Becoming a business owner | 2 min read
Running a business during a pandemic is tough, but adapting and evolving through the changes is possible.
For Melbourne based Soundstorm Trivia and Entertainment, the COVID-19 restrictions mean the 2,000 events they had planned for the rest of the year are all currently postponed.
But that hasn’t stopped owner Scott Kennedy, who started the business 17 years ago. “We have a loyal base of followers and people looking for something to do that resembles normality”, says Scott.
Pub quizzes are a social affair, a ritual almost. And most of Soundstorm’s clients are long-term, so Scott has moved his focus to helping them.
Trying to recreate a pub online isn’t something Scott had ever considered for his business. He didn’t even own a webcam. But after a lot of research and finding the right format, he was able to run their first online trivia event within a week of entertainment venues closing.
135 people tuned into their first quiz. 200 ‘attended’ the second. It’s far from business as usual, but Soundstorm is making the best of it.
They’ve received great feedback from followers who say they have loved the distraction, brain activity and sense of connection.
Scott sees COVID-19 as a chance to “work on all those opportunities you keep putting on the back burner”. He hopes that will lead to a more flexible and nimble business when pubs open and events start happening again.
For the rest of the shutdown period, Scott is planning to bring some of their other events online and is looking at ways he can help other businesses. “We view everything we do as a partnership, so we’re trying to assist the many venues, schools and fundraisers that use us by cross promoting anything they’re doing”, he says.
Beyond offering connection for Soundstorm’s followers, Scott’s main focus at the moment is his staff. “Ensure your staff or former staff are in the best place they can be….mentally, and if possible financially,” he says. For Soundstorm, that has meant keeping in regular phone contact and even helping some staff access government support.
“These are the people that make your business what it is. When you’re back on track, you want to ensure they come back”, he says.
As a further step, Scott has even reached out to competitors to check in and see how they’re doing. His take is that they may have ideas that can help your industry stay afloat. “You don’t have to give up all your secrets, but share and help each other”, he says. “We’re all in it together…that phrase may get overused, but it’s true”.