Client story - New Sky Productions
Client Name: Grant Morris
Business Name: New Sky Productions
Industry: Video and photography production
Location: Nashua, NH
SBDC Advisor: Hollis McGuire
For Grant Morris of New Sky Productions, the beginning of COVID was hard. New Sky is a boutique creative firm that specializes in commercial photography and creative video production and after ten fantastic years, Grant explained that COVID had him feeling like he was watching his business slip through his fingers.
Fortunately, Grant is no stranger to resiliency and had the NH SBDC for support.
The photojournalist turned filmmaker has met challenges head on before. The New Orleans native moved to New Hampshire to be a photographer for a newspaper and found himself laid off just 18 months later and wondering what was next for him.
After a chat with a friend from college, he was off to Los Angeles to assist in the filming of a documentary and living in a community center for 3 months where he paid just $15 dollars a week for a cot and a shower. Even still, he caught the video production bug.
So, when he returned to NH for another film project and was offered his old job back, he took it, but did not let go of his newfound passion. For three and a half years, Grant did the hustle and grind of working his full time “day job” as a photojournalist, while continuing to work on building his business; something he dedicated his mornings to seven days a week. In 2012, Grant was able to leave that “day job” to focus full time on New Sky Productions.
“It was a grind.” Grant states. “But it was an awesome experience and made me who I am today.”
With a business to grow, Grant reached out to NH SBDC Business Advisor Hollis McGuire in 2018 where they talked strategically about how to make that happen. It wasn’t long after that that COVID hit.
“Things can go south so quickly,” shares Grant. “2020 was gonna be our year. We made a bunch of investments and when it was the time that things would pick up, things were shutting down.”
Cash flow was a real challenge, so Grant and his New Sky team had to learn how to support themselves through those lean times. “I’m not a businessperson,” states Grant. So, he needed assistance in understanding those aspects of running a business.
At a time when he wasn’t sure his business would survive, it meant the world to hear Hollis say, “It’s gonna be okay. Let’s break this down and create a plan.”
New Sky Productions was able to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) as well as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
“Were it not for the suggestions Hollis made prior to this time, we would not be in business today,” says Grant. Together, Grant and Hollis looked at financial reports and brainstormed ideas of how they could improve profitability.
Grant shares, “More than anything, Hollis coached me emotionally through this time. She helped me stay optimistic as I watched the hard work of ten years nearly slip through my fingers. This was a challenging time in many ways, and I can say that her support had a big effect on where we are today.”
Hollis has been with New Sky Productions through thick and thin, celebrating the most remarkable of highs and the most despairing of lows and everything in between.
With Hollis’ help, along with the PPP and Disaster Loan, Grant was able to continue business and achieve payroll for his small team; a team which he credits with keeping his business alive.
Today, New Sky Productions is in better shape financially than it’s ever been. They have also won NH Business Review’s Best of Business Award for Best Video Production Company six years running, along with many national awards.
“Our clients are what make our business so interesting,” reflects Grant. “We have traveled the world for them, met people others can only dream to meet, seen history unfold, and worked together with them to turn out some amazingly fun work.”
While Grant fully expects to feel the pains of this roller coaster again, he is comforted in knowing that Hollis and the team at the NH SBDC will be there to support them. “As far as I am concerned, Hollis is a member of our New Sky family and always will be,” says Grant.
And to those fellow business owners who know all too well how lonely owning a business can be, Grant says, “The SBDC never let up for a second. If you're looking for an organization that will stand behind you no matter what, the SBDC is the very first place I suggest looking.”