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For business owners, location plays a vital role in its operation. Sometimes, businesses have to operate within a specific location, for example to support clients. However, on occasion, the location of the business’ office isn’t always critical to its day-to-day running.
Peter Jenkins, Managing Director and owner of Lincoln-based Sun-hat Villas & Resorts, specialists in luxury Algarve villas, shares his thoughts on why working and living in the city matter a great deal to him.
Any successful business is only as good as the people who work there. They’re the face of the business, providing a friendly and sometimes reassuring voice on the phone for the customer. We know that organising can sometimes be particularly stressful with all the moving parts involved, so our team has to be on-hand to calm any potential fears, as well as offer helpful and relevant advice when needed.
We’ve been fortunate enough to recruit well from the local area, something which has often made the decision process tough due to the calibre of the candidates. We were delighted when one of our longest-serving team members, Ann Evison, won employee of the year at the 2017 Lincolnshire Business Awards; a great achievement for one of our hardest-working and friendliest colleagues. She definitely leads by example!
Affordable office space
As a business that deals exclusively in customer service via phone and email (in the UK anyway), our physical office location almost doesn’t matter, especially to the customer. In the Algarve for example, we have representatives who meet our customers in the villas, and many of our office-based team do the same on quarterly secondments.
However, for the ongoing running of the business, we need a location that’s accessible, affordable and offers space to grow. By comparison to other cities, our office-space at Greetwell Place is extremely cost effective, with all the benefits of an office in any other city, at a fraction of the price. The friendly faces on reception make it a lovely place to work, with suitable amenities including ample meeting room space.
Connectivity, in our view, should be treated on an equal footing as physical infrastructure. That connection to our customers over phone and emails, and via our website, is absolutely critical to our day-to-day running. We need to be on-hand to quickly answer queries, solve the odd problem and talk to our suppliers and partners. As I mentioned, with a number of the team based abroad, we have regular Skype-meetings, which make everything so much easier. They still feel part of the team through these ‘face-to-face’ meetings and our business runs much smoother because of it.
Education and up-and-coming talent
The need to find and recruit up-and-coming talent is a concern for any business. We know we have the experience to train new recruits into talented travel experts, but if they can come to us with a natural work ethic and passion for travel, it makes all the difference. Knowing we’re a stone’s throw from a Top 50 ranked university is hugely reassuring.
And with the recent league tables placing the University of Lincoln 9th overall for Hospitality, Leisure, Recreation and Tourism courses, it makes our location even more beneficial.
Culture and the city itself
I’ve been fortunate to live in some wonderful places over the years; a Londoner who spent 17 years living in Spain and Portugal. However, I can honestly say Lincoln is the best place I have ever lived. Some of our famous tourist sites, the Cathedral, the Castle, all go without saying, but they shouldn’t! Culturally, Lincoln deserves to be up there with the likes of York or Canterbury for recognition of its heritage.
On a more business focused note, the short commute to the office, small level of traffic and low crime rate all add up to real positives for our team. So, while physical location doesn’t really affect the day-to-day running of Sun-hat Villas & Resorts, it still matters to us to deliver a working environment that can attract and retain the very best talent, with a team that enjoys every minute – Lincoln has it all.
We can’t see ourselves working anywhere else.
Peter Jenkins, Sun-hat Villas.