Resilience, boldness to tide over the pandemic
Out of business for nearly four months, events firm Se7en Friday restrategised and emerged stronger
When the pandemic hit last year, Mr Henry Tan found his company out of business for nearly four months following the imposed circuit breaker.
But the managing director of events company Se7en Friday did not back down or spend time fretting over the loss.
Instead, he and his team used the time to upskill, familiarising themselves with all aspects of running events that would pivot online - from operating online-meeting software to live-streaming videography and broadcasting.
Mr Tan, 51, told The New Paper: "It was definitely a challenging process as the events industry was one of the first to experience the hit of the pandemic. We had to pivot because we were determined to pull through it and make the transition happen."
Founded in 2015, Se7en Friday used to organise more than 250 physical events annually before the pandemic.
Other than working with the Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry, the company also conceptualises and organises webinars, seminars and product launches. Its clientele includes pharma, hospitals and banks.
COMBINE AND ADAPT
Mr Tan said surviving amid these challenging times takes more than just experience.
The veteran, who had more than 20 years of experience before setting up his company, said: "We have to combine the skills we learnt with our knowledge of customers and adapt to the new format of virtual events, which is a totally different landscape.
"While everyone is doing virtual events, from live sales to online classes, I think creating original content, being specific, and knowing what will tick for the customers are our strengths."
Se7en Friday made its comeback last July, organising an awards gala dinner, a collaboration with Manulife Singapore, with almost 400 virtual guests.
The most challenging part, he said, was delivering all the meals, alongside trophies, portraits, and commemorative gifts, within the first two hours of the event.
"We were one of the first to start doing event meal deliveries on such a large scale, and for that event, we activated over 150 people for logistics alone," he said.
"Since then, meal delivery for events has become a norm, and we can now deliver to up to 1,000 guests within a 21/2 hour timeframe."
Still constantly adapting to developing technology and the growing needs of clients, Mr Tan, a father of a pair of seven-year-old twin girls, is confident of the future of the events industry in Singapore.
In fact, Se7en Friday has set up a second studio catering to virtual events. A third studio is slated for the first quarter of next year.
Said Mr Tan: "We just have to think of new ways to adapt and bring business to the next level. Being optimistic also means you must take control and be bold enough to shape changes that are necessary."
Secrets of the trade
- Planning the flow and rehearsing extensively are essential to running a virtual event smoothly as there are various parties involved.
- Work closely with your clients. Unlike physical events, where the master of ceremonies can be in control during most of the event, virtual events require more cooperation between the organising committee and the events company.
- Content creation matters. Zoom fatigue is real, and simply relying on a screen may not be enough to keep people interested. Plan the event in a way that engages the participants and activates their five senses, for example, having a meal delivery.