Starting a new business during 2020 might not have been at the top of the list for a lot of people, but it was for Tony Edwards of That Seagull Bob.
The catchily-named company has its small team dotted around Cornwall with its primary aim to make online audio and video as simple as possible.
Rebranding last August amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, That Seagull Bob was born from a desire to shift away from writing software and to move into doing things that the team considered a “little more exciting”.
“Covid was a big factor in the pivot, but it wasn’t the only factor,” explained Edwards. “We had a friend refer a client to us for a livestream gig, and we broadcast an event for 12 hours and really enjoyed it. We had far more fun than if we were writing software, so we thought let’s do this.”
With the changing nature of the way we do business – and with home-working and video calling now commonplace – Edwards and his team believe this can only be a positive for Cornish businesses looking to push beyond the Tamar.
He said: “The pandemic has removed the fact that Cornwall’s location is detrimental to your business, so we’re now playing on the same terms of everybody else as the new world has normalised video calling.
“I think that’s a big positive for business in Cornwall, as London clients will be able to jump on a video call and save money when compared against using somebody in London.”
With a highly skilled team across a diverse range of areas in the digital space, Edwards recently approached the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Skills Hub for help in furthering his business skills.
“The offer that the Skills Hub has is a really, really good one,” he said. “When you pivot there is lots of new skills that you need, and we also want to take on new people within the team and build them up from scratch. The Skills Hub is going to be instrumental in that.”
A focus on acquiring new financial skills is key for Edwards, with the immediate future being one that sees the company looking to shore up its client base and looking for business beyond the Tamar.
“The next six-months is all about solidifying our offer, where we work with YouTube and Twitch influencers to ensure they are getting the most out of their content, alongside our work with forward-thinking local businesses.”
Bethany Allen, Skills Hub project manager, said that with so many changes to the way in which many people are working, there has never been a better time to think about training and acquiring new skills.
She said: “In a recent survey conducted by PFA Research on behalf of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub, close to 80% of those businesses surveyed had made changes to their workplace or work processes. Investing in skills development and training is a fantastic way to overcome any challenges you may face, and will no doubt confirm the adage that learning unlocks opportunity.”