Each year, our local media, the Laker Magazine, conducts a “Best of” contest with online voting. You can vote at least once a day during the voting period. I think I remembered to vote at least twice. I doubt that was enough to gain this award, so I thank those of you voted for Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast as the Best Place to Stay at Smith Mountain Lake.
Starting on page 55, you can see who all received awards. But we were honored to receive “Best Place to Stay” At Smith Mountain Lake.
There were many “Best of “ awards made. At the recent Professional Women’s Resource networking group Mishelle Brosinski, with Lake Media awarded many framed “Best of…” awards at the meeting.
What amazed me was Mishelle had a sack full of awards for other amazing business women at the lake! Pictured here are the best of the best ranging from wineries to photography, mortgage companies, banks, auto repair, interior design, and more.
With the expansion of our business to include Bedford Landings Air Tours, we now hold two Chamber of Commerce memberships. We find that networking is a powerful way to make contacts and meet other local businesses in the area. We are not the “only” place to lodge at Smith Mountain Lake, but we want to remain the “best!” Being the “Best of anything” is more than just narrowing the competition. We want to truly live up to the award.
Jack and I knew that starting a new business would be hard work. We are not averse to hard work. Starting this business together was partly about Jack and me building a dream together. We know that running a business together can strengthen or weaken a relationship. So far, we have decided that we make a pretty good team. This team spirit has been our strength during the hard obstacles along the way. Some things I am better with and some things Jack is smarter about. The first hurdle in initiating the business was telling our family about out plans. We were met with responses of “Why would you want to do that?” Or “are you sure you want to cook and clean for other people?” Then of course there was the obstacle of selling of our home in Raleigh. That took 3.5 years during an economic downturn. This was directly followed by moving all of our belongings into storage and building the house including acquiring funding (See old blog post on that debacle).
Even though starting a business that we had never been a part of in our past lives was different for us, we felt we were strong enough for the challenge. First, we studied up on this new craft and industry. We read “Running a Bed and Breakfast for Dummies,” and we went to an Innkeeping 101 course. We joined a The Professional Association of Innkeepers International and went to their national conference in addition to the MidAtlantic Innkeepers Association and joined our local The Bedford Area B & B Association. Along the way, we asked questions, took notes, and listened to advice from others who with more business experience. What we learned is that 1. Patience and prayer work; and 2. If you believe in the dream and want it bad enough, it can happen.
We want to be sure we are living up to the “Best of” award and have examined what that means. First, we think it requires some creativity and artistry. I hope that we have applied some bit of artistic creativity in the design of our home; but also in the way that we interact with and host our guests. We also hope we are genuine. For example, if we are crafting customer service as our “art,” then that needs to shine through in our lives, our attitudes, and our interactions with all others throughout our networking and affiliations. We love meeting appreciative people, listening to their stories, advising guests on sightseeing excursions, or places to dine and we generally enjoy being helpful.
A second component to remaining “Best of” is to build in recovery and renewal time. We agreed early on not to let the business run our lives. If we don’t renew and get away from time to time, we will burn out too early; and in our retirement years we want to stay active for as long as possible. Since summer is the busiest time for us, we plan vacations in the fall or winter. But we also close reservations in favor of family get togethers and plan guest check-in times to be late afternoon (after boating time!). This year, we took a fall vacation river cruise on the Danube and are planning a few other jaunts this spring. We also have hobbies as outlets. Jack, of course builds airplanes, plays bagpipes and hunts. I do stained glass and play racquetball.
Comparing what we feel are critical aspects to running a successful business and remain “best place to stay” at Smith Mountain Lake, I wanted to understand others perspectives. I read an article about how to be the Best at Anything. The Time magazine article boiled it down to four points, many of which I believe we have truly considered.
These all seem like good points but it sounded a bit to me like the advice shared long ago by Robert Fulgham. We realize that being the “best” is a matter of other people’s perspective (since they vote) but also it is about becoming the best and feeling like we have earned this privilege. It is the simple things in life that lead to being the best of anything!
Share, play fair, be kind. Warm cookies and milk are good for you. Take a nap once in awhile, continue to learn and share. Learn some and think some. Draw and paint and sing and dance some. Play and work everyday some. And when you go out into the world, watch out for traffic. Hold hands and stick together.
Thanks for helping us continue to realize our BEST!