Behind the Scenes
I was asked to put together a note, a column, or whatever you want to call it for the September Newsletter. After a number of days mulling over it, and trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to say and share; and then additional days putting it off, then writing and rewriting; I’ve put this together. It’s probably scattered, but it’s personal, and it speaks to why we/I do what we do.
We started the Five Star adventure in September 2009 with a single event. There were five of us; Meredith and I along with our three eight year olds. It’s been an amazing experience so far, full of ups and downs, wins and losses, and we’ve been blessed through it all.
Five Star is everywhere I turn in my life. My home has supplies and tools throughout every room, our office is jam packed, we have trailers, storage rooms, even my car is littered with gear and event paraphernalia; and while the randomness of it creates stress, I wouldn’t change a thing.
We’ve spent ten years putting everything back into the business and growing it through the lives we’ve had the opportunity to touch. For 2020 we were on track to touch about 150 events, and grow the team to over forty people (8 of us that are basically full time) ; which is the coolest thing because it was going to allow us (continue) to do some amazing things.
Then, in the middle of March, it all came to an abrupt halt. We did our best to keep going in a safe manner, but it became something that was out of our control. The internal decision was made that while things were stopped, we would continue to keep our full time staff working and getting paid. Our focus during the downtime would be shifted from event work, to learning and expanding on our current skill set; sharpening the saw. We would become better at everything from data management to event photography. We would organize and repair equipment that we never had time to do before because we were always resetting for the next event. This would keep our goals (somewhat) on track. We would return to a full event schedule a leaner, meaner event machine.
Through the months we used up any business savings that existed, took out loans, and I (as well as the rest of the family) took jobs in essential industries so that we could keep the internal structure intact. If you’ve never owned a business, or never thought about how the finances of a business work, cash flow is key. For us, entry fees came in, and then went out to pay for permits, staff, gear, vendors, etc. While some expenses go away, or get smaller; there is still a gigantic list of things that still need to be paid, especially when your primary focus is taking care of your people who rely on their job to feed their families. Hence, the proactive approach we took.
We are, and always have been, a people-first company. We believe that by taking care of the people that take care of the participant, the participant will reap the rewards through a great experience. As a company, we also try to do everything possible to take care of the participant, because we know what it’s like to be on the receiving end, as we have all been participants ourselves. That, in fact, is how Five Star was initially founded, because we truly felt that the participant experience could be improved upon. We have spared no expense to bring a better product to the table.
I’m sharing all of this because I (or the people who asked me to write it) felt it needed to be put out there. I (we) hoped that by giving a small glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes at Five Star (and I’m sure thousands of other companies) people would gain an understanding of why we do some of the things that we do, and would gain an appreciation and a patience.
Well now we find ourselves in September, six months after the grinding halt, and we’re starting to put together a calendar that includes live events. I know they’ll be smaller, and they’ll look a little different, but the same love will be there. We’ll be there to smile and cheer, even if it’s behind a mask.
Thanks for taking the time to read to the end,