2020 was quite the year. It presented no shortage of challenges globally in personal and professional settings. The pandemic did something very interesting for Ross. COVID-19 brought Ross closer to the important people in his life. Nothing can be truer than the Tricycle Creative mantra during these interesting times; keep pedaling through the tough times.
Ross sought out his friends, clients, and other creative business owners to have them talk about the good, the bad, and the lessons they can share with his listeners. Rewind is a monthly series, bringing marketing stories you need to know every end of the month, but this time we will bring to you stories from this challenging year of 2020.
Listen + Subscribe to TriPod
What You Don't Want To Miss:
In today’s episode of 2020 Rewind, we talk to David J. Neff. David is Co-Founder of Weird Homes Tour and a frequent guest on TriPod. 2020 was quite a year for live home tours, which Weird Homes did virtually this year. You will learn why you must test and learn as a business owner and the simple way to measure your successes and figure out what you should change.
Positives of 2020
Weird Homes Tour is a live event business. They do live tours all over the United States. Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Portland are a few cities and they were adding San Fransisco and San Antonio this year to that list. Of course, when this whole pandemic started without a clear view of its duration, Weird Homes kept pushing back the dates. Realizing that this was staying for much longer, they moved everything to be digital.
David definitely thinks this year helped them work better as a team because they had a really hard pivot as a business. Suddenly they had to start thinking about Facebook ads, learning how to film, YouTube optimization. Everyone came together to keep the business floating. Many at the first sign of danger, run away and this is not a way to survive as an entrepreneur.
The other positive was that 2020 forced them to look at video as a strategy. Every business tends to have a 2-minute video about what they do as a business. Weird Homes Tour decided to use YouTube to their advantage. There are many questions they have about how to use video for their businesses, but they are closer to the answers now than they were earlier this year.
Marketing doesn’t solve all the problems, but it definitely illuminated them in this transition. Over the course of the last few months, Weird Homes Tour and Ross have been making changes to their plans with a strategy to back it up and some failed, and that’s okay because they have learned. Failing is bound to happen and David is very passionate about testing and learning and pushing forward.
Challenges of this year
Weird Homes Tour doesn’t have one audience and their business models aren’t simple. They have to find these weird and unique homes AND find the people who want to buy a ticket to see those homes. When the business had to pivot to virtually live tours, they also had to find what the owners were comfortable with. If they wanted someone to film for them. If so, how to make sure everyone feels COMFORTABLE and SAFE. When they do want to film the tour live themselves, they also had to educate these homeowners on how to film to highlight their unique homes for everyone to see.
Plenty of homeowners did decide that this year they couldn’t participate, which is very understandable. Luckily a lot of homeowners were intrigued, and were willing to give it a shot to showcase their homes. It’s also forced them to add a home a week. They’ve had tours at 40 homes this year which is more than they’ve ever had, which is a challenge but also a positive.
Changes for 2021
Unfortunately for Weird Homes Tour, 2021 will be very similar to 2020 in business strategy. Of course, they will keep honing how they address virtual tours and video content to meet demand. 2021 will most likely be another year of no live events, but they now have the knowledge they’ve gained this year to start the year right. There is a plan for at least 3-4, or perhaps monthly, large scale virtual events.
Recommendations by David
November and December is the perfect time of the year to sit down and fill out a Lean Canvas, which is just a business plan. Definitely fill this out for at least quarters 1 and 2 of 2021 (maybe pencil in 3 and 4 since we don’t know what 2021 brings). Always make sure you have goals and numbers you’re tracking.
Jamie also has 3 other recommendations:
- PTO Self-Care – Ask yourself what are you doing to give your employees self-care time. Your employees are people with lives. Sometimes they have kids, a parent who gets sick, or a furry-friend that needs to go to the vet. They may even end up working 60 hours and burn out because they don’t know how to turn off work at home since they aren’t physically leaving an office, and we can’t blame them. Think about flexible work schedules, such as working 9 days in 2 weeks, or flexible hours. There are solutions outside of the conventional 9-5, 5 days a week to take care of your employees’ needs and the business.
- Diversity & Inclusion – Think about what happened this year. People are physically separated and as a country, we are as well. Everyone needs to take the time to look at who they are hiring and being diverse and inclusive. Different people bring different ideas and solutions.
- Celebrate Your Wins & Learn – Get everyone in your team into a + / Δ Plus-Delta exercise Zoom meeting to analyze your wins. ‘+’ refers to what went well and ‘Δ’ is a thing you would change. It’s incredibly simple and can only benefit your business.