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Hoopenburg Guesthouse

I started my Guesthouse in 2007. Initially it was very exciting with all the planning and furnishing but soon it became another job. Often I took “time out” to do an accounting contract (which was my background) just to realise that one cannot do 2 jobs at once. One job is always suffering and in my case it was the guesthouse. The guesthouse was never my passion. I love staying on the farm and I think this made me hang in and not close the guesthouse in the first few years.

I battled for 6 years. Had major ups and downs and always ran into a cash flow problem. Somehow the guesthouse could not get off its feet! I wanted to close it every second month but then realising that meant moving to Suburbia …a price I was not prepared to pay.

Last year Feb (2013) my path crossed with Naomi Basson. A mutual friend introduced her as he believed that what she had to offer will have a positive impact on my life and business. She explained the Dynamics of Personal Goal Setting program to me, next workshop (that started in 2 weeks) and the financial cost. I liked the concept but the cost was far beyond what I could afford. At that stage I just managed to pay everything,(excluding me) and had no money in the bank.

I wrote her an email that evening whereby I explained all this and thanked her for her time and wishing her good luck with the course. Well the return email was….Charlene I believe you need to be on this course, come and pay me off. Great gesture but where will I get extra money to pay her off?? At this point I though…what the hell…lets do it. If all fails I am sure my partner or dad would help me pay it.

Week later I got introduced to the other 9 participants, Carl and the co- facilitator Lana. The material impressed me as it was professional and in a nice package, although I still was not convinced it was for me. I left the class a bit lost…thinking I do not really fit in with the crowd. I am an observer and withdraw in a group and I was wondering how I was going to survive the complete course. Driving away I thought of not returning.

But Naomi do not let one just walk away….I soon realised. She would phone or text how I was doing…how the lesson is going and that she will see me at the next session. I picked up the file and start doing the lesson as I did not want to lie and said I did it if that was not the case. 1st lesson was very interesting and made me realise that I have a business without a plan. I was like the ship in the ocean with no compass. On my way to nowhere….no budget no cash flow, no action plan, not even knowing my occupancy rate. I was an ostrich. I knew something major was wrong in my business but I hoped that it would go away by itself. I also have a lot of faith and I expected God to just make it happen for me.

At one of my sessions with Carl he actually pointed out to me that I was so involved in my business that I was not able to be on top of it. I tried to cut cost and save on expenses that I landed up doing most things myself. I employed 1 staff member and I expected her never to be sick or take time off and believed the 2 of us could manage it all. Big mistake…the structure was to lean and important things just never got done. By appointing a receptionist it gave me more free time to work on budgets, cash flow and do some market research!

Listening to the other 9 every week, made me realise that although our personalities were so different we had a lot in common. We all wanted tools to better ourselves in our businesses.

Listening to the CD’s and completing the weekly task sheet was an eye opener. I realised that if I should apply these guidelines in my business things might change. This is then also what I did and slowly but surely everything was falling in place. I had the best season in 6 years and my occupancy was 85%. My attitude also changed toward my work. I controlled my cash flow and for the 1st time I managed to save a bit of money.

I also could pay myself a decent salary. May this year (2014) I took my eye of the ball and fell back into old habits. The result…poor cash flow no budget no target no guests, and May I made a loss!! I woke up with a shock the first week of June and decided back to the drawing board. Today my Cd’s will come out again…a budget for the winter will be done by Wednesday and I will focus again. May reconfirmed the lessons we were taught in the course, is the only way one can be successful! I am glad I did the course as it gave me great guidelines for the business. I also met great people on the course. Thank you Naomi for the opportunity ,and Carl and Lana for your input.

Have a great Winter