Doom and gloom are the buzzwords for business at the moment. Since the advent of the coronavirus lockdown, it’s been a case of adapt or collapse for many UK businesses.
However, when many expected to see resignation, many local SMEs fought back. You only need to glance at social media to see that businesses on the Wirral are determined to ride this pandemic out to the end, and come out of it stronger than ever. Many have adapted their strategies, taking on a more digital approach to run their business effectively within the government social distancing guidelines.
Some have moved to a contactless delivery model, and others are releasing digital reiterations of their products. The innovation, ingenuity and straight up tenacity of these businesses has even made some of them busier than ever.
Impressed and inspired by businesses around the Wirral, we reached out to a few for an interview, to see what the driving force and thoughts are behind their actions.
As the first in a series, we spoke to Joe at Peninsular Properties, a successful rental agency based in Prenton, Birkenhead but covering the entire Wirral.
I’m sure you’ll be interested to know how the pandemic is affecting businesses based in the housing industry, and how they plan to keep their business moving forward.
Do you have a business based on the Wirral and would like to share your experience? Let us know here!
Hi! Could you introduce yourself and your business to our readers?
My name is Joe Martin-Bindley and our business is Peninsular Property. We are investment and property management specialists based in Birkenhead.
How and when did you start your business?
I have been in the property industry for the last 15 years and set Peninsular up back in 2016.
What challenges has COVID brought to your business?
The main challenges have been with our tenant database, as part of our group we have a letting agency managing approx. 200 tenants. We have worked closely with our tenants during this time to allow them as much flexibility as possible.
How have you adapted to these challenges with a digital strategy?
We have regularly kept in close contact with all of our clients via social media and newsletters. We have even gone as far as offering virtual viewings for interested parties which has gone down well.
Do you think the changes you’ve made will have a positive effect on your business going forward?
Absolutely, we feel that if as a business we can get through this current pandemic we can get through anything!
What advice can you give to other businesses struggling to adapt?
There is so much help and advice out there so never be afraid to ask. No-one in business has ever been in this position before and likely never will be again. We are all in the same boat and no matter how alone you feel you never are. Times are hard but they won’t be forever.
What’s next for your business? What’s the plan when all this is over?
Our staff are currently working remotely so I am looking forward to getting normality resumed in our office. We will then look to really kick on with the second half of the year and assisting our clients and their investments in the time we have lost.
Has COVID presented any particular challenges specific to your industry?
The main challenge has been the mortgage markets and tenants rental payments. We have worked closely with both our tenants and landlords during this period. Some landlords and tenants haven’t been as lucky and I suspect it may take the market a number of years to full recover.
How do you think COVID will change the housing industry going forward as a whole?
I think the housing industry will take some years to recover if you consider the amount of issues people are having. On the flip side however it will be very much a buyers market after the pandemic so if you are a first time buyer or investor it can certainly be seen as a positive.
Do you anticipate the lockdown will change how people expect to get their information going forward?
I think the property world was heading that way regardless in terms of virtual house tours and being more social media based, however the current situation has certainly accelerated that. As a business we have a big social media presence online and have certainly pushed this on the back on the lockdown. It also goes to show tenants don’t always need to see properties before they move in as a video tour can be just as good as a face to face viewing.
Interested in more interviews with Wirral businesses? Don’t forget to follow us on social to get the latest updates!