Business Name: Two Eagles Lodge B&B, a vacation home rental and event venue
Type of Business: Travel accommodations
Business Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Reason for starting
While visiting Vancouver on business, we “discovered” Vancouver Island and fell in love with it. We always talked about building a B&B when we found a place where we’d want to stay permanently and grow old, and this was it. The island is so amazing–from the spectacular British Columbia scenery (water, mountains, and trees everywhere) to the temperate year-round weather, and the warmth of the people. We love to meet new people and entertain, so running a B&B and a vacation rental, which we’ve built for purpose, is the perfect business for me and my husband. With marketing experience (25+ years as a marketing consultant), the proposition was simple: you build it, I’ll market it, and we’ll enjoy guests together.
How do you define success?
In terms of business success, it seems simple: Visualize what you want to build/create, create the plan, implement it (including strategic detours), and then take the time to look at what you’ve done and say, “Yeah, we did it.” The awards we have won for our efforts reinforce this success. Beyond that, success is being able to take time to enjoy the life you’ve created and not being at the mercy of a boss who says when you work, how long, and where. We work hard, but we’re our own bosses–reminding ourselves to walk away from the work we love to experience this beautiful island that we call home and enjoy sharing with our guests from near and far.
The fact that we built this business and farm from scratch against tight immigration deadlines and requirements, and have won several prestigious, island-wide awards in just the first six years we we’ve been open–trumping every other hospitality business on Vancouver Island (including the famous Empress Hotel among thousands of other accommodations and tourism businesses)–makes us feel pretty successful (and grateful to our guests who’ve nominated us). Earning a five-star rating from TripAdvisor, and the awards they send as a result, speaks volumes and makes us very happy. But even better is hugging on our patio, looking at the cruise ships in the distance, and saying, “We did it.” This moment speaks to the challenge and beauty of a husband-wife team building a business from scratch–all in a foreign country– and becoming a stronger couple as a result.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Our biggest challenge is how to make enough money to survive when the island’s peak tourism season is limited to three months. The way we addressed that was for me to continue my marketing consulting career–basically starting from scratch in a new country when we moved from Maryland to Vancouver Island. But, it’s worked, and SmartBiz Strategy is the balance we need to a seasonal business.
Who is your most important role model?
My mother. Although she was not an entrepreneur, and not even college educated, she was caring, nurturing, organized, fair, great with people, creative, well spoken, responsible, dependable, encouraging and a good money manager…traits I hope people see in me. From the time I was a little girl, she said I could do anything I put my mind to, and she made sure that I was well-rounded and educated to do just that…and all despite a debilitating disease that caused her to live in pain for years.