I have just paid a visit to one of our clients in Beaufort, SC. They decided to do a startup B&B and not buy an existing business.
If you have ever heard our founder Bill Oates (“the guru of the Inn business”) speak about this topic, you will know that he is usually not in favor of doing a startup. There are just too many pitfalls and obstacles to manage, and I agree: Is the area market viable, what is the competition, is the business seasonal? In short, viability is projected with few concrete facts to work on. Financing is more complicated, with a higher percentage of cash needed than when purchasing an established property.
Renovations, and working with contractors, builders, architects, designers, and craftspeople, are famous for cost overruns and time delays. The Inn needs to be furnished from scratch, buying a complete set of furnishings, fixtures, and equipment. A new website with pictures and text and arcane methods of developing SEO add substantially to the time and the bill. And then there’s the challenge of working with zoning ordinances for a new business, historical societies and, of course, the ever-present “This Old House” challenge. There are so many places where this dream could go wrong.
The Lesesne’s Anchorage 1770, then and now.
So why am I so enthusiastic about this project of the Lesesne’s (as they reminded me, pronounced like INSANE)? Because despite all of the above, they have tackled this project the right way.
They researched everything, from the destination and its historical societies to the local zoning, selectboard, chamber of commerce, and the financial projections (with help from the Inn Partners team). All of this was done BEFORE they made the commitment to move forward with the project. In other words, they did their homework. It was a monster undertaking but they had a few things going for them. One, they had the vision and desire. Two, they had the time. I cannot emphasize this enough. Due to the selling of their other business, they have made this project their full time job. They weren’t trying to do this around another job. Three, they had great teamwork. Each partner knew what the other was responsible for — a clarity of purpose with built-in communication so they stayed on the same page.
As I visited them, I came to share their excitement. The place is magnificent and they are in the middle of the renovations. There is still a ton of work to be done but they are still on budget and they are still together, smiling. Whether the time and money committed to this project will prove to be worth the effort financially and emotionally remains to be seen. We wish them well.
To view their continued progress, check out the Anchorage 1770 on Facebook. They plan to welcome their first guests to their beautiful Inn in Beaufort, SC by February 2015.
We wish them continued success!