In the words of Samwise Gamgee: “Well, I’m back.” And the thing is – to my own surprise – I’m back with a bang!
As I sit here and type this, precisely one month after lockdown was unceremoniously ended for the Estate Agent industry with about 15 hours’ notice given, I look back on a month that I honestly thought would be devoid of business and see several sales agreed; several sales exchanged; even more Lets agreed than sales; fourteen new Instructions for sale; many more that in terms of instructions to let out; our pipeline is now bigger than it has ever been; and we are just launching a new Swindon operation.
I don’t write the above to be boastful; I write it with a genuine amount of surprise in a way, and in the hope that it instils confidence in my fellow Oxfordshire business owners that the market is not on its knees. A month ago, I thought it would have been! I was wrong. And the point is, the property market only functions when the local economy is functioning.
So what can I put it down to? Well, I guess, to be honest – but trying to stay modest about things – it hasn’t been down to simple luck (although I do count my blessings that there has been a market to come back to). Of course, the various government schemes that the new Chancellor introduced were helpful (to me at least), and I have to give credit where it’s due. But honestly, that sort of modest financial help runs out very quickly in a business which runs the sort of overheads that an Estate Agency does, and it is only helpful in any case if it is used in the right way. So, whilst banned from working in the business (as it were) by Boris in his Monday evening address to the nation, back on March 23rd, I then spent the seven weeks of lockdown working on it.
That meant business planning; contingency planning; advice sessions with our existing clients; reviewing our marketing strategies; creating new marketing avenues; devising new income streams; overhauling our systems; networking with other local businesses… Lockdown was a gift that meant I could spend more time on the business than ever before. It also meant spending time on myself, which has been equally important – quality time with my family, reading for enjoyment for a change, creative writing, even exercising. It was a time that allowed me to focus on what is important in life as well as in business, and time to be able to think hard about what the business is there to achieve and the ‘why’ of it. And it was time well used in order that we weren’t caught off our guard when we were suddenly given half a day’s notice that Estate Agents should get back to work, and allowed us to spring back on May 13th with gusto.
So yes, like Sam Gamgee, I’m back; but I’m back with a vengeance… and loving it!