Fresh from a whole month off, we returned from an overseas holiday sailing from Nelson on the South Island of New Zealand, going for family walks and visiting local vineyards with friends we were ready to start an exciting new venture. We had given ourselves February to plan and get everything in order before launching. However no amount of planning could sufficiently prepare us for what lay ahead. It was Monday 2 March 2020 and 33 local cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed including 1 death! Little did we know of the devastation to human life and disruption to the global economy that would lay ahead. It is quite unbelievable to think back to all that has happened and how much the world has gone through in just two years. Whilst there continues to be a level of uncertainty about future variants of COVID-19 and the impact these might have on people, there is a sense of optimism that we may have passed the worst. However, even as I write this, the news cycle is changing once again as we enter a new season of the unknown as Russia attacks Ukraine, and extreme weather events cause historic flooding across South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
In spite of the circumstance, we've so much to be thankful for.
Our plans for Story Strategist were always to create a local business that would give opportunities to young creative and entrepreneurially minded people to be part of something exciting right here on the Sunshine Coast that could compete with Capital City based businesses. We see great opportunity for businesses to thrive here. Over the past decade there has been significant investment to provide the infrastructure required for online businesses, access to graduates from the local universities here and in Brisbane, and a growing creative and entrepreneurial spirit that we thought would make it the right place to start a new company.
As organisations were forced to rethink their plans and look at new ways to communicate with their audience we started to receive calls asking whether we might know how to help. Our individual reputations in online, media and marketing, and particularly working with organisations in the not-for-profit space was enough to get us started. It certainly was not what we had imagined we would have started doing, but it was what was needed and frankly we were thankful to be asked with so much uncertain about the future. All we knew was there was no going back. We had to make a way forward for ourselves and we knew our success would only come from helping others navigate a path forward.
Our very first client was CMAA, the peak body organisation representing the hundreds of Australian Christian Media organisations including radio, online, print, television and on-demand media. The success of their very first online media conference lead to a number of referral opportunities from other similar media companies. Our strength in those early months was in helping build new online media platforms and hosted events however we then started to lean into our experience in marketing strategy leading several organisations through our S.A.P. Explorer and some through a more extensive strategic intensive. We were also asked to produce a multi-part documentary series for an emerging streaming media platform in Australia.
Our team is now five strong, and we're still "working from home"! We've remodelled the front of our property rather than rent office space. It has worked well for us as we've been able to stay nimble while riding the wave of lockdowns. The pandemic has forced many businesses to develop a work-from-home culture. In a sense this has been a gift to our organisation. Where we work from does not have to impact the quality of our work. We hope for a time in the future when we can revisit our original plans to locate in the centre of the business district. We believe there is a local appetite for marketing strategy and media production. In 2021 we hosted a 4-day event at a local broadcast studio facility and streamed it to the attendees located throughout the whole country. With the modern infrastructure available on the Sunshine Coast and an airport with facilities to accept flights from Interstate and International destinations we can imagine being able to expand our offerings to clients all across the country.
As we take a breath and think back to the journey so far and how it all began we are incredibly grateful to our many clients for trusting us with their brands and reputations. We know it is never easy to start a new business venture, but the opportunity to fulfil our goals to give a break to young creative and entrepreneurially minded people living locally here in one of the world's most beautiful places is a great motivation for us.
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We would not be here without our team, so to Simon, Liam and Faith - thank you for joining Jeanette and I (Stu). We love you guys.