Becky Stevens is a Director at Hybred Events, a company severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis. But rather than simply accepting the situation, Becky decided to combine her extensive health and safety experience with the skill sets of other business contacts and create a completely new company. Hybred Consultancy helps businesses of all sizes to become Covid-19 Secure, through health and safety, HR and creative support. Amy Lishman from Brighton Chamber has been speaking to Becky about her decision to pivot her business and the first two months of the venture.
Q1: You started Hybred Consultancy in May this year. Can you tell us a bit about how it all began?
Like so many people in events, the day after the lockdown my company, Hybred Events, lost 95% of our clients. As specialists in event safety and operational planning, all our work was drying up — with festival cancellations and little certainty about the future for the industry.
Speaking regularly with colleagues and close contacts, we quickly realised we had extensive, specialist skill sets that were likely to be much needed over the months to come. Which led us to the launch of Hybred Consultancy, a company which is all about helping businesses to reopen safely, efficiently and with confidence — a truly daunting task for many right now.
We’ve taken a leap of faith, rapidly investing in training, a new website, system setups, marketing and business development. We’ve trained the team in Covid-19 safety and started carrying out risk assessments for businesses across a variety of sectors.
We’re seeing the results already — I’m so pleased to have found an outlet for all my health and safety experience in these challenging times and to be able to see companies re-opening their doors that I — and the wider Hybred team — have worked with.
Q2: Nearly two months in, how is the business evolving?
The evolution is constant! As you can probably guess from the volume of government updates and legislation the team is having to be extremely reactive, constantly assessing what businesses need to do in order to be Covid-19 Secure.
Also, we recently expanded our team to include Jo Prior, an HR and employment law specialist. So now Hybred Consultancy can offer key advice for companies deciding how and whether to bring back furloughed staff.
Another major evolution is in the types of businesses we can support. We focused initially on the health and wellbeing sector, but soon realised that other sectors were opening much sooner. We’re now in a position to help any operation become Covid-19 Secure — from national tours, to major offices, to tiny independent stores.
Q3: What has been the biggest challenge? How have you overcome it?
Keeping up with the ever-changing guidance. There is still so much about Covid-19 that isn’t known that we have to ensure we are checking all the guidance and scientific reports daily.
We know that businesses want to focus on what they do best, and that the volume of information can seem confusing. So we focus on giving clear recommendations, providing our clients with the best possible information about how to reopen and stay open.
Q4: What is your focus for the next few months?
With the continuing relaxation of social distancing and people desperate to do things, we’re getting lots of enquiries. From one-off events, to corporate conferencing, to nationwide tours, we can support ventures with everything from detailed risk assessments to bolt- on services such as the supply of event management, onsite Covid-19 Secure safety managers, staff training and advising on PPE requirements.
We’ve also introduced a complementary creative service to help new ventures looking to launch — we have specialists in web design, marketing, PR, social media and film who can help companies get their message out quickly and effectively.
Q5: What advice would you give to anyone looking to make a significant change to their business model?
Have faith in your team. When you launch a new business so quickly and are working remotely, you can’t do everything yourself — you have to trust your team to deliver. We’ve worked hard to ensure we are clear on the objectives of the first quarter and ‘buy in’ to the new business and I think that’s really important when you’re changing your business model.
Q6: Can you tell us a bit more about your predictions for the events industry for the rest of 2020, and what is the plan for Hybred Events in this new world?
It’s not all doom and gloom! Though event organisers will need to rethink
how they deliver a great customer experience whilst maintaining safety, we’ve already been working with clients from across the industry to allow them to do just that. By getting the planning done during lockdown, we’re enabling exhibition and conference owners, as well as outdoor event organisers, to get back to delivering engaging experiences, even if that looks quite different to how it would have at the beginning of 2020.
Hybred Consultancy have launched a series of free health, safety and HR webinars, to inform and educate businesses who want to be COVID-19 Secure. You can sign up for free right here http://hybredconsultancy.com, or give them a call on 01273 053533.