Sharron Elkabas of MN2S tells us about connecting remarkable talent to global opportunities.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sharron Elkabas: Myself and my family are doing as well as can be expected. Fortunately, we’ve all managed to stay safe and well, and that’s got to be the top priority in these times we’re living through. The business is staying strong despite the challenges faced by the pandemic. There’s no doubt that these are turbulent times for the music industry, but I think the key is to stay positive and continue to look for ways to reinvent, innovate and diversify.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MN2S.
Sharron Elkabas: I’m the CEO of MN2S, a global music and talent agency based in London and Miami. I began my career as an event promoter, putting on club nights in London as the first wave of house DJs came over to the UK from America. This led me to start up a booking agency – which is thankfully still growing 25 years later! We’ve transformed and diversified our business dramatically over the years, working with live acts, sportspersons, actors, influencers, and more while building a presence in the worlds of digital distribution and celebrity branding.
How does MN2S innovate?
Sharron Elkabas: We’re continuing to review new and exciting ways to innovate and looking to stay ahead of the curve, as we always have been. In the past, we’ve consistently adopted technologies earlier than most other agencies in our space – we moved into digital distribution early on and invested in digital when other agencies were still relying on a less digitally-focused way of working.
Our innovation has been key to our survival through this pandemic – although live performances haven’t been an option and venues have been closing doors, the world of talent and brand partnerships has remained stronger than ever before.
The obstacles posed by the pandemic have inspired some exciting new ways of moving and shaking and driven innovation not only in our business but the industry as a whole. We believe that this a real positive and that this new perspective will remain as the world returns to normality.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Sharron Elkabas: We’ve had to readjust financially – like most booking agencies, we were forced to streamline during the peak of the pandemic, as the old model could not be supported during a time where all venues across the globe were closing down.
Another adjustment we’ve made is the shift to remote working – this is something I’ve hugely come round to. Like many others, I enjoy working in an office environment, but I am now completely open to the many benefits of working remotely, such as eliminating commute times and saving on office rental costs. It’s an overhead you never would have questioned in the past but could now be seen as unnecessary. A large portion of our team is now working remotely, and I feel we’ve adapted well to this change.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Sharron Elkabas: Yes, we had to make some difficult decisions – but when we face these types of unprecedented challenges, if you don’t adapt quickly, you won’t survive. We’ve never faced anything like this in our history as a business, but as always, we’ve risen to the challenge, adapted, and restructure in order to take it head-on and move with the times.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Sharron Elkabas: As ever, we’ve remained proactive over the phone, so some aspects haven’t changed. The obvious adaptation here is the use of Zoom and video chat – we spend a lot of time each day speaking over these platforms as opposed to meeting in person. It’s not the same, but it’s been working well for us and allowed us to continue as before without sacrificing the high quality of customer service that we pride ourselves on.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Sharron Elkabas: Yes, we benefitted from a grant in Miami, and of course, every little bit helps. We didn’t receive any grants in the UK.
Your final thoughts?
Sharron Elkabas: The landscape of the music and talent world at the moment is hugely exciting to me. We’re rising to the challenge that the pandemic has presented and enjoyed working with new platforms and technologies that have come out of this global situation and reshaped many business models. We’re continuing to transform our approach and welcome the news of the end of the lockdowns in the UK – we’ve noticed a real optimism, especially over there, as people begin to get back into gear, and we envisage having a successful 2021.
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