2020 has definitely had its ups and downs for businesses across the world. While there have been tales of giant corporations teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, smaller businesses have, conversely, often been able to react a lot more quickly to the huge change in circumstances we have witnessed and businesses have even been born out of the Covid-19 lockdown. We chatted recently to one such enterprising business owner, Derbyshire based, Chris Wright, who told us about his unique venture and how NBV’s Grant for Enterprise is helping kick start his commercial property agency.
Can you tell me a little bit more about your business?
My business, Omeeto, is based in Derby and services the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire areas.
We are a commercial property agency who specialise in the selling and letting of commercial real estate such as offices, warehouses, retail and investment property.
What’s your business’ USP?
The business has a tech-led approach to property marketing and has invested heavily in a leading CRM system and pioneering software to provide virtual viewings as standard. These are showcased on our easy to use property marketing platform www.omeeto.co.uk.
The Omeeto platform also has a designated data room for every property listing where useful property-related documents are held and made available to interested parties.
We are aiming to simplify and streamline the property marketing process with clear, transparent and informative marketing.
My business aim is to make Omeeto synonymous with effective commercial property marketing.
When and why did you start your own business?
I launched my business when the country was locked down by COVID-19. COVID-19 caused major complications for many industries, particularly the property industry with all, bar essential, property viewings prohibited. I have over 23 years industry experience in the Derby and Nottingham areas and realised, along with my experience in virtual viewing technology, that I could help maintain customer engagement whilst physical property viewings were not possible. I knew that my website would also improve marketing efficiency once lockdown was lifted. Allowing customers secure access to the relevant property documents at the outset of a marketing campaign would also help improve transparency. Traditionally much of the property data, such as reports, certificates etc are not collated until after solicitors are appointed. This can cause delays or deals to fail in the event something unexpected comes up after a sale or let has been agreed.
What skills and previous experience do you have that led you to start your business?
After completing my degree in Commercial Property Management, I started my career in Derby as a trainee surveyor for a regional property firm. I completed 7 years in Commercial Property Management which included providing acquisition and disposal advice for major PLC clients such as Kidde, Chubb, Nestle, Pilkington and Baxi.
I discovered I had a skill for transactional work and moved to the Land and Development team of Savills, Nottingham in 2007. Here I provided a range of high net worth individuals and corporate clients with disposal advice on a range of brownfield and greenfield development sites. I excelled in maximising value for clients by thinking laterally and advising on alternative use.
In 2010 I returned to Derbyshire and worked my way up to Associate Director and Partner for two leading firms before setting up Omeeto.
How did you find out about NBV?
I first found out about NBV via an online search for new business support. I was attracted to NBV as they gave clear advice on how to obtain an NBV Grant for New Business.
I applied and qualified for the NBV Grant for New Business and this has been a significant help in getting my new property platform off the ground.
How has the business adviser/mentoring support helped you?
I found that, despite COVID-19, my business advisor was accessible and provided the required support to help collate the relevant application data. My advisor was also sympathetic to the delays encountered in progressing the grant application as a result of COVID-19.
The grant has allowed Omeeto to launch online as a pioneering new property marketing platform.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to focus on delivering the best property marketing service to clients across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire via www.omeeto.co.uk. I hope to soon be in a position to recruit staff to help grow the business.
What have been the highs/lows of running or growing a business? Any tips or advice for others?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of launching a new company and would encourage anyone who has a similar entrepreneurial feeling to seek out the support that will help achieve your goals, particularly if you are looking to disrupt the market in your own industry – the challenges of COVID may bring many opportunities for those nimble enough seize the moment.
If you are interested in taking advantage of NBV’s Grant for Enterprise* you can read more about the terms & conditions of funding and fill out an Expression of Interest form here
*Subject to eligibility