In this interview, Directors of ‘Jam24Global’, Wesley Thompson and Dan Ellis-Jones, share their story as small business owners navigating the challenges of COVID-19 and how our adviser support provided clarity along the journey.
Tell us who are you and what you do at Jam24Global
‘Jam24Global’ is an unsigned and new music multi-media platform. As chart music is increasingly becoming more formulaic, and new bands are spending more time on social media than writing songs, we saw a gap in the market.
The platform is rich with opportunities, consisting of a radio station, an on-going gig series, an e-commerce portal for bands to sell direct to fans, social media coverage, YouTube channel and an app, conveniently bringing everything together in a central place. There are various companies providing some of these options, but no one is bringing them all together. Our platform strikes a unique selling point, successfully taking the marketing load off artists and providing music fans with a single place to find great new music.
We met as young hopeful radio presenters working at ‘BBC Radio’ behind the scenes. After some time Dan immigrated to Australia, while Wesley stayed in London. Over the years, family and differing careers filled our time until Wesley came up with the concept for ‘Jam24Radio’ in 2015. After a while being a sounding board for Wes, Dan took the plunge and joined Wes in our now venture ‘Jam24Global’. We are currently working full time and work on our business in every spare moment we can get.
How has the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis impacted your business?
As a start up in the music business, COVID-19 could not have come at a worse time. A key entry point to Jam24 is via the gigs, and due to government guidelines and restrictions, these events could not go ahead.
We previously secured an ‘Arts Council England grant’ in 2016 and put on “The JamFest2016” which was also supported by ‘Hard Rock Cafe London’, and to continue support for the arts, ‘Arts Council England’ were supporting us again in 2020, but we are yet to be able to book in a venue.
All of this negatively impacted the business, putting a massive brake on our expansion plans and pushing us in a different direction. As a result, we have in the most part put the business on ice and although this has given us breathing space to better design our business model, it has been very frustrating. We knew that as a start-up, we need all the help we can get. A positive out of the various lockdowns and during COVID-19 has been finding the London Business Hub.
We knew we needed a reality check on our plans, and the London Business Hub has given us exactly that.Directors of ‘Jam24Global’, Wesley Thompson and Dan Ellis-Jones
How did the London Business Hub help?
We were appointed our business adviser, Temi Koleowo, who provided us with invaluable support due to years of experience as a business consultant and her expertise spanning across various areas. She has helped us in many ways, including finding finance options, testing our business plan, providing new ideas to market the business and generally giving us a confidence boost – which has been vital during uncertain times.
The one-to-one sessions with our adviser were very helpful to us, having that undivided attention and that support is undoubtedly vital. We could ask all the stupid questions without feeling too stupid! We really feel like we are on the right track because of our adviser and the support this programme offers. I would truly recommend this programme to other businesses who need advice and guidance to achieve their business goals.
How did support from London Business Hub impact your business?
Thanks to the advice we were given, we have decided to apply for the government’s Bounce Back Loan which made us revisit our expenditure and realise that prices have fallen, and technology has improved. This provided a lesson in continually checking costs and looking for new, and hopefully cheaper ways of doing things.
The London Business Hub has been a huge help to us. It’s probably bought us 6 months or even a year in time. Temi has given us valuable advice and invaluable confidence in ourselves and our business.Directors of ‘Jam24Global’, Wesley Thompson and Dan Ellis-Jones
Additionally, we are looking into virtual gigs now and have significantly reduced timelines, as we have the resources to speed things up. We have a renewed belief in the business now as a result of careful strategic planning and product development.
What is your advice for other business owners during the COVID-19 crisis?
Our advice to new and small businesses is to not give up as help is available. We don’t have to tackle challenges alone as there is support like the London Business Hub available to offer free advice. You get support if you’re feeling ill; and COVID-19 doesn’t only make people ill, it makes businesses ill too. The London Business Hub is part of the fight back to health.
What’s next for Jam24Global?
We believe once we navigate past the challenges and COVID-19 is over, the economic and social rebound will give Jam24 a massive boost.
Our big dreams and ambitions for the business still remain – we believe Jam24 will become synonymous with the best in UK music talent. It will be known for supporting artists in a world that pays them little and it will be the home of the biggest UK acts in 2021/22 and beyond. Moreover, it’ll be the place to come and have fun and find your next favourite track.
Wesley Thompson is passionate about music and new artists. The platform he is working on will make a difference to a wide range of artists.Temi Koleowo, London Business Hub Adviser
We are just about to get an app and e-commerce added on to our website. Once those are up and running, we will turn our attention on marketing to get bands and music fans aware of the unique community we’re building. We are looking forward to seeing our audience increase and bands sign up to increase their fan base. And one day soon, see a Jam24 band in the ‘Top 10 music charts’.
London Business Hub offers free one-to-one support and advice from a team of expert advisers – to book an appointment, please click here.
The London Business Hub Business Support programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF’s) Hub & Spoke project.
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