At present I am reading the book ‘Spanish Trinidad’ by Francisco Padron, which deals with the 300 years of Spanish rule of Trinidad, 1498 to 1797. The book draws on the original historical archives in Spain. In Chapter 1, it relates, in vivid details, the first-hand account of Christopher Columbus and his fleet, first sighting of Trinidad and the original Trinidadians. It was an epochal confrontation, as the Spaniards and the Trinidadians stared at each other in amazement across the sea.
What followed was a major disruption for the lives of the Trinidadians. The meeting triggered changes so profound that their very way of life was altered permanently. There have been other such disruptions over the years, some of them arguably as profound as the first meeting – the conquering of Trinidad by the British and their establishment of Plantation and African Slavery, Declaration of Independence, the arrival of East Indian and Venezuelan Indentured Labourers, Independence and the first ‘Oil Boom’ in 1973 and the attending Industrialisation.
Each of these events permanently changed the socio-economic fabric of the nation. Today, the popular word to describe such impacts is ‘disruption’. The word is used to describe a causing of change in direction and trajectory of socio-economic development. These disruptions created turmoil and for many hardships, but also challenges and opportunities.
The question that confronts us is, ‘Are we living through another such disruption or is 2020 and 2021 just a hiccup and life will soon return to as it was before?’ The factors that suggest it is a disruption are – the Corona Virus and its social impact, climate change, the move to clean energy, absence of significant oil and gas finds, the mothballing of many of the Point Lisas Industrial Companies, the shortage of foreign exchange earnings, the arrival of Venezuelan migrants. For some however, they look forward to the resumption of normalcy after the roll out of the vaccines.
If it is a disruption, then all Real Estate Businesses and Real Estate Professionals will have to adapt their Business Strategy going forward. This raises the question, ‘What is a Disruption Business Strategy?’ It is a Business Strategy based on non-conventional business models, that are better suited to the new market reality. It is the preferential selection of a particular segment of customers, who have new needs based on the new normal, and offering them a value that meets these needs.
It does not mean a new way of Real Estate operations but gearing these standard operations in such a way as to produce a unique value. One has to ask oneself what new needs are rising in this new situation for specific customers. A few new needs that spring to mind include – more health safety, lower cost, more flexibility, new space sharing models, better broadband, new lease models, new buying and selling conditions, partnerships between landlord and tenant.
And then finding ways in which you as the Real Estate Professional can facilitate these new needs by offering unique insights and services. New needs differ by customer segments so a disruption strategy challenges us to find a specific segment of customers, understand their new needs and offer a service value targeted to this customer segment and their new needs.
Christopher Columbus and his team came looking for El Dorado, the city of gold, but instead found an island with Real Estate rich in flora and fauna and people. Hopefully, your disruption strategy will bring you riches beyond your imagination.