As the real estate market in Alberta started rebounding from COVID-19, some proactive agencies are already ahead of the game.
Bridge Realty Group a proactive real estate business in Edmonton was incorporated by Travis Bannert, in 2019, after a long and successful career in sales and in real estate specifically within the last five years.
Travis declares “I really enjoyed the process of helping people out with selling and buying home.” Which was the genesis of his real estate career, in addition to having an entrepreneurial spirit and inclination to be his own boss.
Travis goes above and beyond the call of duty when dealing with people and potential customers. In some cases where the person might be facing financial hardship or have bad credit and does not know what to do or may have received some bad advice and was facing bankruptcy or foreclosure, Travis would step in and helps them with good advice or directs them to a good mortgage broker or a lawyer who help them get their financial affairs in order and save them from financial ruin sometimes.
He does that without asking for anything in return, regardless of whether they will eventually enlist his services or not. In many cases, when people do get out of trouble, due to his help, they appreciate his selfless help and end up buying a house from him. That is how good deeds pay you back in buckets.
This kind of great customer service has led to his real estate agency to grow by almost 40% every year. So much in fact, that even during the pandemic downturn, business is growing. In fact he is currently interviewing people to hire in his agency. Hoping to have an additional two full time positions by the middle of 2021.
His biggest challenge is “trying to make sure that we're not wasting time on tasks that don't help the client and ourselves as well.” Travis puts it succinctly.
Cleverly, instead of cutting costs like most realters did, Travis invested more in marketing his business, which helps keep him on top of people’s minds, so when life returns to normal after COVID-19, whatever that normal might be, people will remember him mostly and choose him for their next house. True enough, his plan is now paying big dividends. That is the winners’ way.
Some time ago a survey was conducted asking people their opinions on how their experience was when working with realtors. The number one complaint of people with realtors in Canada was that they didn't get Back to them in time. People valued most a prompt response from realtors they worked with. This survey had a big impact on Travis. He vowed never to do that when he became a realtor. True enough, he honoured his vow and has always been honest and gave people the right advice. This is what put him ahead of the curve and gave him his greatest competitive advantage.
Travis’s sage advice to other entrepreneurs is: “If you are starting a new business, it will be your #1-time consumer. You need to be available seven days a week otherwise you need to figure out an alternative. Maybe get a partner that can take on some of the load.”
Success is sweet, and this Alberta business story, without a doubt, is very sweet.
Originating from a sheer coincidence of using a cigar humidor to store brown sugar, a star was born. A star business that is, was born in 2018.
SugarBaby Saver started with a chance spot at the Millarville Farmers’ Market and branched out to other farmers’ markets including the St. Albert Farmers’ Market which is the largest outdoor farmers' market in Western Canada, as well as selling their unique quality glass jars with humidor lids through Amazon and their own online store. You can also find their products in some boutique stores around Alberta cities.
This small, but vibrant, Calgary based business started producing their proprietary designed multipurpose SugarBaby Savers to enable people to preserve their food from waste. With vintage 1950s look and feel, they not only developed convenient useful products, they even designed them to match most kitchen décors, with white and black lids. All while being environmentally conscientious, as their jars are made from recycled glass.
Their customers loved the jars so much they were ingenious, by using the jar for all sorts of other things. Thus, giving SugarBaby viable new ideas of marketing it for marshmallows, dried fruits, cigars, soft pet treats, baked goods, and anything that needs that little bit of moisture. The jars are convenient to use, put in a cupboard and you forget about it for four months, then when you want to use it again It is still going to be soft and usable. Its ingenuity is in its simplicity.
With the reopening of Alberta is gearing up slowly and the St. Albert Farmers’ Market opening, SugarBaby Products is launching their newest product, a mini humidor, the “humi pocket.” Which came about in response to customers’ need for a smaller version of the SugarBaby jar and fits any wide mouth mason jar.
Jennifer Pedersen, founder and owner of SugarBaby Products, would tell you: “in business, you have to be able to trust yourself with your decisions, and if you fail, well then you have learned a valuable lesson.”
Their excellent customer service is what distinguishes them, in addition to their unique niche products.
Jennifer described it best by saying: “I think our number one competitive advantage is the fact that customer service is so important in our company. We strive to excel at earning and keeping our customers. I care how I make money, so I want to make sure that my customer has the best experience. I would not sell my products if they didn’t work.”
As for the quality of their products, Jennifer explains “I'm proud to say we've never ever once had any customer come back and say, I tried that, and it didn't work. That stands to show that our products actually do work.”
In terms of future vision, Jennifer explains that five years from now, they would like to be transitioned completely from retail to wholesale.
Her sage advice to other small Alberta businesses:
“believe in what you do, If you don't like what you're doing, you are not going to get far. You need to know who you are, what you offer and how you create value to your customers and don't be afraid to fail because it is the trying that matters.”