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ARTICLE
Let's Talk Business
In the last edition of Pro Mobile, I wrote about how we added Photobooths to our business, as well as some of the things we learnt about growing this new service. One of the reasons we started on that journey was simply seeing an emerging product in what we consider to be an exciting market – that of the events industry. Since starting our business, I have been amazed at all the different ways people are starting out, building and innovating in this incredibly fast-paced sector.

The UK events industry is huge and the opportunities it offers to small businesses are pretty much limitless – just one of the reasons I find our sector to be so exciting. When I worked in banking, I was employed by a major player in the market. In fact, going back to my mortgage adviser days (wow, that really is far back!), I was providing lending through the UK’s largest lender, who at the time were providing almost a third of all mortgages. The entire banking market was, and still is, dominated by the big boys with very little room for small companies. Innovation in banking is really slow but this is true of any market dominated by huge companies. The sector we work in could not be more different.

I’m the type of person who absorbs information, and I use this to help inform what I’m doing at work. As someone used to having a handle on ‘the bigger picture’, I find it quite frustrating to not actually know a huge amount about the overall size of opportunity out there. Naturally, the lack of major players in our industry means that the research is patchy and it’s quite difficult to gauge just how much work there is for us out there.

No one has produced any sort of figures on how many birthdays, anniversaries and charity parties are taking place each year, and who could possibly tell how many spots there are for bar and club DJs? It’s actually really hard working out the most relevant numbers, but by looking at what we can find, I think there is compelling evidence that there are huge opportunities for growth, for any of us who choose to make our business, a business.

The 2018 Pulse Report produced by Eventbrite estimates that the events industry is worth £42.3 billion annually. A whopping number – and their research shows that it is expected to grow. Another statistic from the same research shows that of that 42.3 billion, the top 10 leading agencies are responsible for around £3.5billion – with much of their earnings coming from overseas. Putting it another way, significantly less than 10% of all entertainment business held in the UK is handled by the largest companies. So, we can see the sector is crammed with small businesses and it naturally follows that there will be an incredible number of entrepreneurs – individuals with creative brains finding new services to take to the market, and creating solutions to improve old ideas. Being a big company has its advantages, but being a small one has many too. Like being able to spot opportunity and act on it – no huge company can rival a small outfit for speed.

So where do we sit in all of this, and where do I see ways to expand? Well I think that if you are a DJ, you are right at the very heart of this great big vibrant economy. We don’t sell a product and then send it out on a van. We don’t even arrive at the venue, do our job and then leave everyone to it. What we do is spend a lot of time with the guests, entertaining them, watching what’s going on – taking it all in and seeing how our thoughts and ideas could lead to new ways of building our businesses.

The best statistic applicable to my current business (and that of most of the DJs I know), and certainly the most reliable I can find, is one produced by the Office for National Statistics, no less. Their records show that in 2015 there were 245,513 weddings – and weddings currently provide the largest percentage of the work my business undertakes. Of course, not every wedding has entertainment, and no one can quite say what sort of proportion of that number do. However, according to research by Confetti (a wedding planning portal), 71% of couples who have entertainment book a DJ. So, DJs definitely play a big part in a pretty big sub sector of the industry. And I think we can assume that of all of the other types of parties DJs are the major source of entertainment by some way.

Something I get really excited about is the staggering number of ways we can operate in such a big land of opportunities. Yes there are a lot of weddings, and the most common estimate for the total size of the wedding industry is that it is worth around £10bn a year. That’s a lot of business, yet adding up conferences, meetings, corporate hospitality and corporate events, there is £21.1bn being spent every year by companies who need us! In my opinion, we are in a great position to earn some of that money. We have speakers, lighting and extremely good knowledge of how to use music to add atmosphere or highlight moments in just about any situation. And, of course, informing and directing people with a microphone is something we do week in and week out.

With some 5500 corporate events happening every day, you have to ask why there aren’t more of us spending more time installing temporary PA, lighting, projectors and TV screens, or acting as hosts for these events. I think that sticking to venues will work better for us – the big outdoor events look fantastic fun but, with only around 7000 taking place per year and each one needing astronomical amounts of gear, the vast number of small corporate events happening each and every day are a better bet!

My goal for 2019 is to learn how to leverage the opportunities there are in the corporate world. So how do I plan on unlocking this potential? In marketing, there is no one size fits all approach. However, like everything else we do, there needs to be a well thought out action plan with clearly defined goals.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 93, Pages 38-40.
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