Innovating to help customers keep their jobs through the pandemic has put event production company EideCom on a path to double its business next year.
The pandemic’s onset “was the scariest moment of my life,” founder and CEO Charles Eide said, as the live event industry shut down and millions of dollars of future EideCom contracts evaporated.
Rather than panic or ignore the threat, Eide quickly acted on a mentor’s advice, planning for six months of zero revenue, which included laying off a small number of employees. EideCom next contacted event managers that had been clients, asking how to help them avoid getting fired and continue communicating with their employees even in the absence of in-person events.
“Instead of trying to sit and lick our own wounds, we took a proactive approach with every single customer we had ever done business with,” Eide said. “We said to them, ‘You have got to be feeling the effect of this. What do you need from us? And how do we help you get through this?'”
Then, EideCom added streaming capabilities and other features to software from a previous company of Eide’s. It began offering a new product, SecondStage, as an online platform for virtual events, with pre-recorded or live-streamed content. Work on SecondStage began in April 2020, and it produced its first virtual event in October 2020.
That effort is paying off in multiple ways for EideCom, which has produced live events from the Minnesota Vikings draft parties to a Knights of Columbus program at World Youth Day in 2016 in Poland where the thousands of attendees included Pope Francis.
Now, the company is moving this month into new, larger headquarters. Existing customers have come back strong and new ones, whose event partners shrank or disappeared, are signing up, Eide said. It’s also branching out to offer hybrid events, with in-person programs broadcast to remote audiences.
“If the pandemic had not happened, we would not be where we are today,” Eide said. “The outlook for EideCom and SecondStage has never been this good.”
EideCom, founded in 2003, is building a multimillion-dollar headquarters in Brooklyn Park, a mile from its current home. The new space, including a fitness center and locker rooms, a cafe, studio and warehouse, is more than triple the size of the company’s existing offices. It’s in a large industrial building facing Highway 169.