This one is a difficult situation for me. I find myself as a former business broker who can’t move something good……
I was asked recently by a friend who will as soon as lockdown ends be starting a new job and doing a stupid amount of travelling for work about the right gear for stupid amounts of travelling. So based on 1,100 flights and over 3,000 nights in hotel rooms here are my answers in blog form.
Shirts: Tm Lewins are the business and for lots of travel try the thicker ones.
Jumpers. You need a jumper handy, especially if you need to turn a suit into casual in a rough part of town. Gannt Jumpers roll up nicely into cabin luggage!
Footwear – Dr Martens are business here. I prefer the black 9 hole boot as gives more support to the ankle. Perfect for long days on the move.
Jacket/Coat. You need a decent jacket or coat handy whatever the weather and whatever else you are wearing. For the winter Musto Offshore sailing Jackets are the business. These will keep you warm and toasty anywhere. Berghaus for spring and summer and a decent Trespass job for the summer that will fit in the luggage nicely are the top tips.
Luggage. Two answers here based on the fact that I sometimes need different configurations. For a 2 compartment carry on (cabin size) use Eastpak. For a single compartment carry on Samsonite is the only way to go. These are not cheap at around £100 a bag but they are worth it. One of my Samsonites is still going strong 15 years later! You can fit 7 days of clothes including 2 suits in these!
Briefcase/Backpack. Wenger it is baby! My briefcases used to get knocked about more often than a domestic violence victim! You need the laptop and the tools safe and Wenger kit lasts longer than others. I will say here that I have found the main industry leader, Targus to be crap. I would have to change these bags after about six months in the early days at about £50 a pop. I have 3 Wenger bags and carry the one that suits the most. The large backpack for when I need shed loads of kit. A traditional style laptop bag for the large laptop and a padfolio style bag for just me, the lightweight laptop and some paperwork. This bad boy has enough space in the main compartment for my paperwork, my tablet, my 11.6 inch slimline laptop and a few other bits. It has one side compartment that will take some chargers, a spare hard drive, USB sticks and my filofax!. It also has a side flap on the other side that will perfectly fit a copy of the Financial Times!
The trick is to be as light as possible. Try also to keep luggage on the opposite side to the hand you write with as this will make life easier opening doors, signing documents and answering phone calls on the move!
Let’s move on to some tech stuff and keep it brief! I have tons of tech blogs here! If you are going to be doing shed loads of travelling do try and get the lightest laptop you can get away with. I swear by a lightweight Lenovo with an 11.6 inch screen. If checking into Easyjet flights late at night at Prague Airport please be aware that the usual security scanning guy has a fetish for these laptops! No joke! For Android tablets, I go for Samsung. I would use a Samsung mobile phone if they were not stupidly expensive for a high-performance model. Motorola does it better and cheaper. Memory sticks and cards. I swear by Sandisk and my external hard drives are by Western Digital.
I was also asked about the good and bad in airlines and hotels. I have written blogs about this and could easily write a few hundred more. Bad airlines again lots of blogs either written or not! Start with British Airways for a poor airline and go from there. These guys have been kicked off my preferred supplier list twice and would have made it a third time over the recent data breach (which I was affected by) if I had not been banned from flying! I have said this before. Easyjet seems to be getting a lot of the key things that business travellers really want right these days. Bad Hotels? There have been so many. I will however lambast a UK chain for been overtly crap. Travelodge! I simply cannot stand them. The rooms are generally cold, worn and unpleasant. As for the staff, I have my doubts that some of them know the definition of or can spell some of the longer words used in this blog. If I have racked up over 30 nights in a hotel it is generally good and if I have racked up over 100 nights in one hotel it is usually pretty good!
Some other top tips. Keep a load of sachets of instant Nescafe in your bag. The hotels are usually stingy with coffee and if like me you are not awake until your third coffee you will use the hotel allowance up and still be half asleep! The same goes for teabags if you drink that stuff! Also, Cuppa Soup works the same way. Great for a quick snack. Be warned though, customs staff at Geneva airport get very curious about these sachets, so be prepared to explain cuppa soup to them very, very slowly. If you pack right too you can fit catering packs of biscuits into the luggage bags mentioned above without them being broken in transit. Very good if you are stuck in some hell hole where the idea of haute cuisine is a dodgy kebab! I won’t name and shame certain northeast England hell holes that fit this bill in this blog!
Some hotels use restricted wifi, free for a certain time, after which you have to pay. Top tip here. Check the back of the telly! If it has an ethernet cable attached and many do, pull it out of the back of the telly and plug it into the laptop! This often works but speeds can be variable.
So here are some short and simple answers to the question. What are decent tools and tips for stupid amounts of European business travel?
Early in 2004, My Naytencourt business bought an online mobile phone business called Ewell Mobile along with some other businesses. It sold all the latest mobile phones and accessories and built a good name itself. Pre large scale social media it did a lot of business on Ecademy which was an early but excellent business networking website and far better than Facebook or Linkedin ever have been for business.
via Naytencourt I sold this and bought themobilefonenetwork in late 2004. This would be my mobile phone brand until 2016. At this time we had some of the best years of the mobile phone trade. Customers were really happy to want the latest handsets and we still 12 month contracts with free handsets. Manufacturers couldn’t bring out new handsets with new features fast enough. We also had fantastic deals with cashback and free gifts such as laptops, games consoles and mp3 players. The networks were all gagging for business and “pulling a switcheroo” often yielded better things than it does now, though even today you should still look around at every renewal.
The only thing we couldn’t beat were T-mobile to T-mobile upgrades where the best thing to do was go direct. My advice to customers on T-mobile was to make sure you found a female member of staff and gently flirt with her! – it worked more often than not and many prospective customers I told this to became customers on other networks when T-mobile got wise and made moves to stop this working.
The market started slowing up in 2008 because of the credit crunch and this hit approvals for new contracts but things would get really bad in November and December 2009. You see we were still giving away these magnificent gifts, many of which children wanted to see awaiting their possession under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning 2009. With these gifts costing hundreds of pounds, lots of cash-strapped parents were trying to sign up for mobile phone contracts to get the gifts to give their kids as Christmas presents. They were getting rejected by the credit reference agencies. In November and December 2009 combined I had over 2,100 applications for mobile phone contracts rejected. Bearing in mind the commission from the operators for each sale varied from between £3 and £50 this is a lot of money! The number of approvals was only in double figures and not very high at all.
In a way, this was the beginning of a long end. The Apple iPhone had just arrived as had the Samsung Galaxy. We would start to see the demise of some manufacturers. Motorola wasn’t really there but would revive in a few years. The Nokia decline had started and was in full flow. Blackberry were on the way out too. The long-running social debate of Apple versus Android had started and this will never stop. My views on this will change either! There is a place in every home for an Apple device. It is called the bin!
Commissions were getting lower. 18 month contracts were standard and 2 year contracts were optional. Free gifts were almost dead as was cashback. Around 2013 the way of charging for mobile phones changed and it effectively became two things. A bill for the mobile phone usage – (calls and data) and a finance agreement for the phone handset. This would yield some extra profit for the networks and I was once told a story by a finance guy that there were certain tax advantages for the networks of doing the bills this way. I am not sure how true this story is.
Anyway combined with this were the rising costs of running the business so in early 2016 I sold my mobile phone business. I enjoyed my time in the trade. I was both happy and proud to be a part of the industry and share in some of its best years.
Please see below for a list of aircraft for sale and similar business opportunities from The Trade House Magazine. There is a form below a copy of The Trade House Magazine if you have any queries about any of the business opportunities listed.
Listing Id: 1720
Name: Embraer ERJ 190 Jet. No 1
Text: 100 PAX regional passenger Jet for sale. 4,500 Km
range. All economy configuration. Asking £10,000,000
Listing Id: 1721
Name: Embraer ERJ 190 Jet. No 2
Text: 100 PAX regional passenger Jet for sale. 4,500 Km
range. Premium (10 PAX) + Economy (90 PAX)
configuration. Asking £10,000,000. Ready to fly.
Name: Airbus A320-200 2006
Location: East England
Text: 210 seat configuration. 2 class layout. Fully Specified.
Well maintained. Lying UK.
Listing Id: 6563
Name: Gulfstream G200 Jet For Sale
Text: 2009 Gulfstream G200. 2150 hours. Pratt and Whitney
engines. Excellent Value. Very, very well equipped.
Lovely cabin. Seats 8.
The Trade House Magazine
It has been a while since I wrote an update so here is a brief one to bring you all up to speed.
- The October 2020 edition of The Trade House MAgazine has won 42,859 unique readers at the time of writing.
The next issue of The Trade House Magazine, The winter 2020/2021 special edition will be published from the 21st of November. Trade Club members will get it first followed by 8,000 email subscribers and then public access.
I will be arranging London meetings prior to Christmas if UK Lockdown 2 is ended prior to Christmas. These will be held at the Marriott Hotel, Heathrow Airport. Dates to be confirmed.
I am currently looking for leasing for a Volkwagen Caddy Maxi – Hi spec 20,000 miles pa. Please contact me if you can deal.
I have 0.3 FTE availability for new projects from 11/01/2021.
I require a project lead for an agricultural to leisure conversion in Ireland. Must have previous experience. I also require a hotel conversion specialist for a project in France.
For those of you looking for gory details on my health, there is nothing new or exciting to report, no modes of transport have been crashed and nothing has been broken since my last update!
Please use this form to contact me with any queries.
Court Guinness has the following availability for projects from 11/01/2021.
Court is taking early discussions now and will be delighted to hear from you if you have a project you would like to discuss.
Please use the form below to discuss a project for 2021 with Court Guinness.
Please see below of our the second part of our latest presentations.
The Trade House Magazine December 2020 Fact Book
Trade House Info Sheet
Trade Club Brochure
Trade Club Organisation Chart
Trade House Service List
December 2020 Preview Video
Market Comment October 2020
The Trade House Magazine October 2020
Court Guinness, The Trade House and Naytencourt are currently running all Irish operations remotely. We anticipate that this situation will remain in place until 01/2021.
We will be releasing an improved reporting system shortly in which participation by our Irish business interests will be mandatory.
When we are able to we will be holding face to face meetings and events in Ireland, Please follow this page for updates and more information.
- This website and its associated services have had 9,000 visitors in August 2020
- The July 2020 edition of The Trade House Magazine has had 33,000 unique readers. A copy is below. July and August are always slow for publishing.
- The September 2020 edition of The Trade House Magazine has been canceled. The next issue will be the October 2020 issue.
- The Trade Suite has reopened FundOne and is accepting initial pitches.
- The Trade Club has welcomed some wonderful new members.
- The Trade Club merger is now complete and we are accepting members. You can register here.
- The Trade Counter has some wonderful new products.
- We are still having issues sourcing from China. Customers are advised to start considering stock requirements from China for Christmas 2020 and beyond now. Please contact me if you require any advice.
- The business and property opportunities database has reached a total value of £2,100,000,000
- The Trade Suite has taken on Project Companions.
- Our Free Breakfast offer is back!
- The Thieving Three situation rumbles on. They have repaid some but not all monies owed and are still in debt for a hefty invoice for the waste of my time as are their debt collectors.
- The advertising deadline for The next edition of The Trade House Magazine is 21/08/2020 at 18:00 GMT
- The Trade House is fully open for business.
- Court Guinness has suffered some new health issues.
- There have been some changes in the way you have to communicate with me. Click here for more information. This is owing to further deterioration in my hearing.
- All suppliers, advertisers, associates and partners must become Trade Club members by the end of September 2020.
- Please note the new policy on London meetings, these will only now happen at or in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport.
- I have removed the last of the blocked Virgin Media IP ranges belonging to my stalkers. I shall not hesitate to reinstate the block if my stalkers return.
- On a happy note, it is 2 years to the day that I signed, exchanged and completed on a new home in Leamington Spa. I am delighted to have made the move.
- I am working on a new specialist consultancy in an advisory capacity. More news will be available here towards the end of the year.
- Having brought some technical kit in from Malaysia and being very happy with it. I am considering importing the following shortly to sell. Windows 10 tablets, Windows 10 laptops, SFF Pc’s, Android tablets, Android smartphones, Android phablets, smartwatches, wearables, NAS devices, smart speakers. I bought a smartwatch, Windows tablet, Andriod tablet and smartphone, an SFF PC, a speaker and a NAS device and they are excellent. They also significantly undercut the competition on price. I am able to demo this kit to potential resellers.
- There are a number of other significant updates to the website and its content,
I am delighted to be able to welcome you to this website and to give you an insight into what I do and occasionally expose you to some of my blogs!
This website gets a large number of unique visitors every year and every post, page and section is very well “hit”. Effectively split in two there are a large number of blogs and work related posts including business opportunities available for everyone.
Let me start by guiding you to some key links:
To view all blog posts click here.
To view details of current business opportunities I have available, please click here.
To view details of previous projects, please click here.
To view details of available downloads, please click here.
Downloads includes copies of The Trade House magazine, which I publish on a regular basis.