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Starting a Small Business in the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is a vast and varied one, encompassing everything from hotels and restaurants to event planning and tourism. Along the popular Lake Michigan shoreline region, it’s no different. Small business in South Haven, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Saugatuck, and Holland all serve the hospitality industry. If you’re thinking of starting a small business in this sector, there are a few things you need to know.

Choose a niche for your business.

What kind of hospitality business do you want to start? There are endless possibilities, so take some time to think about what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at. Once you’ve chosen a niche, you can start to research your target market and develop a business plan.

Writing a business plan.

Writing a business plan is an essential step in starting a small business in the hospitality industry. A well-written business plan will help you to clarify your goals, identify your target market, and develop a strategy for achieving success.

Small business funding.

Next, you potentially need to secure funding. Starting a small business in the hospitality industry can be expensive, so you’ll need to find a way to finance your venture. There are a number of different options available, such as loans, grants, and crowdfunding. The Lakeshore Capital Consortium matches businesses with funding throughout Van Buren County, MI.

Launching a small business.

Once you have the funding in place, you can start to build your business. This includes finding a location, hiring staff, and purchasing equipment. It’s also important to develop a marketing plan and start promoting your business. Don’t foget about all the free marketing tools like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Business Profile, and LinkedIn, to name a few.

The hospitality industry is a competitive one, so you need to be prepared to work hard. Owning your business will be the hardest job you’ve ever had. Struggles are (mostly) outweighed by the rewards of entrepreneurship. If you’re passionate about your business, willing to put in the effort, and have the right business support system around you (like the South Haven Region Business Hub), you can be successful.

Here are some additional tips for starting a small business in the hospitality industry:

  • Do your research. Before you start your business, it’s important to do your research and understand the industry. This includes understanding the different types of businesses in the hospitality industry, the target market, and the competition.
  • Get experience. If you don’t have any experience in the hospitality industry, it’s a good idea to get some before you start your own business. This could involve working in a hotel, restaurant, or other hospitality-related business.
  • Network. Networking is essential for any small business owner, but it’s especially important in the hospitality industry. Get to know other hospitality professionals in your area and build relationships with them.
  • Be creative. The hospitality industry is constantly evolving, so it’s important to be creative and come up with new ideas. This could involve developing a unique concept for your business or finding new ways to market your business.
  • Provide excellent customer service. Customer service is essential in the hospitality industry. Make sure you provide your customers with excellent service so that they’ll come back again and again.

If you could use some experienced advice or guidance, our free mentors and workshops may be just what you need. Contact us for small business help!

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—Isa Clark

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WE GOT APPROVED FOR OUR NEW RESTAURANT!!! I can’t thank you enough for your guidance, mentorship, expertise, and motivation. We greatly appreciate your efforts towards the growth of Fruit Street Kitchen!

—Mo’Nique Crowley, Fruit Street Kitchen

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—Isa Clark, Clark Special Kitchen

Can’t thank you enough for being at my presentation this morning. I’m so thankful for absolutely everything you have done for me and The Donut Cart thus far. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!

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Thank you so much; I knew when I met you, you were like an angel. I appreciate you so much and I won’t let you down. Your hard work in what you are doing in the community is appreciated.

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I just wanted to say thank you for sharing so much information. I look forward to being able to be involved in this great networking experience. I really will call on your assistance for help with this Business Plan.

—Joanna Partee, Silver Fox Assistant, LLC


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