This Week in Property: The Latest News (28th May 2021)

Take a look at what our CEO Gill Fielding has to say about this week’s property news…


Britain’s first Black Billionaire

In the Times Rich List just published, they have announced that Britain has its first black billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa. Originally from Zimbabwe, Strive made his money in technology and telecommunications. I am totally torn about reporting this because of course it’s fantastic that at last we have a black billionaire and that needs applauding but on the other hand I’m so disappointed that this fact should make headline news because billionaires should be any race, colour or creed and all should have an equal chance to create their fortune, but of course, we know that isn’t the case. Coincidently this Rich List was published at the first anniversary of George Floyd’s murder and I want to acknowledge that and believe we should never forget that atrocity. However, for today I’m going to take the positive and recognise what a great achievement this wealth is for both Strive and for the country

I hope in next year’s Rich List there is even more diversity.


What’s with the Rabbit?

Last weekend was the first weekend cinemas were opened for several months and 1% of the UK population rushed to their local picture house to see – Peter Rabbit 2. This is an animated film aimed – I assume – mainly at children and yet the cinemas were full with people watching the film – and eating! Odeon UK says that over the period from Monday to Thursday it sold 25,000 portions of popcorn, 9,000 portions of nachos and 3,000 hot dogs.

I mention this because these viewing and eating figures were well above what the cinemas expected and they are delighted. Also it shows how weird the human race can be. They’ve been shut in for a year mainly watching films and eating and as soon as they’re allowed out they go and watch a film and eat. But of course the experience is completely different and there’s nothing to beat watching a good film on a large screen and reacting to the film with a group of other people. That sense of community is palpable and uplifting. I can remember going to see a Star Wars film on its opening day years ago. Many people were dressed as characters – especially Darth Vader – and cheered when anything exciting happened on screen. I came out of that cinema with a sense of connectivity and community – of visceral connection with my fellow humans and it was brilliant. People crave contact, connection and a sense of community. That’s why I believe most people will eventually end up going back into work rather than continuing to work from home.

Peter Rabbit just proved it!


Savings are a lottery

The Nationwide Building Society are the latest financial institution to offer a lottery prize for having an account with them and if you’re a mortgage holder or have an account with them then you get automatically entered into a prize draw to win a maximum of £100,000. You have a 1 in 1,750 chance of winning one of the prizes. Nationwide are not the first Building Society to do this as the Halifax announced a similar scheme recently. I understand exactly why they’re doing this because the savings rates we’re getting on our deposits nowadays are hardly worth the effort and typically fall below 1% so they need a way of attracting customers

But I’m not sure the lottery prize offer sits comfortably with me. That money could be better used to improve rates or services to ALL its members not just the lucky few and my view is that financial institutions should be above all this malarkey. But sadly, we live in a world where many people are relying on the lottery and prize winnings to provide for their retirement but unfortunately that won’t be possible for the majority. It’s unfortunate that banks and building societies are pandering to this kind of thought when they could be concentrating on financial education and financial service for all.


You can’t do it alone

There’s a common belief that any business owner could and should do everything in their business. It’s a common mistake that entrepreneurs go it alone in a desperate attempt to create success. But a successful business owner, Natasha Bowes, who owns a business selling Kefir a drink made from fermented milk which comes from the Caucus mountains and has been drunk for over 2,000 years thinks differently. Although the business is successful and profitable now she admits that she would have been successful in half the time if she had hired staff and got support earlier. This is a great insight from an experienced business owner and she wishes she had recruited staff as soon as she knew she had a saleable product.

In my business life I have seen this time and time again where a one wo/man band business gets stuck at the ground floor or fails because of the business owners reluctance to hire support and they end up doing all jobs, many of which they aren’t good at! Obviously no-one should take on staff if they have no way of paying them going forward but if you have enough confidence in your product or service to start the business then that should suggest you can recruit. Otherwise you’re limited by your own time and skill set.

Remember TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More).


There’s no such thing as bad publicity!

Dear old Dominic Cummings is back in the news and I don’t want to comment on what he’s saying but I do want to comment on Barnard Castle, which is a smallish market town in the north east that few people had heard of before Mr Cumming’s famous trip there to ‘test his eyesight’. That fateful trip ensured that Barnard Castle became entrenched in our memories last year and now he’s done it again and by speaking this week about what went on last year Dominic Cummings has put Barnard Castel front and centre back in our thoughts. The TV cameras were in Barnard Castle today chatting to the locals and one of the pub owners said that Cummings had provided them with about a million pounds worth of free marketing as business there is booming.

It just goes to show that there’s no such thing as bad publicity and although we remember Barnard Castle for all the wrong reasons, we DO remember it, and may consequently visit.. As business owners we never know how the outside world will affect our internal strategising, sales or marketing.

But I dearly wish Dominic Cummings would test his eyesight at one of our corporate events, we could do with the publicity!


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