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Surviving Covid with a Bootstrapped Venture: Kristi Herold, CEO of JAM (Part 6)

Posted on Sunday, May 9th 2021

Sramana Mitra: Has your sports league business come to a complete standstill? 

Kristi Herold: Yes, it’s gone, but it will come back. 

Sramana Mitra: Yes, it will come back, but you will just have to survive this period. 

Kristi Herold: For this new offering that we created throughout the summer, we were still calling it Sport Social Club. For example, if you wanted to join our Trivia event, we would call it our Sport Social Club Evening of Trivia. It was awkward, so we created this new brand called JAM. It has been taking off. It is really exciting to see that we have found a new way to help people stay connected through play.

The mission is the same. We are still looking to help a million people connect through play. When we get sports back, we will just do that faster, because we will have people playing sports and people playing online games. We will be able to do more corporate games events in real life. For 25 years, we were a B2C business that was geographically focused, but now we have a B2B business that is global. 

Sramana Mitra: The JAM business is B2B?

Kristi Herold: Yes. 

Sramana Mitra: How so? 

Kristi Herold: It’s all corporate clients. All these events that we are doing are all for corporate clients. 

Sramana Mitra: How do you acquire customers?

Kristi Herold: Through digital marketing.

Sramana Mitra: Digital marketing towards what? What are you looking for?

Kristi Herold: Basically any organization that cares about its people. 

Sramana Mitra: You are selling to HR?

Kristi Herold: HR, culture committee, owners, and CEO that care about their culture. They’re team-building events. 

Sramana Mitra: Interesting. 

Kristi Herold: Our MPS score is sitting at 80 right now. I am so proud of our team for that. Over 70% of events have been booked by recent clients. We have some big corporate clients playing with us now. These include Apple, Google, Comcast, Manulife, Pepsi, General Mills, and others.

Some massive organizations have found that it is important to make time for play for your people. When we connect through play, that is when bonds and friendships are formed. We know that when people have friendships at work, they are more engaged, loyal, and productive. 

Sramana Mitra: When your sports league business comes back, what level of revenue do you think you will be able to hit?

Kristi Herold: Your guess is as good as mine. It depends on a lot of things. I think that a lot of people have been missing out on their soccer games or their weekly beach volleyball games. People are anxious to get back. I know that for a fact. I have a son who plays rugby and he is dying to go back to playing. 

The determinant is the facilities. Will facilities have us back and would they be ready to let us use their spaces again? For outdoor, I am hopeful that it wouldn’t be a huge issue. I believe that as soon as we are allowed to play, we will have a lot of people ready to go. We don’t know when that is going to be. It is going to be an interesting first year back, but I am not concerned long term. I believe that we will get back and be bigger than ever because we will have a corporate side of things now. 

Sramana Mitra: Let’s say for the next 12 months or 18 months, you build the corporate business, That is going to be a substantial business in its own right. How would you forecast 2023? If we go back in 2023, what do you think would you do?

Kristi Herold: I shared a vision for our team for 2023. Our vision for 2023 is to be at $25 million in revenue or greater. 

Sramana Mitra: Terrific. I wish you all the best. 

Kristi Herold: One little tidbit, we have decided to rebrand our entire organization to JAM next week or the week after. It will be JAM Sports or Events. We will always remain powered by Sport Social Group, but we are going to rebrand. 

Sramana Mitra: It’s good branding. JAM is better. Thank you for your time.

To learn more about solo entrepreneurship, please study our course on Udemy: How To Succeed As A Solo Entrepreneur with Sramana Mitra.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Surviving Covid with a Bootstrapped Venture: Kristi Herold, CEO of JAM
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