BIG Fish takes a bite of the Algarve

BIG Fish is a brand new company with big ideas. Charles May, Fiona Almeida and Jayne May explained what it is all about.

“The name BIG Fish is a bit tongue-in-cheek and reflects the humour and fun side of the team, who works hard but is equally keen to balance this with a healthy family and personal life,” says Charles. Fiona has been in the Algarve for eight years and, before that, worked in Germany. She is able to conduct business in English, German and Portuguese, which is of great benefit. Charles, struggling to say much more than “Bom dia, fala inglês?”, says he is only too pleased to have Fiona on board.

So what do BIG Fish do? “Primarily, we have developed a co-operative for businesses of any size, to secure good rates for marketing, advertising and publicity.” Focusing on marketing, Charles prides himself on his ability to foster relations with clients and has been successful in bringing together businesses in joint ventures. “People buy people, not products,” explains Charles. “There is no point in having the best product in the market, if customers have no confidence in you. In our sales training programme, we take experienced and new sales people into selling in a completely different way, spending as much time on personality and attitude as talking about the product or service.”

It isn’t difficult to see how this approach works. One client, Lisa McNamara, director of SBC International Cinemas in Faro, has already made significant cost savings using BIG Fish and has been impressed with the joint marketing initiatives, including in The Resident. Under the agreement, SBC sponsor the cinema page and visitors to SBC can enjoy the latest edition of the newspaper.

Why does BIG Fish think its approach is any different? Fiona believes it works because they get to the heart of their clients’ business. “We are in business with our customers not just doing business with them.” Their approach is part consultants, part business partners, taking the role of solution providers, rather than simply selling advertising and marketing skills. They say that they dedicate the same level of service to their clients as they do to their own business, sometimes more.

In fact, Charles says he has taken this one step further, conducting business meetings with one client in the gym, so they can combine the need to push the limits of personal fitness with the willingness to succeed in business – a winning formula? Let’s watch BIG Fish with interest to find out.