The amount of work that you need to accomplish to close a big deal is the same as for a small one. Therefore, to earn on small and medium sized deals you must cut off most of the spending that classical real estate agencies have.
In a classical real estate agency when potential leaser contacts with a real estate agent, he starts to collect all information of desired office. Usually he does it by calling each of the business centres directly. After he gathers all information, he manually creates a presentation or even writes a text email to potential leaser where he describes all variants. After that he schedules a meeting between leaser and landlord. What is more, he accompanies meetings at business centres personally. Most of leasers before taking a final decision want to view several office spaces to compare different variants. Every leaser knows that it is a huge headache to move from one big office to another. So they carefully evaluate all variants and are always very attentive about all aspects of a new office.
In our company potential leasers look through our site and compare different variants of desired offices. As soon as we gather on our web-site as much business centres as possible, every leaser can take deliberate decision from a birds-eye view on the office market. What is more, a potential leaser can schedule a meeting with a landlord even without a call, just through a form on the site. After he books a meeting we send him an SMS confirming his arrangement. Moreover, we close particularly) all deals remotely. We write our own CMS that improves all aspects of our business-model. In the CMS we can easily see at a glance what is going on with each leaser who contacted us. In addition, we use a voice over IP technology, which helps us hire remote workers. Remote workers cost less and as we have our CRM we can be sure that they follow quality standards of the company. In some cases a potential leaser might want to receive a presentation with office options in it; we can generate a professional presentations in several seconds.
Nowadays we operate in two Russian cities — Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Once we had opened offices in those two cities we faced a growth problem. All other big cities in Russia are too small for our business model. So I decided to look at European office markets and started to collect information about them.
In September of 2015 we started working on a new company called — LavishShoestring.com. In LS we help people from over the world buy vintage and antique homewares without a hassle. We have a warehouse in a small village close to Oxford, and we develop IT infrastructure and work on marketing from Saint Petersburg. I want to tell a whole story about how we started working on LS and what milestones we have already passed. But at the beginning I would like to tell you a little bit more about who I am.
I co-founded Biz-cen.ru in 2011, service that helps potential leasers find an office space without spending to much time on this task. On our web-site potential leasers can set-up parameters of desired office and immediately get a list of free spaces. All information is presented in a very consistent way: for each business-centre we create a mini-web site, take professional photos of interior and exterior, gather information about infrastructure objects and draw floor plans where we mark free offices. What is more, we consistently update information about free offices.
There were several huge real estate international companies that operated on the office market in Saint Petersburg. Today they act the same way as they did in 2011: they work only with clients who are looking for huge office spaces, mostly because if they close a huge deal they earn a bigger commission. But there is a limited amount of clients who are seeking for big offices. There are much more clients who want smaller offices. If you use old fashioned methods, like holding a lot of meetings between leaser and landlords, you will spend quite the same time on closing deal on a small office as or a big one. You need to have far different business processes in your company than international companies have. So we built them mostly by using automation in different part of our business.