses already have a web site or a place on someone else’s and consider putting up your own.

See also: Get your business up and running

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