Kyrgyz Hotel Owner Finds Room for Greater Success

Gulzat Tuleeva presenting her guesthouse during a regional business meeting in May 2015
Gulzat Tuleeva presents her guesthouse during a regional business meeting in May 2015.
Bookkeeping and management tools help increase revenue by 20 percent
“Thanks to the program, I grew up as an entrepreneur. My family and I are now inspired to achieve greater goals.”

August 2015—Even successful business owners need advice, especially if they want to expand their services and profits. Growth often lies in the details.

Like many other women entrepreneurs in Kyrgyzstan, Gulzat Tuleeva was able to fulfill her dream of starting a business only after her children were old enough. She launched her hotel business in 2013 when she was 36 years old and had four children, the eldest being 15 years old.

Tuleeva’s 12-room guesthouse, Adamkaly (good luck), is conveniently placed along the main road in the city of Kochkor in the mountainous Naryn province in central Kyrgyzstan. The year-round guests are mostly business travelers from local enterprises, banks and government agencies. From May through October, Tuleeva’s guesthouse also caters to local and international tourists.

One of the biggest challenges for Tuleeva from the beginning was bookkeeping. She would usually produce her room revenue totals based on handwritten notes in a small notebook. Disbursements were not recorded at all and there was no financial data to speak of.

In 2014, Tuleeva along with over 900 women entrepreneurs, joined USAID’s Women’s Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises (WLSME) Program. Tuleeva attended trainings on hospitality and leadership, business management, marketing, personnel management and financial management.

Tuleeva also entered a WLSME business plan competition and won. As a result, she received help to develop Excel files to keep track of her income, cash flow, sales and disbursements. She also learned to profile her guests in the booking register to identify patterns such as travel purpose and booking source to improve her bookkeeping and to better analyze her company’s data. She also developed a 2015 business plan based on the number of guests and revenue stream of 2014 and produced a detailed marketing plan.

In addition, Tuleeva received a small grant and bought new furniture for her rooms to make them ever more welcoming for the tired traveler.

Through the WLSME program, Tuleeva and her husband—who helps run the guesthouse—took part in study tours to successful hotels, hospitality facilities and travel companies in and around Bishkek, the country’s capital, to learn good practices and gain new ideas for the business. After the tours, the spouses divided the responsibilities to optimize their time and the services they offer. While Tuleeva is managing the guesthouse operations, her husband arranges tours for the guests such as hunting, fishing, horseback riding, biking and trekking.

Since Tuleeva joined the WLSME program, the increased number of tourists staying at the Adamkaly guesthouse has increased revenue by 20 percent. Tuleeva also discovered that a large percentage of her customers learned about her business from Google Maps—where she registered the guesthouse last year at the program’s suggestion.

“Thanks to the WLSME program, I grew up as an entrepreneur,” says Tuleeva. “My family and I are now inspired to achieve greater goals.”  

Since 2013, USAID’s WLSME program, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, has helped to build the business management skills of women entrepreneurs in marketing, business planning, financial planning, human resource management, and contracts and negotiations. Women can also participate in an ongoing business plan competition to receive tailored technical advice and training, take part in exchange visits and mentorship programs, and receive microgrants to apply upgrades to their businesses.

Through the program, which ends in 2015, participants can also access a customized woman entrepreneur credit product of Bai Tushum Microfinance Banking Group that offers low interest rates and favorable payment conditions.


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