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Cornish businesses expanding reach through digital

Published March 25th, 2021


Two Cornish businesses have embraced digital technology to reach new customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Think Fit, which offers fitness, nutrition, and massage in the Truro area, has been running inclusive and friendly group exercise classes since 2017 – while Start & Co, a family-run estate agent established in 1977, specialises in sales and rental of properties in Newquay.

Both businesses have received such positive feedback about their virtual experiences that they will be delivering a hybrid offering of both online and face-to-face appointments once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Through meeting the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub at a business fair, the Think Fit team reviewed its strategy, and was able to clearly identify its customers and target market.

Mark Harris, senior business connector at the Growth Hub, said: “Our work with Think Fit helped them to create a solid base of regular clients, and it’s fantastic to see how they have adapted during the pandemic so those people could continue their fitness journey online.”

Think Fit also runs 12 week fitness programmes, and was in week ten of a schedule when lockdown first struck last March. After buying a webcam and setting up Zoom, they invited everyone to join their online classes.

Instructors Becky and Ria said: “It’s been great to remain in contact with our clients, sharing the highs and lows of lockdown, and recognising there is a market for virtual workouts.

“Some exercises, such as stretch work, almost work better in the warmth and comfort of your own home, and the classes have been accessible to so many more people who are trying to work fitness into their busy daily routines.

“We’ve gained customers through people inviting their friends and family to join them all over the country. We’ve also been working with a local accountancy firm to deliver lunchtime Zoom classes on a Monday for their employees to be able to do something together whilst all working from home.

“When lockdown restrictions ease, we will be offering both in-person and online classes to suit all our clients’ needs. Some can’t wait to get back to normal, whilst others have gained confidence through taking part on screen. We will always make sure our classes are fun and different, however they decide to take part.”

Start & Co has invested in digital in other ways, building up its connections with specialists in aerial photography and interactive video experiences to ensure they meet the evolved expectations of house buyers.

Partner Bradley Start said: “A home is one of the biggest purchases you make in your life, and we aim to make our listings feature-rich to provide buyers with as much information as possible at home before they book a viewing in person.

“We now offer a full range of viewing features from drone imagery, to 3D virtual walk throughs, and personal viewings over video calls. Thousands of people are now viewing properties this way, compared to only a handful who used to be able to see them in person.

“The property market is moving quickly at the moment, so the more tools we can use to ensure people are fully informed the better. It makes the best use of time, as fewer people are travelling to see something that may not be right for them – something which has long term benefits beyond Covid restrictions.”

The Growth and Skills Hub are a team of free, independent, and impartial experts who work with businesses to uncover the skills they need, and make introductions to the right training to be able to get results.

For more information visit: ciosgrowthhub.com/the-skills-hub or call 01209 708660.

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