I have a confession. I found a show that has become my new guilty pleasure: Hotel Impossible.
I had never heard of this show before, although it ran for nine seasons. But now, when I work out, this is my go to show. I don’t love what looks like fake drama… but hey, it’s TV, so I take that with a grain of salt. But just this morning I finished an episode I started yesterday, and watched another one before I got out of bed. My wife walked in and was like “what are you doing?” and I said “I’m studying.”
As I watch this show I am learning so much about business. It’s interesting to learn about it business through the lens of the hotel industry. There are so many blog posts I could write from lessons I’m learning from the show… this morning, the thing that stuck out to me the most was that in order to be successful, fundamentals have to be done.
In the hotel business that means:
- Safety is #1. Period.
- Customer service is key
- Cleanliness and maintenance is critical
- Business partnerships with other local services/companies is important
- Design can change everything (and doesn’t have to be expensive)
- Every person should have a well-defined role, with expectations and boundaries
- The right tools are super important
- Training can’t be overlooked
- Marketing will make or break your business
- Systems and processes need to be in place and respected
You can tell those fundamentals are not unique to hospitality. They can be applied to just about any industry, service, organization, etc. There are more, like pricing your offering properly as well as ensuring you have funding to do the job right. One thing I love about the show is that Anthony Melchoirri, the main personality, brings in specialists. He doesn’t rely on his own knowledge and expertise… he brings in bed bug dogs, campground experts, hostel experts, revenue experts, hospitality management experts, and of course, designers.
As I’ve been watching the show I’ve thought a lot about this, wondering who the Anthony Melchoirri is for my own businesses. I’m at least average when it comes to smarts, and I think I can learn things well enough… but I realize I’ve hit my limit on various things, and I really should bring experts in. I’m just not sure who those experts are.
That, though, is a topic for another blog post. In this blog post I want to focus on fundamentals.
If you look at the Pluralsight ratings for courses you’ll find that, generally, there are more ratings on fundamental, or basic, courses, than there are for niche courses. Fundamentals are critical… we all need them. We need to understand them, master them, and implement them.
Too often we can talk about fundamentals but in reality we skip them. I’ve been thinking about the fundamentals of my businesses and thinking about where I need to revisit, and make sure I’m really addressing them. Skipping over fundamentals (in a hotel, for example, housekeeping and maintenance) can make what looks like a good business really be a big, unsustainable mess. So, here are some ideas on fundamentals for my businesses:
- Marketing: Including SEO, my marketing message, my brand, guest articles and podcast interviews, etc.
- Functionality: Question #1: does it work? Then: What is the breadth and depth of our offering (compared to the competition)?
- Customer service: I know we sometimes fail here but for years this has been my #1 differentiator.
- UI/UX: Two different things, but both on my mind since day 1.
- Growth: Both user growth as well as financial growth.
- Marketing: Need to increase awareness, which will increase signups and upgrades.
- Product offering: How good is it? What can be done to make it better?
- Partnerships: I think growing through resellers/partners is the key.
- Seamless experience: Many people who come to the Job Search Program will come from JibberJobber… and then go back. I need to make the experience seamless and delightful.
- UI: The Job Search Program is simple… but powerful. The UI needs to look cooler, more welcoming, more modern. People have much higher expectations of UI now than ever before.
- Next course: For me to be successful, I need to continue to add courses to the Pluralsight library.
- Learning: I need to learn how to learn better, so I can consume as much as I can as I’m preparing my next course.
- Presentation skills: Yesterday I was watching a course on Youtube to learn more about my next topic and I literally almost fell asleep. The presenter had a voice fit for meditation, talked too slow, had no energy, and spent 10 minutes saying the same thing.
- Audio integrity: My first courses were done on a cheap headset. I didn’t think mics made a difference… but now I use a $300 mic and the difference is night and day (one of which is unbearable).
- Visual appeal: I have learned that visuals are everything. If my visuals stink, my course stinks. I used to loath taking the time to look for “the right” picture, but now I do it because I know how much it matters.
Those are three of my product lines. I could identify key fundamentals for other aspects of my life, like father, husband, person, entrepreneur, etc. If I were in a job search right now, here are five fundamentals I’d really dig into:
- Informational Interviews: This encompasses so many things, but especially focused, targeted networking. That is why the Job Search Program focuses on informational interviews.
- Consistency: You can’t hit it hard for a couple hours today, then play online games for two weeks. What are you doing EVERY DAY, consistently, to get you closer to your next job.
- Self-marketing: Including your resume, LinkedIn profile, tagline, even how you present yourself (visually, orally, etc.)
- Optimism: And, what I call HOPE. I have to believe that there is something out there for me, I’ll find it, and it will all work out.
- Financial wisdom: Do I need to cut costs (cable TV)? How long is my runway before I have no more money? Where should I invest (clothes, career specialists, interview coaching, etc.)?
If I were happily employed, here’s what I’d think about:
- Communication: I need to make sure I’m communicating the right amount with the right people to maintain the right network at work.
- Professional development: There aren’t too many jobs where you can stop learning and just coast on what you already know. Always Be Learning for me is the Always Be Closing for sales.
- Excellence: I know you have plenty of opportunities to skimp and do a minimal amount of work, but take pride in what you do, and strive for excellence (balanced, of course, with time and other resources). This should pay off in the short and long run.
- Soft skills: You shouldn’t be a jerk. Some people excel, even though they are a jerk. But seriously, what fun is that? What if you could excel in your job and your career and not burn bridges and step on toes along the way? Being kind is fulfilling.
- Create value: How are you creating value in and for your role? What can you do to become “indispensable?” Yes, everyone can be replaced, but what kind of value can you create and provide that will make you desirable by either your employer, or if that doesn’t work out, your competitors or potential customers?
What about you? What area do you want to see improvement, and what are your fundamentals? My challenge is to not just make the list, but to actually have the right discussions about them, and address them.