Consistency, persistence and attention to detail – the keys to success.

I recently read this article at http://www.realtor.org/rmobrokers/articles/2008/brokersnicheplayers0708 which I thought was fantastic. It so simply demonstrates many of the core benefits of implementing software into a real estate agency – consistency and detail. The author Robert Freedman refers to consistency, persistence and attention to detail as being ways for a small agency to complete against larger competitors. This is certainly the case, although every business, large or small, should be trying to adhere to these ideals.

In our business we talk about ‘sophisticated users’. These are not necessarily large or small businesses, but they are businesses that see that technology can give them a competitive advantage and are prepared to invest the resources to make it happen. It is very important that real estate agencies understand that these two items are intimately connected. Getting the very best software solution is the start, but you then need to ensure that you use it. Smart operators know that every day they need to be reviewing and pushing the boundaries of what they can get from their software. This can be frustrating, as in some cases the software will simply not be able to do what is asked of it, however this is where a great relationship with your software vendor comes into play. This is when a phone call to your software vendor with some gentle suggestions on improvements to the software is warranted.

We love these phone calls in our business. This is when we get a better understanding of what our software can or can not do. It is an opportunity for us to make our software better, and after all, that is what we are all about. The satifaction we get is from knowing that our software is making a real difference in the lives of our clients and their staff.

To ensure that we respond to customer requests as quickly as possible, Brightfox provides Software Assurance with foxEnterprise, our leading software. This enables our clients to upgrade to the latest release which occurs every 3 months. These regular releases give us the opportunity to rapidly release new functionality to our clients, rather than having to wait 1 to 2 years for the next major upgrade which is the norm in the software industry of course.

Cityscape 2008 – over 81,000 people attend – now that is busy!

Phew! That is about all I can say really. We exhibited at Cityscape Dubai for the 3rd year running and it was as busy as ever – well far more busy really. Over 81,000 people attended according to the organisers, and I must say I can’t disagree. The crowds were quite extraordinary.

It was a big and outrageous as ever, with amazing stands from the large GCC developers. Nakhel stand was a stand out as it normally is. I heard mentiion that it cost 8 million dirhams and I can believe that. The scale of the models and integrated audio visual is by far the bext I have seen.

It was great to catch up with so many of our customers and to have the chance to overview much of the new functionality we have been building into foxEnterprise over the past 6 months.

Just two of the most exciting for our GCC customers was the full unicode support that is being released shortly (enabling Arabic to be used within the software – not to mention other languages in the region) and of course our automated payment plan reminders – including automated emails.

I also have to welcome a new staff member for our Dubai office, Jasmine Malhotra. Welcome aboard. We are all looking forward to working with you and to continue making a difference for our clients.

Oryx Real Estate Website wins CNBC award for best real estate website!

We are proud to announce that Oryx Corporation have won the prestigious CNBC Award for Best Real Estate Website for the Middle East. The Oryx Corporation website (www.oryxrealestate.com) incorporates many of the latest Web 2.0 features such as Podcasts, Blogs, RSS, as well as some fantastic improvements on the traditional property website features. For example, their preferred projects section is really quite extraordinary. The effort taken to present these select projects is 2nd to none – particularly for an estate agency.

In addition the Dubai Life magazine is also a very interesting attempt to take a quite quality glossy magazine online. Incorporating editorial and listing, it is a unique experience and one that I think has the potential to extend even further how the interent is used by real estate agents around the world.

Congradulations to our team of designers and developers. This is a fantastic example of the high quality work both Brightfox and our network of Certified Partners do, and it is great to see the client winning awards for our work.

Cityscape Dubai Oct 2008

Every year we exhibit at Cityscape Dubai, with this years exhibition due to start shortly.

As the largest property exhibition in the world for property professionals it is a huge show. This year they are expecting over 60,000 people!

For any of our clients that will be attending Cityscape Dubai, please let us know that you will be coming as we would be more than happy to help show you around and give you some ‘inside’ knoweldge on the UAE market.

YouTube and Facebook latest weapons in property market

This is an interesting article in The Sunday Mail, a Queensland newspaper. Light on details but it does show that Australian agents are becoming more innovative online.

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,20797,24117506-8362,00.html?from=public_rss

Whilst Australian agents are good adopters of technology in general, suprising I have found them quite resistent to the use of web 2.0 technologies. For example, there really are very few australian agents who run a blog. When compared to the USA for example, the adoption of these technologies in Australia is very slow, and yet subscription to portals and the general realisation of the value of technology to an agency is in general very high.

As we do business around the world I am constantly impressed with the relative sophistication of agencies in Australia. I think it would be fair to say that Australian agentcies are perhaps 2nd to the USA is adoption and use of technology, but also in the professionalism of the way that real estate agencies are run. I am not sure of the reason why they are so slow to adopt web 2.0 technologies, but one thing is for sure. If Australian agents do not start to seriously look at these technologies, over the next few years they will no longer be world leaders.

Brightfox Australian Office Moves

 
It’s been a busy week for the Brightfox Australian office in Queensland, with the move to a shiny new premises in Brisbane.

The office is now located at Level 2/ 320 Adelaide Street, Brisbane QLD 4000.

All phone numbers have remained the same.

 

Brightfox Attends AREC08 Exhibition

The AREC exhibition was held again this year on the 25th and 26th of May at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

AREC08 – also known as the Australasian Real Estate Conference 2008 was a sold out event, with 2,500 real estate business owners, elite sales people and property managers, from around Australia attending.  The event incorporated business management, sales and property management together under the one umbrella.

Brightfox was privileged to be an exhibitor at the event, and found it a great experience overall.  Not only were we able to meet up with many of our industry leading clients, but received an incredibly strong response from our booth, with several new clients coming on board.

We look forward to taking part next year.

Myhome.com.au shutting down!

It was reported on the weekend that myhome.com.au us planning to shut down. You can see the full Fin Review article here: My Home Article

Many people will speculate why myhome.com.au failed. It seemed to having everything a portal needs, serious backers, serious money and serious people – or at least people with experience in the sector.

So why did it fail? Very simple in my view. They simply just did not offer anything different to the existing major players – www.realestate.com.au and www.domain.com.au, and it could be argued that what they offered was actually inferior.

My previous blog on the new portal www.onthehouse.com.au really said it all – to be competitive as a new portal you need to offer the consumer something more, something different to acquire customer share and loyalty. Without it, the portal will just be a money pit – like www.myhome.com.au.

So why did it fail? Extremely poor strategic design of the site and supporting services. They just quite frankly got it wrong from the start.