One can now travel freely to and from Gibraltar, and do our shopping across the border, which is always good fun and which we all enjoy so much after a long period of little or no movement. Travel is now feasible between all the provinces of Andalucía and things will open up more as we enter the summer season. Business is slowly catching up and it looks like the pandemic has given us a much-needed break. But we all realise that things are going to be very different from now onwards.
Social distancing, changes in travels, going to restaurants and shopping, working from home. The list is perhaps too long to name all the prime changes taking place in our new world. Some changes will be most welcome, others (however tough they may seem) will have to be accepted as part of our new lives during the aftermath of the coronavirus.
There are ways in which we can turn things around to improve trade and business here and abroad. Basically, the secret is to reinvent things that will attract more customers and increase trade. We shall try in this article to give the business community a few original tips to help entrepreneurs and the brave start-ups to improve their business after the hard economic blow we all had to bear for the never-possible-to-forget Dark Spring of 2020.
Things are going to be very different from now onwards.
This hugely successful new business sector will most definitely have to make major changes. Bla Bla Car for instance, a well-established car travel sharing business which works with a rather handy application, will have to make some changes to keep attracting customers. Probably a compulsory rule to wear face masks, and a limited number of clients in one motorcar at a time may be part of the answer. Disinfecting the seats in front of clients may be requested. And perhaps more attractive rates. They will make it back if some of these rules are established. One golden rule which must be followed by all entrepreneurs is to think about what customers need. Never forget that consumers will be keener to save money after the pandemic. Personally, I would add that consumers are always looking to get good value for money and to save no matter how well-off they might be. It is such a simple golden rule but sadly not all entrepreneurs follow it. Saving money. Value for money. The biggest drive in business no doubt. In the new sharing economy, we all look forward to having things of yours and you having things of mine – even if these things need a thorough clean in between.
In property things must be changed as well; better pricing, or giving the final buyer good value for money. Some developers in France and Spain are offering clients a decoration service, which is not only attractive but extremely well-priced. People, it is sad to admit, think less each day with all this modern technology, smartphones and digital business. So, give them the job done. It may produce more punters than you think.
The letting agency business is also going to need a good reinvention scheme. Fair prices. Fair deals. Competition is fierce out there, so try to be number one in aggressive marketing. Airbnb, for example, have taken the pandemic very seriously, to the extent of recommending landlords to leave a 24-hour gap between lettings so there is enough time to clean and disinfect the houses to be let. Do not be surprised if this rule becomes a must in the future. It would boost the tenants’ confidence in the property in mention.
Another important rule when offering long-term lets is to be fair to the client. The client is the one that makes it all possible. Ultimately it is the client who brings the business. I was an agent many moons ago and never ever made double letting fees from my customers. I am not saying this to blow my own trumpet but if a client rented via us, he would not be charged a penny. The landlord being the party that received the money is the one to be paying his agent and never the other way around. In the UK it is illegal to charge commission fees to the tenant. One used to be able to charge an admin fee but it looks like it is also illegal these days. Along the coast it is very common to get charged a full month as a commission fee if you are a tenant. Maybe it is a good time to start an agency and advertise ‘Zero commission for tenants’ as part of your marketing tools to bring more clients whilst increasing trade. Let me assure you it works.
The secret is to reinvent things.
Food and Groceries
People have become extremely cautious when shopping these days. Make sure you give your clientele the cleanest products, in the most impeccable premises. Large supermarkets know this inside out – copy the big ones is the answer. Whether you run a supermarket franchise or a little fruit shop it makes no difference; tidiness is of paramount importance. Go organic. People love that kind of stuff, and will pay you much more if they can get top-class organic free-range eggs or chicken. An old client started out selling a few organic eggs. He only owns about 80 hens. He cannot cope with demand, but he doesn’t wish to make his venture factory-size oriented. His success is a small unique product. Free range eggs. So simple and so clever.
Free range eggs. So simple and so clever.
Here comes a very complex business sector. Personally, I am not flying at present. I will fly again when the virus goes forever or the right vaccine arrives. A lot of people will no doubt share my views. Others shall not. But look into possibilities of car sharing, scooters, e-bikes. These will bring good business no doubt.
Finally, consider that business locations and the new fashion of how to run them is going to change. The pandemic’s drive to moving business management to cyberspace is probably not going to be the last – anything related to this will certainly work.