Planning to run a business?
Apparently a business plan consists of more than forecast figures we’ve plucked out our bottoms, and some high level grand ideas about organising guided walks and afternoon teas. Unsurprising really, and more than naive of us to assume that was all commercial lenders would need. We’ve been wittering on about our enthusiasm, passion and general bonhomie but you might question (and someone has) if that alone is going to deliver a return on investment.
Now this isn’t high finance, it’s not even a small start-up, however it IS a business, and we cannot defend our position when friends accuse us of retiring if we are approaching this the same way a retired couple might. Nor can we moan about lenders not funding us based on our overall determination and passion, when we have provided them with little evidence (bar figures that we’ve found in aforementioned parts of our anatomy) that we can pay them back the money we are asking to borrow.
We can, by the way, I’m sure of it…. but I’m beginning to understand how it might look otherwise. Now we know that Porthminster View is in an enviable location, with phenomenal views, and lots of potential, we just need to show the lenders that.
This weekend Danny is off to the Big Chill festival… and while he is dancing in a field I will be ordering take away and getting down and dirty with the SWOT analysis and cash flow forecasts. Am I secretly looking forward to it? Yes, I think I am, for a couple of reasons (1) this is something I really really want, and if that means spending a weekend writing a business plan so be it (2) we need to know if we can pull this thing off. Maybe, just maybe, this is why guesthouses are being repossessed up and down the country? Not because the industry is bottoming out (soaring UK tourism statistics would suggest otherwise), but because people forget that this really is a business, as nice as it is it’s still real money, and real banks, with real consequences.
It’s surprisingly easy to talk about £hundreds of thousands without ever really grasping what this means; even if I think of it as my annual salary x 7 it still doesn’t really hit home. It’s money we’ll never see, loaned out by people we’ll never meet, and paid back by banks we’ll never visit. For us however it’s not just a business, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a massive change, it’s an opportunity to build a life together. However, while that might be all we need and all we want, I doubt that’s a good enough argument to make it past the Dragon’s Den panel of lenders.
So… I like to think that this blog follows the very good advice provided by a friend – it is positive, yet realistic. We’ll see what happens on Saturday, you may yet find me on www.callthisabusinessplan.com.