s Michael Bennett, Homestay Bristol | storyof.outset.org

Michael Bennett

Homestay Bristol

Client Portrait
Michael joined Outset Bristol’s start-up programme with the idea of using the extra rooms in his house to generate income.

“I was unemployed with no obvious prospects of employment when I was told about Outset Bristol at the Jobcentre. I saw an advert in the local paper asking for hosts for foreign students and decided to try it.”

Michael engaged with Outset Bristol in April 2011 and worked his way through the Introduction to Enterprise and Business Start-Up modules. Each programme is broken down in to 8 workshops and covers a wide range of topics including marketing, sales, tax and basic bookkeeping.

“I came to Outset Bristol because it was free to use and I thought I could gain more skills and knowledge as I was growing my business.” Michael said.

As he progressed, Michael also received one-to-one mentoring and guidance from one of Outset’s expert business advisors.

Just two months later, in June 2011, Michael registered his business, Homestay Bristol. “I was quickly inundated with calls from schools asking for my rooms,” he said.

Since then, he has expanded to acquire 3 hostel properties with a total of 75 bed spaces and 7 members of staff.

Speaking about his experiences over the past 3 years, Michael explained the evolution of his business model.

“We have shifted ourselves so that we are positioned somewhere between the YHA and a budget hotel. This has opened our offering to other markets such as stag and hen parties, sports groups and visiting schools. We also no longer provide cooked meals.

“In 2014, we are considering whether to take on a new property that has been offered to us – this will help us focus on more upmarket rooms aimed at holidaying couples.”

Michael also made it clear that Outset was an important force for good that helped him achieve his goals.

“I found the Outset Bristol programme very useful and inspiring. My confidence has grown in many areas and I left the course better equipped to face the multitude of problems that occur while running my business.”