Dreamsets often work closely with theSQUAD as they make set design and lighting magic for our events. We spoke to their Minister of Finance, Leanne Bancroft and Minister of Entertainment, Eben Peltz, to find out how they coped during COVID. It was extremely tough, and the team went above and beyond to earn their SQUAD stripes and more. Here's their feedback:
"Because of COVID we had to completely change our business model. Previously, we relied heavily on account business - both customers and suppliers. After the pandemic, we transitioned to an almost 100% cash based business. Now we make all material purchases via COD, and rentals are settled in accordance with our customer terms - 70% to confirm and 30% on installation.
We also -
- Retrenched a large portion of our permanent staff, leaving us with a financially manageable core group
- We bring in casuals, contractors and freelancers on a job-by-job basis
- Pay our staff and freelancers every Friday for the previous seven days
- Sold some of our company vehicles (bakkies and trucks) and run a leaner fleet, hiring vehicles when necessary
- Rented out office and workshop space, which helps with the monthly overheads for rent, electricity and security.
Because we have a strong skills-base in manufacturing, we were able to take on work outside of our industry. Our carpenters and steel workers, for example, track changes at the Jaguar Landrover Offroad Track in Lonehill, and do general handy-man jobs at homes and businesses.We also marketed, manufactured and sold sanitizer spray booths. We sold scrap metal. Everyone hustled like never before to ensure that enough income was generated to keep us all going.
Looking at the current situation in 2022, Sales Targets have reduced in line with less overheads, smaller staff compliment and low debt. We’re maintaining a small core employee group and reducing the number of jobs we take in at any one time; we can better manage our expenses and quality of our builds while ensuring we are meeting our targets.
Another thing that's very important now is collaboration. We often work closely with other industry suppliers to ensure any available work is shared, thereby benefitting as many role players as possible.
In terms of production, some of our manufacturing processes have been automated, streamlining and producing a better product overall and managing costs. The trends we're see are that virtual events are still popular, generally studio-based, with smaller venues and audiences, and a focus on quality not quantity.
Current difficulties are that prices of materials have increased dramatically in the past two years and continue to rise; so budgets on custom elements are being reconsidered and stock elements are being utilised more.
Payment terms are a challenge, especially where the bigger corporates are concerned. It can be very difficult to secure the required deposits and commitments on early settlement. We've had to turn work away as we no longer have the cashflow reserves to allow customer payment terms. As we have a limit to how many events we take on, clients also need to brief us sooner rather than later. Often we don't have capacity to take on work at the last minute.
But in general we are feeling very positive about 2022. We have had steady work since the start of the year and by all accounts most of the industry seems to be recovering well. As long as we keep our systems and controls in line and keep reviewing our business model, adapting when needed to stay competitive, we believe we can remain stable and service our clients to high standards.
Overall, based on performance for the first quarter and predictions going forward, we should be able to start rebuilding our cash reserves, so important for business continuity and stability. A better work/life balance has also been achieved as we are not manically chasing sales, but making smarter choices on which clients and jobs we service."
Leanne Bancroft - firstname.lastname@example.org
Eben Peltz - email@example.com