I am amazed
at how much changes in a year, not least of all where business technology is concerned.
As a *ahem* 50-something business owner who spent the best part of 30 years as an Estate Agent, moving thousands of people into new homes across London and the Home Counties since the ’80s, before (literally) falling into the world of online marketing, web design and video production, I truly feel like I am on a rollercoaster of discovery. So I thought I would introduce our brand new website to you in a blog post about my thought process behind our ‘new look’ for 2017.
As you may, or may not know, 2016 was a year of growth for JP Gardner & Associates. At the start of the year my son Antonio and myself were working out of a furnished suite in a business centre in Watford, and were mainly working on estate agency consultancy with video production as a side-line. We had just completed our first website project for Northfields EA and our first social media contract for Lawrence Rand EA. It was a really exciting time, because our projects were very successful and our clients were giving great feedback, word was starting to spread by recommendation and enquiries were increasing.
So the dilemma by the start of Spring was how to expand.
As a member of The Property Academy, currently in the Lettings & Property Management Mastermind Group, I had the opportunity to host a meeting (at the fabulous Sky Box at Watford FC, no less) and share my expansion dilemma with 14 of my industry peers, including our chairman – the very knowledgable Peter Knight. I came away from that meeting with pure clarity, I was going to take a leap of faith, employ a team of eager professionals, move into bigger premises and promote the company with renewed passion and a funky new look. Well actually we decided on a funky ‘old’ look, with retro pop art graphics curtesy of our resident designer Nikkie Warnock.
The team came together very easily, by Summer we had English graduate and social media guru Katie Gillingham on board, the ‘Cooley’ brothers; Matthew on web design and content management, James on videography and to complete the set, a new PA and office manager to cement the processes, Halee Miller. Although I do feel a little like the office dinosaur surrounded by such young, enthusiastic and uber talented staff, I love the vibe and how the team get along so well, thoroughly enjoying their work and prepared to go over and above for their clients. My entire work life has revolved around giving exemplary customer service and I now have a team of people around me who are offering outstanding service every day without me having to say a word. Tick.
So next on the list, somewhere local, quirky and big enough to fit in all of these creative peeps and give them inspiring surroundings to work from. For those who don’t know me personally, I had also acquired a *cough* delightful beagle puppy at the end of 2015, and I was hoping to also find premises that were dog friendly so I could put in the extra work hours without feeling guilty about Daisyrey being home alone… Without barely having to look, we stumbled upon our new home 103-105 High Street, Watford WD17 2DQ. Anyone who remembers the heydays of Sewell & Gardner lettings, will know that we really started to fly when we worked out of 103 High Street, Rickmansworth… could there be any more of a coincidence than that…?
The office was inhabited at the time by another website company called Hallway, who worked within the British Beer Industry and were moving out of Watford into Central London, so could literally leave us the furniture we needed and be gone in a couple of months. Perfect timing for us with our contract expiring at the business suite on Hallowe’en. We moved into our new home, it was ‘fairly’ painless, despite being let down by the internet provider and having to work off EE dongles for 6 weeks! Who would have thought that high speed internet would be so difficult to get in the dead centre of Watford Intu shopping centre, pretty much where our new office is based!
Team complete, office complete, just needed to build a website in keeping with our new business model and get out there promoting ourselves…
In the 2 years since our old site was designed, our business offering had changed so dramatically, that we needed to start from scratch and completely renew our content, imagery and layout. We hope that you find the new site interesting, easy to navigate and simple to read but if you do encounter any issues, or spot any errors, please can you let us know by emailing me [email protected] Whilst I am still consulting with estate agency businesses, I now have a team back in the office working on websites, social media, videos and we even have weekly training sessions in our board room, undertaken by the amazing Ruth Harrington and Emilie Thysse (both ex Marsh & Parsons and Foxtons management). Hopefully, you will agree that we offer an all-round service for estate agency businesses who want to be the very best and lead the market by providing a superior online platform for their customers. As it happens, we now have clients from outside of the estate agency industry and are more than happy to meet with any business looking to embrace technology and move their business forward with speed into 2017 and beyond.
We have some amazing new year deals available and we would be delighted at the opportunity to chat with you. Best number 01923 627777 (9-6pm) or 07966 409627 (out of hours).
Jane Gardner, FARLA, MNAEA