Name: Tristan Woolfenden
Company: Branocs Estates
Position in company: Director
Starting any new business is an often difficult move with risks attached, but when you are attempting to take on some established big players on their own turf and change the way they do business, it becomes something else. It becomes a brave thing to do.
Tristan Woolfenden had some experience in property before he started Branocs Estates. He had previously worked for a large independent estate, managing a portfolio of property for one individual client. After eight years in the role he wanted a new challenge, and having suffered from the odd bad experience with other agencies in his industry, he took the decision to setup his own Residential Estate Agency to try and put his own stamp on the local property market.
From the start he aimed to offer landlords and homeowners a different approach based on honesty, and transparency, away from what he felt was the typical estate agency stereotype.
The biggest challenge he said he faced was getting his branding out there and creating his own reputation. He originally started the business working from home, so not having a high street office or a presence in the town was a big challenge, but through good marketing, lots of leaflet drops, and word of mouth, he gradually began to pickup more sale and letting instructions, which eventually lead to further business.
But, if his business was beginning to take off, why did he need Ignite’s services?
“I originally approached Ignite Business for an impartial consultation on how to grow my business further, and to discuss moving onto the next stage of finding a premises and working within the spotlight of the public eye.” Tristan said. “Liz was very helpful and suggested we should make a customer charter, essentially a list of pledges to our clients on how we would treat them and what we offer that is different from the many other estate agents in our area. This proved to be really successful and clients bought into the idea of us making a list of standard promises to them before they instruct us to act for them. To this day, that same charter is present on our website and within our office.”
In addition to the customer charter, dealing with Ignite opened his business to many new potential clients including local authority members, and also helped him network with other businesses who were once new and in the same position as him.
A few months after his initial consultation, Ignite offered him the chance to secure a place within the Corner House, Braintree, which gave Branocs Estates a premises to work from which had its own shop front and space to invite clients. They moved into The Corner House in January 2015 and have never looked back.
Since they made that move as they have grown from being a small startup to being within the top 3 agents in the local area for the most number of Sold Property in the region (according to Rightmove statistics in Sept 2015). Now a prominent high street name within the local property market and amongst homeowners within the Braintree district, they also work for one of the UK’s largest property developers selling new build apartments, and managing rental stock. In August 2015, with all of this extra activity, they reached the point of having to become VAT registered, and their first year accounts showed a small profit.
Tristan said: “We were delighted with this considering many new start ups do not show a profit in their first 3 years.” He continued: “The best advice I can give to anyone thinking of starting their own business is to firstly speak to Ignite (!!), secondly have confidence, believe in what you are doing, do not be phased by competitors no matter how big or small they may be. Every business in the land was once a start-up company, and from our first year experience we have learnt that clients often prefer the smaller, more personal businesses to the larger, less personal ones.”
They say that fortune favours the brave and Branocs Estates are starting to see many a sold sign that this phrase is true. They have gone from being an idealist’s idea to a household hope and they are now approaching being a High Street heavyweight, which is sending ripples throughout its industry.
Tel 01376 386555