Entrepreneurship and innovation in the hospitality industry is becoming much more important, whether you are working for yourself or with bigger organizations.
Have you ever sent out your CV countless times only to be met with rejection after rejection?
In the days of side-hustles and work-from-home you too may have been tempted to take your financial future and career trajectory into your own hands.
And why not?
Entrepreneurship is the fuel that drives innovation in the greater hospitality industry, and your opportunities are limited only by your imagination, grit, and determination!
It is thanks to innovative entrepreneurs, like our esteemed Aleit Academy alumni, that we can confidently say that the hospitality and event industries have and will continue to overcome all the challenges posed by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, and that they will continue to grow, and thrive in 2021 and beyond!
When people think of the hospitality industry, they immediately think of hotels and tourism.
While that’s certainly true, hotels and tourism make up an important part of the industry.
The hospitality industry actually covers such a broad spectrum of jobs and opportunities that it’s misleading to talk about how the pandemic, or any other challenges really, affect the industry as a whole.
If you provide services to people, or groups of people, chances are your business exists in one of the hospitality or hospitality-adjacent sectors!
So, while tourism in 2020 and 2021 may have been impacted by lockdowns, social distancing, restrictions and closed borders, crafty entrepreneurs in some sectors have taken the opportunity to fill gaps in the market and make a tidy sum in the process!
Why Entrepreneurs are the Future: The Benefits of Entrepreneurship
Never mind the internal benefits of entrepreneurship, like setting your own hours, and being your own boss – entrepreneurship is beneficial to the industry and society at large.
New ventures in the hospitality industry not only create countless job opportunities it also boosts local and international economies.
Entrepreneurship is also critical to an industry in which clientele are always seeking out the new and unusual, the fun and unheard of, the exceptionally convenient and ultra-comfortable.
Innovating is therefore crucial to the growth and development of the hospitality industry, and entrepreneurs are usually at the forefront of, and driving this innovation.
Travellers today are travelling differently, staying differently, exploring differently, and this is thanks to platforms like AirBnB, for example, which allows anyone to become an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry, literally from the comfort of their own home!
Creating new, unique and niche experiences, innovating and filling the gaps in the market, entrepreneurs in the hospitality and adjacent industries gain a competitive edge while continuing to thrive in the current global economy.
In fact, Peters et al. have found that the industry is dominated by SMEs, meaning that small businesses, though not the first thing people think of when they think of the hospitality industry, are actually the driving force behind most hospitality economies!
The Cost of Success: What it Takes to be a Successful Entrepreneur
If you are to become a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need to have your wits about you!
Successful entrepreneurs are typically those who are:
A “Jack of all Trades”
Going into business for yourself, by yourself, means that you will need to be able to manage all aspects of your business yourself, for as long as it may take to achieve the kind of profitability that would allow for you to source and appoint outside help.
This means that you need to be a “Jack of all trades” to keep the business running in its initial stages.
This means that you will need to have basic accounting skills, marketing skills, sales techniques, knowledge of the industry and your proposed/ new role in it, and more!
You may also be required to have a working knowledge of relevant legal restrictions or regulations, or to know about social media and/ or brand management, HR management, etc.
Make sure that you, or the people you surround yourself with during the business’s initial phases, have the expertise and experience required to make the start-up a successful and sustainable business.
If you know that accounting or finance is your blind spot, for example, don’t throw good money after bad and start up your business without first having a strategy in place for managing your own shortcomings.
A smart entrepreneur is not one without flaws or shortcomings, it’s one who recognises and plans to compensate for them before they impact the business’s success!
To find out more about The Aleit Academy Diploma in Event Coordination, visit our page.
Successful entrepreneurs are persistent.
That is not to say you need to be a perpetual optimist, in fact, realism is encouraged!
But successful entrepreneurs don’t quit when the going gets tough, they adapt and overcome.
A successful entrepreneur must identify a gap in the market and find a new and exciting way to fill it.
Without a good idea, or a creative solution to a problem, you would have no business.
Innovation is key to entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry, as the travel, tourism and adjacent industries are becoming more and more focused on the experience.
This means that entrepreneurs need to provide new and exciting, one-of-a-kind experiences in order to succeed.
Whether that means offering unique accommodation, new foods, or first-of-their-kind activities, your creativity will not only stand you in good stead as an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry, but as a business owner in general.
Creativity and flexibility are crucial to problem solving and overcoming any number of obstacles and challenges to your business.
The Stumbling Blocks: Challenges of Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship comes with undeniable risk, but if you’ve read this far, you’ve no doubt already decided to go into business for yourself, because you know that with great risk comes great reward!
That being said, knowledge is power!
Below you will find a list of the most common challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry.
This way, you’re prepared for anything!
Challenges you can expect to face include:
Whether you’re planning on sinking your life savings into your start-up, or you’re planning on applying for a business or personal loan in order to get your business off the ground?
Take whatever number you had in mind for start-up costs and maintenance until your business becomes profitable, and then double it for good measure.
Getting a business off the ground can be an extremely costly endeavour, and unforeseen circumstances and expenses, unfortunately, have forced many entrepreneurs to close their doors before they were even properly open!
Pro tip: the hospitality industry has proven time and time again to be sound investment.
Think about approaching a private investor to invest in your start-up to ensure that you have access to adequate cash flow to afford yourself enough time to get the business off the ground before you expect to turn your first profit.
Entrepreneurs are doing it for themselves – literally.
But wearing all the hats (accountant, manager, butcher, baker, candlestick maker…) can cause serious stress and cause an entrepreneur to become burnt out.
Entrepreneurs who are stretched too thin put not only themselves and their personal health at risk, but the business’s fiscal health and sustainability as well.
Finding the right business partners and/or employees may be a challenge in itself but having their support will be invaluable when it comes to the “down” time in the “ups and downs” of entrepreneurship.
To find out more about The Aleit Academy Diploma in Hotel & Tourism Management, visit our page.
Finding the Right Staff/ Partner
Finding the right business partner(s) and/ or employee(s) is, as we’ve just mentioned, challenging in and of itself.
As an entrepreneur, you want to ensure from the get-go that your business partner(s)/ employee(s) are willing to buy into your entrepreneurial vision, and work with you to build not only the brand and the business, but the company culture you’ve envisioned for your venture.
Without a doubt probably the most important part of entrepreneurships is your capability to sell your product or service.
If you can sell ice to an Eskimo, you are definitely doing the right thing to start your own business.
Sales knowledge and skills are imperative to have to ensure you can grow your business and convince people to buy into your idea and creative product or service.
The Future of Entrepreneurship in the Hospitality Industry
The future of the hospitality industry lies in innovation and entrepreneurship.
In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven, as opposed to hindered, the growth of this industry, as it has driven industry professionals to innovate like never before!
Entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism industries have responded to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by bringing their industries online, offering digital services.
They are also reinvesting in their local economy by keeping things local and encouraging “local” tourism!
The collective industry focus has shifted to ensuring all business is conducted sustainably, and the pandemic has, above all, forced industry role-players and entrepreneurs to maintain a modicum of flexibility that has allowed innovation to flourish in the face of all obstacles.
The Aleit Academy Alumni have their say: The Future for entrepreneurs*
Here at The Aleit Academy, we are proud to produce powerful future industry leaders and entrepreneurs; two of whom we sat down with recently (virtually, of course), to reflect on the importance of entrepreneurship in the industry, the benefits of entrepreneurship, and their thoughts on the future of entrepreneurship in the industry.
These two boss-ladies are the epitome of industry entrepreneurial prowess, and we’re so grateful to have played a role in their education and success stories!
We wanted to find out where each of their journeys toward entrepreneurship began and how and why they decided to start their own business.
Many people’s reasons differ, and they were inspired by different things.
“My entrepreneurship journey started when I made the decision to build my own empire, instead of somebody else’s!
I did not want to be an employee and contribute to somebody else’s success; I’d rather build my own business.
My family is also one of amazing entrepreneurs, with both of my grandparents, and my parents having started their own businesses as well,’ said Libré Jacobs.
For Dané Verwey it was something completely different she has just always been fascinated with colour.
From a young age she was interested in drawing and creating, and her mother’s decorative prowess at home triggered a styling eye!
She said: “Once I chose my subjects in high school and started taking Design, I knew I had made the best possible decision for me!
Originally, I had planned to study something to do with Agriculture, but God got me to The Aleit Academy, because He knew I was meant to spend my life playing with colour!” – Dané Verwey
Dané believes that the key benefit of entrepreneurship in the industry is to do what she loves, every single day.
“You know what they say, ‘if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.’” – Dané Verwey
In the same breath she also mentions that managing your own time is a great benefit, but it can also be a massive challenge if you’re not disciplined or great at time management.
Another big benefit is, “definitely being able to inspire people through my work as it is very rewarding.” – Dané Verwey
Libre on the other hand believes that the greatest thing about being an entrepreneur in the industry is the flexible hours.
“The benefit of managing your own time cannot be overstated,” she said.
“I also enjoy never having the exact same routine or job every day, because I wear many different hats, and what I do differs daily.” – Libré Jacobs
Libre also gave some amazing advice to someone who is hoping to enter the industry as an entrepreneur, especially as a female entrepreneur, in the hospitality industry.
“Male or female, you need to have balls of steel (haha)!
You also always need to remember that you only have one name and that your reputation is everything.
Keep your head down, work hard, and always strive to do a good job at a reasonable price, and you’re golden,” Libre told us.
Dané said when we asked her how she would say her education at The Aleit Academy set her up for success.
“I believe that if you want to be successful, you can be successful,”
“I was blessed with parents who believed in my vision and who were able to send me to The Aleit Academy.
This doesn’t mean I didn’t work hard to get to where I am today; I made use of all the opportunities that I was afforded in order to start my own business, and this started with my journey at The Aleit Academy.” – Dané Verwey
She thinks ultimately, you need to create your own opportunities even though you get so many different opportunities as a student at The Aleit Academy.
“I think the fact that we started at the bottom [of the industry food chain], by waitering, and cleaning, instilled the values of hard work and a strong work ethic in all of us, and we only really reap the rewards of this lesson later on as entrepreneurs.” – Dané Verwey
When we asked these amazing ladies if they believe there is a future for entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry, Libre answered that there is without a doubt.
“It is human nature to celebrate, and we’ll always find a reason!
The hospitality industry is there to celebrate!”- Libré Jacobs
Dané also said there will always be couples getting married, and corporations wanting to treat their staff and/or clients.
She also believes that people will never stop travelling which means there will always be those in need of a place to stay.
“Life, like business, is full of challenges, and COVID-19 is just a temporary, albeit one of the bigger challenges along the way.
If you are adaptable, flexible, and determined, you can get through anything!”- Dané Verwey
If you believe in the future of the hospitality industry and want to be a part of the innovation that makes it tick, consider applying to The Aleit Academy to get a head start on your road to entrepreneurial success!
To find out more about The Aleit Academy Diplomas in Event Coordination or Hotel & Tourism Management, visit our page.
*Disclaimer: Questions and answers have been lightly edited for grammar, clarity, and in compilation.