Chris and Ritchie are back after a few busy weeks with episode 25. Within this episode they talk about their last few weeks of Serviced Accommodation Property Management, including: adding exciting new properties, renting furniture, day-to-day operations, cleaners quitting and properties being used as…. brothels?!?

Plus Chris & Ritchie talk about the new ventures of the business, and the book they are currently writing! The book is designed to cover all the information you would learn on an SA course but with much much more detail (and accuracy)!

Show Notes:
The Serviced Accommodation Podcast is a show brought to you by Chris Poulter and Ritchie Mazivanhanga aimed at new and experienced property investors alike. With each show we help you Start, Systemise and Scale your Serviced Accommodation Business.

If you would like to ask us a question or discuss anything in this episode, please join our Facebook group and ask away. To listen to more episodes or get more information go to www.thesapodcast.com.

 

Transcription:

Hi and welcome to the serviced accommodation podcast.

This is our 25th episode and we’re going to be talking about brothels, cleaners, our book  and why we’ve been extremely busy of late.

Firstly we would like to apologise sincerely about the delay in recording this episode. We did promise that we would be recording one every week for you. That was a pinky promise as well Chris, but we do sincerely apologise. It’s been a bit manic, it’s been a bit crazy in the business. Yeah it’s been good busy though, very busy so can’t complain on that end of the spectrum. But on the other end we didn’t deliver for you lovely people so we do apologise about that.

 

Today is Episode 25 of the podcast, they come by fast don’t they?

Well yeah I mean especially when you consider how few episodes we’ve had in the last three or four months!

 

They do keep coming and 25 already. Time has flown by hasn’t it?

We don’t tend to like talking about what we do. We don’t tend to talk about what we’re doing much really. We don’t like talking about ourselves really. Chris does but not me.

Today we’re going to be telling you about what we’ve been up to, why we’re so busy, we thought it would be really great to share what we’re doing with you.

 

I think it’s really useful you know obviously we’ve been up to some interesting stuff but I think it’s it’s kind of really useful. There’ll be lots of takeaways for people to kind of you know learn, understand some problems, get some ideas for their businesses, that kind of thing.

 

So first and foremost yeah what we’ve been to… we’ve been really busy on the management side of things because as you know that’s our main core business, the property management or SA management side of things.

 

So of course being busy generally means adding new properties. So we’ve we’ve just just finished our kind of final main batch for the year 2017. Now I say that because it’s quite a seasonal market with S.A. and you don’t necessarily want to be adding properties constantly through the year. So we tend to kind of bunch them up in a few different times of the year. So this is the main batch which we’ve just finished now and we’ll have a couple more properties actually coming on in dribs and drabs. Specifically because we have bookings already for them where customers have kind of asked us for a property which we’ve just happened to have a kind of matching property at a similar time but for the most part we do it in batches adding new properties and we tend to pick specific time of the year. So for instance our next batch is probably going to be towards the end of January, beginning of February just as the market started to pick up. That gives us a of time to get up and ready and then hit the market as it hits its stride right.

 

Yes having been in SA for a bit now we know the common trends and the seasonality in the market. So the timing is we pick are strategically picked and we don’t just pick random days to just clock them in but we know that December and January are usually quiet times of the year.

 

Yeah definitely. You know if you’re just adding one or two units at a time that’s less of an issue. But if you’re batching with larger units then it makes sense to get the timing right, exactly too big a risk anyway.

So yeah the latest batch of properties that we brought on line, a few interesting things there, a few learnings. Always learning!

 

You can have the systems in place have everything in place but yeah we’ve learnt a few things. Mostly on the furniture side of things now where we used to purchase furniture and kept the whole property out and that in itself is good because we get the choice of the stuff that you want but it’s really time consuming as an interior designer or the person who is buying the furniture picking the furniture design and then the delivery date to make sure there’s someone available and they have someone to set it all up so it is quite time consuming and it can be a massive cash outlay to begin with you know. So Chris, how do we overcome that now?

 

Yeah we’ve been hiring rather than purchasing the furniture recently. Now I should say that that’s very different from buying it on finance because you don’t have any kind of finance costs up front which can be rather significant. It doesn’t show on your credit record because you’re hiring them, you’re not taking on finance and it’s worked out really well for us.

I mean you pay basically quarterly rent in advance so three month rental payments to start off with. Then they come over and they come and deliver and install the furniture for you.

Now I think this is massively beneficial for two main reasons really. First of all it hugely reduces the amount of capital you need for a property, we were finding before for a two bed property we were maybe spending £2000-3000 or furnishings and for a similar amount but maybe spending you know £90 to 100 pounds a month renting it instead. So of course you’ve reduced potentially £3000 down to an initial maybe £300 even £270 prepayment. That’s a huge amount of less cash that you need and therefore essentially you can end up doing a lot more deals or if you’re looking at ROI on your cash then your ROI is going to be much much higher because the amount that your profits are going down is a hell of a lot less than the amount that your capital is going down.

Now the second reason I think this is worked out so well for us is because it’s actually really highly leveraged way of getting this set up. I mean first of all if you’re ordering furniture from multiple suppliers it can take quite a long time, you end up with delays in stock because stuff is out stock, you’ve got to wait a few weeks then you’ve got to have someone around for the deliveries and you’ve got all these different deliveries going on. Then you’ve got to have someone come and install the stuff so that can add to delay it adds an additional cost etc. etc. so it can be a real pain and what we found was renting the furniture is so much better because you book a delivery date, the guys come round, they set it all up for you and that’s actually the bulk of the set up done. You just need to do a little bit of the dressings, do the snagging and make sure there’s no issues around the property then it’s pretty much ready to let out.

So you know that’s a massive saving on time and energy in terms of getting a nice highly leveraged property set up, it means that realistically you can have a property set up in a couple of days to a week which is a lot lower timeframe than what we’re working on before.

So we’ve also been busy adding new properties. And when you have a management business and you’ve got a team in place doing things for you, it’s actually quite highly leveraged and you don’t really need to do a lot on a day to day basis really do you Ritchie?

 

No you don’t. Once in a while you do tend to get involved on a day to day operations. So I was on my way to a meeting and I received a phone call from a developer we work with and the gentleman phoned me and was like how are you doing, had a bit of a chatter with and he says the reason I’m phoning you today is not just for a catch up, it’s because we have had reports from people in this block that your property is being used for business. I was like oh no what’s going on? A brothel! Oh dear. So I then phoned up our property manager. He got in touch with some maintenance guys that we work with to see if they could go out there and none of our maintenance guys were available at all because they had commitments, one of them had a meal with his wife, his wife’s birthday so we couldn’t really quickly call him back from that!

The property manager called me back and let me know that none of these guys were available. And I asked him if he could go over there to the flat and he says yeah I’ll happily do that but I’m not going on my own you don’t know who’s going to be there. So he asked if I could go and help him out.

I’ll take you back a little bit with this particular booking. We had had these people try to book in to two of our properties and we picked up on their names and picked up that these people were most likely going to be prostitutes so my property manager who is the head of operations is the one who called again, he called booking.com and tried to cancel the booking and booking dot com would not cancel the booking because they said that he needed evidence of what he was accusing them of because they hadn’t been to the property and he tried to explain the name, what happened before in the past and they weren’t having it but he managed to have some luck by contacting the guests and asking the guests to cancel and he told them why he was asking them to cancel and they cancelled the booking. So they managed to squeeze into another property by using a fake name.

So when we turned up with the property manager, went upstairs as we were going into the house there was one of the ladies who was screaming down the phone to someone and I said to our property manager, lets just walk straight past them and go straight to our apartment. We got to the apartment and you know we’ve got the Yale keyless, we managed to open up the door, the first time my colleague put in the code incorrectly so he’d made a noise and then whilst doing that again we opened up the door and we were recording everything so that we would have the evidence for booking.com for next time. So whilst recording we open the door and lo and behold the person who has opened the door is barely dressed as they’ve just got two lots of clothing, two pieces of clothing. It was just like oh my goodness and they weren’t shocked to see us and they had a massive smile on their face, I don’t know if they thought punter’s or whatever but I was like as soon as I got in I was like please you need to go you need to leave now you need to go and she wasn’t speaking to English too well and so went to the living room there was someone else sat on the sofa who wasn’t dressed much either yeah she had more clothes on than the first person and then the first lady just kept walking around me. In the end it was just like please just go and get some clothes on and she didn’t understand what I was saying so I started using sign language like clothes, go put some clothes on and she went to the bedroom.

I’m there with the property manager and I went over to the other person we’d walked past on the way into the flat and called this person so I was speaking to them and asked them if they could leave, her English was a lot better and she was a bit mad. She goes yeah why are you why are you kicking me out of my flat. You can’t come into my house and kick me out of the house. I pay good money. You can’t come into the house and get me out. I’m sorry sorry first and foremost it’s not your flat, it’s not your apartment this is mine and you need to leave now. We were there for a little while, even called the ‘pimp’ who was downstairs. I went to meet up with him. No thank you, you guys need to go.

They had loads of stuff in the property as in they had moved in, they were there for a whole week and on day two, they had the fridge was full the cupboards were full of stuff, the wardrobes everything. They were also smoking in the flat which I wasn’t happy about. We asked them to leave and it took them an hour and a bit to pack up and leave and whilst all this was happening I was there, I had to delay my meeting, delay my meeting again and then reschedule it for another time because while I was there it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be because they go now, they’ll pack up and leave and then it then sinks in you’re dealing with human beings this is someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s mother. These are human beings at the end of the day and yeah the other lady started crying and saying you’ve well paid X amount of money you think you’ve got breached the terms and conditions and then you look at the reality of it. If they’re being trafficked here then they owe their person money and if this person’s paid £800 for the property then they need to pay their back in some way shape or form and the property manager, we helped them carry their bags downstairs, suitcases, massive suitcases property manager went over to the car where they were and he said when they drove off the gentleman who was driving drove and was sat in the front on his own and all three ladies were in the back seat. So obviously straight away body language you couldn’t tell us something’s wrong obviously they’re not happy but I was just hoping that they’ll be okay. As in seriously I felt for their well-being.

 

Yes that’s a problem really is that you can speak to the police and quite frankly they’re not interested, you know they don’t have the time or inclination to actually deal with it. So even though these are potentially people who’ve been trafficked into the country they just have no interest do they? And that’s kind of really bad because it’s essentially financial slavery isn’t it. They they have the physical freedom to kind of run away. So we’ve been trying to arrange something for a while now in terms of having an interview with the appropriate person at Scotland Yard to to actually help people understand what the law is around this, when you might accidentally be breaking the law and what you should actually be doing if you do end up with you know for instance groups of prostitutes in your apartment where it might potentially be human trafficking and unfortunately I think most people I’ve spoken to in Serviced Accommodation have had some kind of role in this which is why we think it’s such an important topic from an ethical point of view to kind of carry. Because if we can make even a little bit difference to these people’s lives then that’s going to have a big impact.

 

Away from all Romanian friends Ritchie, you also had to step in a little bit recently on the operational side of things when it came to cleaning and laundry didn’t you?

 

I don’t know why all this madness waited till you disappeared off on holiday to Barcelona. It was a working trip actually you know he was working but yeah he had some sunshine whilst I was dealing with this nonsense.

 

I think I might have been working but hey you know I’d take my week above your week right.

 

Yes that’s true you were in a lot more of a creative environment really.

 

So go on then tell us tell us what happened while I was away.

 

I received a phone call from head of operations, the property manager. The property manager he gave me a call and was like oh yeah I just received the text from our main cleaner and I asked what the text was about and he says that was just the one liner, a few words: I quit. I was like okay right. She quit and I was thinking no you can’t do that, you can’t just up and leave but yeah she had done so.

The thing is our cleaners are self-employed so they have cleaners that they manage within the cleaning team. But the thing is because they’re self employed, they’re not officially employed by us. Even if they were, they could quit.

There is no security around that. So yeah she just up and left and I said okay right. The major problem with that is that we can get other cleaners to cover the short term and then hopefully build relationships with others for the long term. But our cleaners do our laundry for us as well and she had batches of laundry and she quits on a Friday of all days.

 

Yeah when we have loads of changeovers coming through.

 

Yes loads of people, mainly contractors who stay with us Monday-Friday and then we’ve got the weekend people coming in on a Friday. So it is one of the busiest days of the week and yeah it was just ridiculous. Our property manager drove over, met up with her and he said he’s going to pick up the laundry. He phoned me after and he’s like well she didn’t give me all of it. I’ve got some wet stuff, some dirty stuff and a little bit of clean stuff. And I asked him why she hadn’t given him all the laundry and he said because she says we still owe her invoices, some unpaid invoices and I was like oh well it doesn’t make any sense as you’ve just quit your job, we haven’t fired you. So you can’t hold us to ransom, it didn’t make any sense at all. But that’s how other people think so we left it at that and we tried to sort that out. In the end I had to step in because property manager couldn’t get a hold of her all day. I had to go and meet up with them at their property. The other half came out a bit of a heated conversation mainly on his end, from his point of view I was just there listening to it I was recording the conversation because I had spoken to the police prior to going in there and the police had advised me of what to do step by step and I just followed the steps of the police.

So yeah and in the end it was a bit of an inconvenience inconvenient weekend cause we then had to do the laundry, take over to the launderette, wash stuff up, some stuff at the laundrette, that then prompted us to do something we’d been toying with for a while and was to approach a commercial laundry company and approach them to see how much they would charge to clean the laundry we had, to everything else and they worked out quite cheap, affordable very affordable and yeah we’re just like why hadn’t we done this in the past. But in the past we’d also looked at hiring linen from them and we had done this because we had loads of our own bedding our own towels, we were like yeah we’ve already bought this stuff. It just makes sense for them to clean it up as opposed to but yeah what we then worked out upon your return, did the figures and everything and it made more sense to actually hire the linen from the commercial standard grade linen from them. And so they’ll do the cleaning and we hire all the linen from them.

It was just fantastic and it made us, this experience in itself made us revise a lot of our processes and on the cleaning side of things, the cleaners we’ve got the best cleaners we were ever worked with now and they are fantastic but all they do is cleaning. You know we don’t have them doing our laundry as well. They do the cleaning, laundry company does what they’re good at cleaning their laundry and it’s really good quality as in yeah I was very impressed.

 

Yeah yeah with all commercial hotel grade stuff. It’s really interesting because you know we’ve crunched numbers on it before and it hadn’t quite made sense for the amount of effort was going to make change especially after we’re to put out the laundry that had a little on you know with the fourth change then it seemed the right timing to actually kind of jump into it really didn’t it.

And it is interesting because I mean the linen is very expensive you know for a two bed we’d normally talking £400-500 spend on linen whereas from the laundry company you can you can hire it for £20 a month and just think well that’s kind of a bit of a no brainer really because it’s a bit like hiring furniture, if it reduces the amount of capital you need to get into a deal then generally you can do more deals.

Absolutely. So that’s always going to be helpful. And you know I think another learning in and around it is within the risks of the business. You know I always talk about the risks of the model but there’s also a risk in the leverage which you have in the business and the people you have doing things.

So for instance if you’ve got a single property manager with no one else in your team. If they were to kind of up leave then that could potentially be very bad for your business right.

So again if you’re in that kind of situation you’ve got to know and appreciate what risks there is attached to it and kind of what can you do to mitigate that, can you bring in other people who also know how it works? Can you create operations manuals that someone can pick it up really quickly, you know how exactly are you going to kind of reduce that risk that there is to your company.

And I think what would be the situation which we had with the cleaners were doing the cleaning and laundry from a logistical point of view from a cost point of view when we set it up it was certainly the right choice but it may be we haven’t looked at the risk angle of that in terms of but what’s the risk of having it all dependent on one person. You know if they don’t turn up, we’ve got a backup stock you know so we’d kind of taken that into account. Okay so we’ve got a backup stock, we’ve got back up cleaning company is on call ready to work at very short notice so we’ve kind of covered our risk off there but we haven’t really covered off the risk of was someone basically walking away completely with our stuff and you know what is the risk. Well you know it’s hard to say isn’t it but it happened so I think there are a few important learnings here and one the reasons why we just wanted to share it with you guys.

So we’ve also been busy having a look within our own business really and looking at our kind of plans for expansion because certainly when we started our management business albeit turn of the year kind of thing we always had the ambition to grow it to a couple of hundred units. But having looked at kind of what we’re doing and where we want to go it started to make kind of less and less sense to do it that way.

 

Yeah because that was a couple of hundred units in and around the country nationally.

 

Exactly yeah exactly. You know actually having been in S.A. a few years now I kind of look at that and go that’s probably my worst nightmare. You know, if you look at it you know for instance the logistical issues we’ve had just in one area, Southampton, in the space of a couple of weeks was first you know turfing out prostitutes then you know having to sort out the cleaning and laundry issues. Now if you had that going on weekly in different cities you know I just think that would be an absolute nightmare.

Now I mean I don’t think we’ve we’ve really talked about our vision in terms of what we’re doing in property or where we’re looking to go before on the podcast but certainly mine and Ritchie’s vision within property within five years or so to almost be working more as kind of property venture capitalists if you like you know where we’re bringing that high level kind of strategy and management teams and finance teams to businesses so that we’re working with people who we like and get on with really well who have really interesting models that we can really help expand and grow it to a much larger level than what they’d be able to on their own.

And that’s a very much a passion for us just because we we both love the strategy side of things which mainly comes from me and we love working with people side of thing which comes from Ritchie you know and those things come together very well with this whole property venture capitalist model. But at the same time if you look at that as your end goal and you’re also looking at growing a business yourself with a couple of hundred units in it then it starts to kind of not really make sense because obviously when you’re working in the way we’re going to be are in terms of working on these top levels of the businesses, you’re not necessarily going to be doing a lot of the kind of nitty gritty execution that you need to do to grow that business to that level. So it suddenly became clear that well you know if that’s the way that we want to do going forward, we want to grow and expand through working with other people and working together in kind of equity relationships and businesses. Then why aren’t we just doing that now as opposed to kind of learning an entire skill set which is going to be redundant in a few years time.

So it’s kind of caused us to really think and have a look at it and we kind of know the kind of number we’re comfortable now within our business but we also know that that’s essentially confined to the Southampton area right.

 

Yes it is. That’s the area we know and like.

 

Yeah yeah. I mean we know it like the back of our hands and so to some extent it makes massive amounts of sense you know whenever we’ve kind of gone into a new area we’ve spent days researching, understanding the markets, feasibility studies yeah very detailed my twenty eight page feasibility study. And yet after all that work you still don’t know a market as well as if you had a couple of units up and running for a couple of months. Absolutely as you say, you know there’s still assumptions and then they could be wrong. That’s why we test the models.

 

Yes. So in Southampton we know we’ve tested our models left, right and center.

 

We know what works. We know doesn’t and so you know it just makes sense for us within our own business to kind of stay in the area that we know so well and kind of grow to a point that we feel comfortable and sustainable.

Now. Beyond that we’ve been looking at then okay about how to create the business beyond that and really it’s just looking at the areas which we are very very good at and how can we expand that. So the things around strategy and the systemization particularly and some of the systemization we’ve done in the business has really are given us a competitive edge in terms of the level of service which we’re able to deliver and the cost we’re able to deliver it for so instead of kind of expanding the entire business including all the operational side of stuff which me and Ritchie would both be the first to admit it’s not our strong point. Instead taking taking the kind of bits of it which we are really really good at and expanding our business through that but working with other people to do it. I think over the course of the next six to 12 months we’re going to have businesses coming out which are going to be doing things like providing the whole end to end guest communication cycle. So essentially a call centre based business where we’re doing the initial calls with people, we’re making sure everyone is happy, we’re dealing with incoming calls when there’s problems, we’re taking payment from people, we’re doing review management ensuring that we’re getting reviews from people, Net Promoter Score. Essentially the entire lifecycle of the kind of guest communications because you know one consistent thing that we see is that everyone out there trying to do exactly the same thing and it’s very costly because of that because you know everyone would love to have a 24 hour team they’ve trained ready to answer calls but no one can afford to do it. But if we all club together and work together like that then actually not only can we have a better quality of service but it’ll cost less as well.

So you know the initial businesses we’re looking at are that, we’re also looking at a kind of bookkeeping business which isn’t just about putting the systems in place and getting the books reconciled but also about providing that kind of level of insight you normally get through a financial director. So someone who can actually look at the reports and interpret them and tell you what they mean because not everyone can read and understand a PNL and you know I’m very experienced in bookkeeping and business. I still get a lot of insight from working with a financial director so they’re able to kind of look at it and say okay you need to watch this, this is potentially problematic or you need to set aside some cash for x y z or this is working really well is there any way that you can expand at this. So again very high value stuff bringing to people. So again we thought would be really interesting to share with you because one of the things we always talk about is keeping an eye on the you know, keeping a laser focus really is there on what you’re actually looking to achieve from this and is what you’re doing at any one time going to pull you away from that.

And I think you know even for us it’s very easy to kind of get into the kind of activities of your business albeit on a high level and kind of lose focus on exactly what it is that you’re looking to achieve.

So when we went back to it when we did a strategy review amongst ourselves within the business, working with a team to work out exactly what we were looking to achieve. It became clear very quickly that this is the route which we wanted to go down with what we’re doing.

 

Yeah it’s always good to have that higher level view of your business.

 

I mean it changed a lot you know a lot of the things we were doing and how we’re doing them and now it’s going to be a lot easier to achieve our personal goals using this type of strategy than it would have been before and that for me is the key about this you know strategic plan and putting that together it’s about making sure that it’s laser precise around helping you achieve what you want to. Otherwise you just can be very busy but you’re not going to get any personal gratification out at the end.

So we’ve just got a few more bits to update you with as I said we have been very busy. One of the things which has been going on for a while now but you may not be aware of is we are writing a book aren’t we Ritchie?

So the book is essentially designed to be a complete course replacement book. You know as in all the information you might learn on a course but more and in more detail and accurate. Especially when it comes to things like planning for instance which you know haven’t always been taught in the most accurate manner in the past I’ll be honest and I think it’s really important because we have a firm belief that information should be free. Now we’d love to print a book and distribute it to people free of charge but obviously that’s not really feasible so we’ll alter this to say free or extremely low cost.

 

You know it is how it is, I mean I think it’s crazy to be paying thousand pounds for a course and I think that information should be available to people. So yeah for us we’re quite happy to put together a real definitive guide in book form and let people have that at very low cost. Like I said, we have been doing it for a little while now. We are actually about 30,000 words in which it probably actually about the length of your average property book. However of course we are not your average property people. So with everything that we want to get into it realistically we think it’s going to be about seventy or eighty thousand words which is a lot!

A lot of reading and a lot of writing for us. So we don’t think it’s going to be out any time soon. The first draft I’m still hoping to have completed by the end of 2017 but I’m having to set aside some serious time to get that done but then the kind of editing process. I’ve never written a book before but I understand that that can take longer than writing the book itself. So we’re hoping that by the end of February, early March the book should be ready. It’s something we’re really excited about because like I say for me it should be a complete game changer in terms of the level and quality of information at this price point and it absolutely perfectly fits with our philosophy of how we want to be able to help people.

So alongside the book we’re going to look at what other ways we can be helping people and we’ve spent thousands of pounds getting our contracts right, working with consultants to make sure we’ve got our legal risk covered in our terms and conditions, all these different areas which actually have a lot of value to people and we share a lot of these things with are clients on the consultancy and mastermind groups so we kind of understand the value behind it but we’ve never really done anything with it yet. I think at some point again we’re going to have a very very very low cost way of getting access to all these tools through your business, things which will save you you know either lots in legal fees or even lots when it all goes wrong. That’s not a fun position to be in and you know joking aside it’s something that I see first hand, not in our properties obviously but at least once a month with our clients is a property being returned and issues around contracts or legalities really cause problems with doing that smoothly.

So it is a very important thing and you know it’s something that we’re going to be working on along with some maybe some very very very detailed guides on things like bookkeeping, you know step by step videos manuals even just showing you exactly how to get it all set up and systemised because again I think that’s a real weakness for a lot of people in terms of how do we make sure that we’ve got everything down comprehensively stored in one place you know, no paper format for instance and that you’re able to kind of then produce these reports which are really so insightful about business

 

We’ll also be looking at things like revenue management because we do have some people that have spoken about inbuilt revenue management systems within like Kigo.

 

Yeah yeah absolutely which is basic to say the least. I mean it’s good, it’s better than not using anything at all for sure but compared to a human being doing someone who understands the market and can apply judgment and can understand positioning then I don’t think it really has the same impact at all. So yeah like you say revenue management is another areas where we’ve got a lot of high level and immediate value. But you know I still kind of blown away by a couple of guys we work with did a bit of work with revenue management for them and it was £4k on their profit line the next month wasn’t it, their profit not turnover you know and so that’s the thing. These things could just have an immediate impact on what you’re doing straightaway. And so we’d love to be able to help as many of you if possible with it.

So now Ritchie mentioned Barcelona earlier and it was a working trip. Honestly it was working very hard checking out all the local Michelin star restaurants.

So I mean we’re in the process of pulling together a retreat in Barcelona which is looking at well of course with the high level strategy behind a serviced accommodation business, exactly what it is that you’re looking to achieve, how are you looking to achieve it and what steps you need to take along the way to get there.

 

So effectively a business blueprint.

 

Yes, that’s what we’re doing we’re kind of building a business blueprint in Barcelona with six different businesses. We feel like the environment’s really important. So we’re staying in a phenomenal apartment out there each year. You know I think they said Harrison Ford stays there when he goes to Barcelona and it if it’s good enough for him then it’s good enough for me but really beautiful apartment.

 

We’ve got a kind of wine tasting booked, we’ve got a Michelin star lunches, tapas in the evenings. We’ve got an absolutely amazing kind of experience lined up not just a retreat and really really looking forward to it. And if you’re thinking oh that sounds great how do I sign up? I’m sorry guys are we really don’t mean to tease but it is something that we’re only working with with with our existing clients from the mastermind groups from one to one consulting so you know it’s just a really exciting concept and we wanted to share it with you as well.

 

We’re looking forward to it. Never been to Barca before so.

 

Yeah it’s amazing because it’s one of those cities where I think everyone I’ve said Barcelona to has said oh we really love, just everyone seems really passionate about it.

 

Other than that we haven’t been up to much. The only other thing we’ve been doing recently is just setting up our last ever new mastermind groups, one in Leeds and one in Southampton. And then once those are running that’s it for us, it’s just existing groups because we only have so many hours in a month and obviously it’s always been really important to us that while we help other people with serviced accommodation we’re not trainers, we don’t want to be trainers we don’t want to get drawn into the whole kind of ticket sales, false claims and that kind of thing. So it’s really important for us that we are first and foremost SA operators you know. So yeah we’re looking forward to working with a few more people in Southampton and Leeds as well.

 

And staying hot on what we do.

 

Exactly exactly. By having a finger on the pulse and be actively doing it on a day to day basis. So I hope there’s been a lot that you can take value from this episode. What we tend to find is that when we run our mastermind groups, we do give people a kind of brief overview a little bit like this in terms of what we’ve been up to over the last month and people generally find it very valuable which is why when we were talking about what can we do for our 25th episode. We thought well actually you know it’s been a little while. We think it would help people to understand why there’s been a little gap but also add a lot of value to people.

So yeah we really hope you found that useful and this time we do promise we’re going to have an episode every week.

 

Definitely yeah. You do not hold us accountable.

Excellent. Thank you for listening.

Thanks a lot. Take care.

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