When March 2020 hit, our entire team froze. We’d just finished spending two years transitioning Grow Disrupt from a coaching and consulting brand into an events firm; we were watching our entire world shut down! Yet we came out on the other side with profitable, in-person events that continued throughout the pandemic with absolutely no viral spread…
Here’s how that was possible!
Putting Guests First
Even prior to COVID, we always put our guests first. So, come March 2020, there were two key pieces that we really considered.
One | Were In-Person Events Still Possible During a Pandemic?
The first question we had to consider was whether we could continue hosting in-person events during COVID without putting our guests (or staff) at risk. Due to the fact that our guests are small business owners and cannot afford to take time away from their office or work, keeping them safe was absolutely critical!
Two | Can we afford to NOT Support Our Small Business Owners Through This Trying Time?
Our events are critical for these business owners. Not only do we provide educational events, but we also provide the opportunity for these business owners to take a step away from the day to day: to reconnect with what makes them powerful and incredible, and to reconnect with what makes them creative problem solvers. These events provide the space for the things that help a business flourish, which are easy to lose sight of through the day-to-day business.
Making the Decision
Ultimately, if we had to shut our event organizing down, we could go back to coaching and consulting. However, if we shut it down, the positive impact we were making on these small business owners would disappear. They were already taking punches from every angle (we all remember the uncertainty and the problems that followed the beginning of the pandemic)... Would this be the straw to break the camel's back?
Instead, we asked ourselves, “How are we going to make this work? Can we? Is it worth it?” Ultimately, we said yes! Once we made that decision, this is what we did:
1 - Talked to the experts: Stephanie sat down with people who were running large events, doctors, attorneys, and others who were a little more up to date on how this virus was spreading than we were. These talks were incredibly productive, and we were able to create parameters we must follow.
2 - Created the parameters:
- Make sure there would be plenty of space for the attendees, including outdoor spaces alluring enough for the attendees to want to spend time there during the breaks!
- We needed to make sure that the air filtration system was set up.
- We had to ensure that we had clear controls in place in regard to masking, testing, social-distancing, and all of the other risks that come with being together.
3 - Documented every single step.
4 - Ensured Vendors were onboard: Every vendor we hired walked through every single step of our 18 page health and safety manual.
5 - Fully Communicated: We also made sure that there was active communication with our audience members about what we were doing to keep them safe and what the requirements would be when they got on site.
We did our best to frame things in a way that stayed positive, despite there being super conflicting views on this.
We kept hosting in-person events during COVID, just carefully, and we built a reputation as a place you could go to feel and be safe. The incredible thing is, throughout the entire pandemic, not one of our events lost money or sparked a viral outbreak! We were profitable. We took care of our people. And we kept them safe so they could keep growing their business.