You started a short term rental business because you wanted to help people. You want to provide short term housing to members of the military, families, traveling nurses, business travelers, first responders...whoever your audience happens to be.
But one of the big mistakes that so many new STR operators make is taking on too much in their business. The result? Stress, frustration and, often, unhappy guests. (Is this you, too?)
The reason guests aren’t happy has nothing to do with the location or the amenities. It’s that the experience of staying in your unit wasn’t quite what they expected.
Why? Well, when you try to do everything in your business, acting as the chief everything officer, you’re overworked and stressed. You’re trying to do everything and the reality is that you only get a fraction of your to-do items done. So maybe the unit isn’t as clean as you intended it to be. Or maybe a few of the lightbulbs are burned out because you forgot to check them. Or possibly, the coffee isn’t restocked. Yikes!
As a business owner, you need to aspire to be the chief executive officer, not chief everything officer. Outsourcing tasks can help you to become more productive, happier, and you guessed it, more profitable.
How is that possible? Because when you hire people to take on tasks that aren’t in your zone of excellence, you can spend more time on being the visionary of your business--finding new ways you can serve the people you went into business to serve.
And the result is financial and time freedom, which is a really great end result of being a business owner.
So what’s the trick to moving away from the everything and into a place of being the executive? It’s not complicated; it just takes a little bit of self-awareness and action.
Know Your Zone
Where do you do your best work as the business owner? We go into business because we have a passion for helping people, often a certain demographic. And we have something we’re really good at that we can share.
I love to help traveling business people, offering like-home accommodations when they’re far from home. When I think about building my short term rental business, that’s who I’m thinking about. I don’t think much about the aesthetics of the unit or how I’ll maintain it or even how I’ll ensure it gets cleaned after check-out. Because I’ve outsourced so much of my business, I only have to think about what type of unit my potential guests need--and where it should be located.
I’m also incredibly successful at negotiating contracts with investors and landlords. So much so that I started this business, where I teach other STR operators and aspiring entrepreneurs how to start their own businesses.
The details are not my area of expertise. Designing a beautiful and functional unit is not something I love doing. Repairing the little things that break (and they do break) is not fun for me. So I have people to help with that. And I couldn’t do business without them.
Know what you love to do and focus on that. Find designers and administrative support and maintenance help to focus on what they love to do in your business.
Hire the Right Team
Knowing you should hire is one thing; hiring the right people onto your team is something else entirely. While it might be tempting to hire a family member or a friend, they may not have the skills or passion that you want them to have. So do yourself a favor and get professional help so you can find a good fit.
I’ve worked with a human resources consultant who walks me through the skills I’m looking for as well as what traits the person should have. We determine what core competencies are necessary in the role and develop a job description around that.
Sure, you can rely on referrals from friends and family, but every potential candidate should go through the same application and interview process to ensure you’re comparing apples to apples.
Of course, once you’ve hired someone, onboarding them correctly is essential. This sets them up for success so they know what the expectations are--and how to meet them. Remember that new employees don’t know the systems inside your business; you have to teach them if you want them to be successful.
Let Go of Control
The reason you hired help in your business so they can do just that--help. You’re wasting your time and your money if you don’t let go of control and let your employees or contractors do what you hired them to do.
For so many business owners, the business is their baby. They want to nurture it and hold its hand throughout its lifetime. I’m a parent too...I get that. But think about all the hands that go into raising a responsible adult. You can’t possibly do it all yourself. You rely on other family members, babysitters, church leaders, teachers, coaches, and so many other people.
As a parent, you have to let go of control of your child so they can grow and develop and learn from others. The same goes for your business. You have to let go of some of the tasks you’re doing in order for your business to grow.
If I was going to each unit to clean and restock it every time someone checked out, there’s no way I would have been able to grow to where it is today--with some 25 units. I’d be stuck trying to manage two or three units. But because I was able to let go of control, I have a team of people helping me to manage calendars, market the units, keep them stocked, clean them, and so much more.
When you hire someone to be the expert in a specific area of your business, let them do the work. Your success depends on it.
You’re not in business to do it all; you’re in business to do what you’re passionate about. That’s likely not all the minute details of business ownership. Stay in your zone of excellence, your zone of expertise, and stop being the chief of everything in your business!