Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lynn Zwibak, Founder of Zwibak Revenue Management, located in Arlington, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Zwibak Revenue Management focuses on hotel revenue management training for non-revenue managers. Revenue management is the discipline within hotels that forecasts customer demand and sets the pricing and selling strategies. It is a pretty specialized area, and it is becoming increasingly important for those not directly involved in it to understand what revenue management is and how it works. Unfortunately, there is not much cross-training between revenue management and other departments, which leads to misunderstandings and lost revenue opportunities. My goal is to educate the non-revenue managers so that they can partner with their revenue management peers in order to earn more money for the hotel. My clients are independent hotels, hotel management companies, and organizations that work with hotels (such as online travel agencies or hotel technology).
Tell us about yourself
Since majoring in hotel management in college, I have spent my entire career in hospitality. When I transitioned to revenue management after my first few years in sales, I knew I had found my niche. Revenue management is the marriage between analysis and sales, so it appealed to both my nerdy analytical side and my outgoing, collaborative side. As the child of teachers, the third side of me really enjoys sharing knowledge and helping others understand new concepts, learn, and grow. In 2015 I moved into a training role at Marriott. I was hired as an adjunct professor of revenue management at Temple University. I was finally able to combine all three sides of me, and I knew I had found my calling. In the years since I have taught non-revenue management topics at universities and worked as a revenue director without the training aspect, but I found that I am happiest when I am actually teaching the subject. When I realized that nobody else was focusing on revenue management training, I decided it was time to strike out on my own.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being able to say that I am a business owner. It’s easy to have a vision for a business, but actually starting one is a whole other thing. It doesn’t happen overnight. First, you have to form the LLC, then open a bank account, build the website, find a lawyer and accountant, etc. Not to mention finding clients and actually getting hired. Being able to do all that without giving up is quite an accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the best things about being a business owner (especially a sole proprietor) is also the hardest. I get to make all the decisions; I don’t need to ask for anyone’s input or opinions. But that is also the hardest thing. I am responsible for everything, even the things that I’m not good at. I try to outsource what I can, but it still comes back to me to make the final decisions and do the legwork.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just do it. You can wait until you have everything in order and the time is perfect, but that is never actually going to happen. You have to start somewhere, so it may as well be now.
- Sell yourself and your product, don’t wait for business to come to you. I tell everybody I meet about my business. Maybe they don’t have a need for what I offer, but they may know somebody who does. Referrals are the best way to get business.
- Have at least one person who supports you unconditionally. There will be times of doubt and setbacks, and having someone who believes in you can give you the boost you need to keep going.
Where can people find you and your business?
LinkedIn (Personal): https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynn-zwibak/
LinkedIn (Company): https://bit.ly/3XqVueI
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