On 17th June, Rick Stainton, Founder & Group Exectuve Director at leading creative agency Smyle published an open letter to the industry. This offered smaller and more vulnerable businesses in our industry free and informed support/advice on how they adapt and plan to get through this widespread hit from the pandemic.
Rick invited fellow industry leaders Julian Pullan at Jack Morton, Michael Wyrley-Birch at TRO, Jonathan Emmins at Amplify, Russ Lidstone at The Creative Engagement Group and Jeremy Rees from ExCel London.
Rick had been on a number of forums recently and felt there was a lot of businesses that just need to confidentially talk through their current situation and glean any advice they can from larger businesses that perhaps have more experience, resources or just simply have been able to develop a route map.
There may have been an understandable pride and confidence battle here to reach out pro-actively for a chat and advice – but the results from the first few weeks clearly show there was a demand and the support has been greatly appreciated.
Over 40 businesses have so far made contact, including several from the US. Furthermore following a webinar hosted by the Event Leadership Institute in the US on which Rick joined as a panellist, the Institute has since reached out to ask for some pointers on setting up a similar scheme of support for small businesses in the US events industry.
Topics consistently discussed ranged from adapting business models, sharing knowledge (e.g. around virtual platforms, buying points, client mindsets), cross checking all relevant government support packages were being deployed, road-testing new skillset and marketing ideas as well as a speculative discussion about when hybrid and physical events will return, in what form and in which countries.
From the feedback collated from the confidential calls that have taken place to date, 95% rated this support 10/10 versus other support they had previously requested from other sources – comments on the feedback report included:
“The industry advisor had clearly researched our business prior to the phone conversation. He understood our business model and so was able to provide the appropriate advice for our sector. He had some great ideas about ways that we can adapt our business model to suit the current climate.”
“I cannot thank you enough for setting up such a great initiative – it feels great to be part of a strong, supportive community. 100% going to be taking these ideas forwards! I’m filled with a renewed sense of hope for my business and feel empowered to make the most of 2020. “
“I think it’s a real power move to show the industry, through your Open Letter, that we can share ideas, collaborate and support each other to the benefit of the industry as a whole. I think by showing that our industry can be more open and collaborative, we change the paradigm and will attract more new people with more diverse experience. It’s great you’re doing this now, and I hope to be part of the new wave of events companies that keep this spirit alive.”
Rick Stainton commented, “I hope we are helping in some way to give small business owners an opportunity to express their worries, be listened to, and take something away from these calls they otherwise wouldn’t have got from elsewhere – the group of advisors and I hope this intial feedback and brilliant take up inspires others who feel they may benefit from this kind of support to contact us.”
“I would again like to express my thanks to Julian, Russ, Jeremy, Jonathan and Michael for sparing their time and also to the many other industry leaders who have contacted me recently offering to also help with their time on calls if needed.”
So if you would like to take us up on this opportunity, please email email@example.com and then he can connect you with the most appropriate member of the advisory group for a confidential call.