Suits Come To You

Here’s something I can really relate to. The men’s fashion market is growing at a faster rate than the women’s, but men are lazy shoppers. They’ll spend money, just so long as the process isn’t too difficult or time consuming. And once they’ve found something they like, they’re loyal – probably because they’re too lazy to look for anything else. This is me!

Edit Suits is attempting to take advantage of these facts, Through the company website, you can book an appointment for a representative to measure you up at your home or office. There’s no obligation to buy, but afterwards you can browse the styles and designs online and then use your account to get exactly the right fit.

So now you know that men are lazy but loyal shoppers, how can you take advantage of this? What can you do to make it easier for men to give you their money? Get it right and you could have a customer for life.

Art Lovers Trip

Luxury  magazine Veryfirstto has created a holiday with a difference. It’s a trip that takes in 12 locations of famous paintings from around the world. Everything from the mountains of Saint Victorie painted by Cezanne right through to Garrowby Hill in Yorkshire, painted by David Hockney. The trip gives art lovers an insight into what inspired the great artists they admire. And perhaps the trip itself will inspire you to come up with an interesting business idea.

The demand for bespoke and personalised trips is growing. If a trip for art lovers is viable, how  about one aimed to cater for other enthusiasms and interests. Might well-heeled football fans enjoy a tour of the great stadiums of the world for example? Or how about a tour of famous film locations for movie buffs? The possibilities are almost endless.

Property Alert 16th September

Spain – Round The Regions

Our friends at upmarket agents Lucas Fox offer a quick overview of some ‘ones to watch’ markets. Barcelona? ‘The Barcelona market has continued to improve in the first two quarters of 2014 and there is a great deal more confidence amongst buyers, in particular international buyers. It
looks like prices have now stabilised and the number of transactions is slowly increasing. The big change is that sellers are being more realistic and that asking prices have come down in line with buyer expectations.’

Costa Brava? ‘The recovery continues to gain traction in the Costa Brava with an increase in sales activity over the same period in 2013. The market is still almost exclusively driven by international investment, predominantly private investors from northern and eastern Europe attracted by the increasingly competitive property prices in prime coastal areas.’

Marbella? ‘The positive trend of steadily increasing numbers of property transactions that started in the latter part of 2012 has continued during the first half of 2014. Most of the transactions are still focused on prime locations such as near to Marbella, Puerto Banús and close to the beach.’

Mallorca? ‘We are experiencing an increase in demand for small country houses. Many buyers and investors purchase property with the intention of renting their detached country houses in the holiday rental market. Summer villas in developed areas in South West Mallorca are also
selling well: mostly between €1.5 million and €2.5 million.’

Ibiza? ‘The continued appeal of Ibiza is most definitely its unique lifestyle. More people are choosing to relocate to the island due to good schools (including international schools), outstanding properties and the exceptional quality of life. The island now offers 4G internet and better flight connections year round. Interest from Europeans is
still high but demand has significantly increased from the Asian market, mainly Korean and Chinese buyers. There has also been a rise in interest from American investors.’ Looking at Spain? Tell us where for more detailed news.

Miami – News & Visit

According to the Miami Association of Realtors, there is still strong demand from both domestic and foreign buyers, especially for new construction properties. Median sale prices rose for both single-family homes and condominiums in July. The median sale price for single-family homes increased 11.3 per cent, up to $255,950 from $230,000 in July 2013. The median sale price for single-family homes increased 19.7 per cent from $406,532 in July 2013 to $486,820 in July 2014.

‘Demand for Miami housing continues to strengthen, as evidenced by rising prices and rapid sales Condominium resales in Miami are being impacted by all of the new and pre-construction projects now being marketed – and there are actually more sales and contracts when both the new and resale condominiums are added.’

‘We expect the current momentum of the Miami real estate market to continue as job growth and other economic factors improve. Miami remains a leading global city and destination, and our real estate market plays a major role in this reality.  Miami also remains a focal point for both U.S. and foreign buyers, investors, tourists and business, a fact that will continue to fuel demand for local housing and properties.’ We are planning a visit for the second week of
October. More to follow.

Euro Hotspots

Foreign exchange specialists HiFX tell us that France and Spain remain the main destinations for Brits buying in Europe. About one third go for France, one third go for Spain and one third go for the rest of the countries.

‘It’s no surprise France remains a firm favourite with Brits as it ticks all the right boxes. Borrowing costs have tumbled in recent months and mortgage rates are at their lowest in years. Affordability has also been boosted by a slower property market as worries remain that France may well be lagging the rest of the Eurozone in terms of economic growth.’

‘Spain continues to attract those who are hoping to take advantage of depressed property prices. The average property price in the country is down almost 30 per cent since the market peaked in 2007, and while there are discounts to be had buyers need to pick carefully.’

Indie Exercise

For most of us, exercise classes are no fun, and they’re even less fun if you have to do them in silence. But not everyone is a fan of the thumping dance music which is standard fare in most gyms these days. The Fit Sessions offer an alternative. For £6 a session you  can take part in a guided fitness class to a playlist that includes indie  music from The Happy Mondays, Oasis, New Order and The Smiths.

There are a couple of things to take from this I think:

1 There are always groups of people for whom the standard offering in a market isn’t quite right. Correspondingly, there are opportunities to make money by catering for these groups.

2. The fitness industry is constantly evolving and people are hungry for the ‘next thing’. That could be a new exercise programme, but equally it could be a change to some other aspect of the service on offer. That could be the music, but it could also be the location, the lighting (or lack of it!) the temperature, the clothing, the type of instructors – even the smell of the premises.

Give it some thought!

The Mobile Free Zone

I’m in two minds when I see a family or other group sitting in a restaurant, each member engrossed in their own mobile phone. On the one hand, I think they should have their phones confiscated for the duration of the meal, but on the other I feel they should be physically dragged out onto the street and then hosed down with water cannon.. You may guess from this that I find it a little irritating, which is why I was interested to read of a temporary initiative at the Chinatown experiment in Vancouver.

The Faraday café has been constructed in such a way that all phone and wifi signals are blocked. I don’t understand the science, but the name is a clue  – a  Faraday cage has been constructed which blocks the signals. The hope is that the lack of  mobile access will encourage people to talk to each other for a change.

I’m not suggesting you go to the trouble of creating a physical barrier to mobile signals, but I do believe we will soon experience a significant backlash to the presence of smartphones in every area of life. By taking the lead, and banning mobile devices from your  shop, restaurant, café, bar or other premises, you could get some valuable free publicity and be surprised to find that a lot of existing and prospective customers find it to be a desirable development.

Ebay Selling Secrets

If you’re going to sell products on eBay, the first rule is to make sure that you’re selling the right thing. And what’s the right thing? Well that’s a complex issue, but the starting point should be…something that people actually want. That sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people get excited about an idea or product and don’t stop to think about the market. But how do you know for sure?

Well here’s a list of the Top 10 items searched for on eBay…

1.    Big Brand Consumer Technology (Apple, Sony etc)
2.    On Trend Fashion Items
3.    Watches
4.    Vintage
5.    Lego
6.    Chest Of Drawers
7.    Garden Furniture
8.    Bikes
9.    Shoes
10.  Curtains

Painting The Grass Green

While watching the recent World Cup in Brazil,  it was evident that grass on some of the pitches, which was in poor condition a few days before the tournament, was miraculously transformed come kick off. The media were quick to expose the secret – the grass had been painted!

I did a little research into this and found that it’s pretty big business in North and South America, where long dry spells can leave grass looking brown. There are franchise opportunities in the United States which help people get started in the grass painting business, but how hard can it be?

I know we don’t have the same climatic conditions here in the UK, but there are plenty of situations where greener grass would be desirable, and where weather, animal urine or footfall has rendered the surface less than perfect. I’m thinking about sports stadiums, golf courses, public parks and gardens, and even private gardens where there is a party, wedding or other event. I wonder whether there’s a market for an ‘Emergency Grass Repair’ Service?

If you want to look into this, the following company seem to offer the paint products you need.

http://www.naturalgreengrasspatch.co.uk/

The In-Flight Kitchen

I hate both flying and aeroplane food, so I’m probably not a good person to judge the potential of A380 In-Flight Kitchen, a restaurant based on the layout and cuisine of the A380 Airbus – the largest airliner in the world.  The waitresses are dressed as stewardesses and the interior looks just like the inside of a plane.

It’s not somewhere I would frequent, even if they gave me a free sick bag, but it’s an interesting concept which might appeal to a lot of people. Perhaps something to investigate further with a view to either copying the idea in your location, or using it as a mental springboard for discovering other viable restaurant concepts.

Customised Social Media

Companies of all types and sizes are under pressure to create social media content, but many have neither the time nor inclination to do it themselves. That’s where Emphatic (www.emphatic.co) come in. It’s a new service that  creates custom social media content for small businesses. They write Twitter tweets and Facebook updates for companies without requiring much in the way of time and energy from the companies themselves. Emphatic is a U.S based service and prices start at starts at $99 per month for 50 tweets or Facebook updates and goes up from there.

The potential market for this is obviously way beyond what any one company can hope to cater for. Might there be an opportunity here in the UK? I see no reason why not.

Modern Day Billy Casper

One of my favourite films ever is Kes, the story of a working class boy , Billy Casper, who adopts and trains a Kestrel. I was therefore interested to hear about Peter Wright from Denbighshire who has become the youngest professional falconer in the UK after receiving  government  grant to start his business. Peter was just 15 when he received the grant.

Falconry isn’t something to be taken lightly, but there are a surprising number of opportunities. Birds of prey are used in pest control, in falconry displays and have even been trained to deliver wedding rings to the best man at outdoor ceremonies. If you like animals and would like a business with a difference, this could warrant further investigation.