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Brad Knight Interviewed by Action Coaching of Madison

If an improv comedy company can adjust to operating virtually, we all can, right?

Brad Knight:  We are an improv comedy company.  We do three things;  Perform live comedic improv shows, teach public classes for the skills of improv and how to use it in your life, and we do corporate training.  Organizations hire us to improve the soft skills like team building and thinking on your feet.  We are also a jack of all trades, so we get hired for everything from murder mysteries to character acting.  We are the people who can do the stuff no one else can do.  We opened in 2004.

RM:  Who is your target market?

BK:  Our performances appeal to all of humanity since we do universal comedy.  For training, we have worked with everyone from the banking industry, to government, construction, retail, agriculture, just about anybody who wants their team to run better and be more open and receptive.  We use the concept of “yes, and” which is an acceptance of ideas and a positive energy that creates innovation and intuition.  We hit on listening skills, effective use of time, productivity and thinking outside the box.

RM:  What has been the greatest impact of Covid 19 on your business?

BK:  Our business is typically based on being in person and being in proximity to each other to collaborate.  That aspect has been hit very hard.  We don’t have a venue that we can perform live in at the moment.  Our classroom space is difficult to make safe.  Organizations are not having in-person conferences.  We have been working hard to switch for the moment, and perhaps beyond the pandemic as well, to offering a lot of online services.

RM:  What actions (pivots) have you taken to make a difference?

BK:  We are doing online shows, offering online classes and corporate services as well.  All of those have been relatively successful.  It slightly changes the way we approach things, and it slightly changes the experience for the participants, but we’ve been able to adjust quite well and provide a high quality experience for all those things.  We had to learn how to adjust for eye contact, for example, but being clearer in body language and speech.  I can’t look you in the eye, or touch you on the shoulder, for instance, so that has been a little bit of a difficult transition, but we’ve made it.

RM:  It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, wise people learn from the mistakes of others.  What mistakes did you make along the way that other entrepreneurs can learn from?

BK:  Lots of lessons.  I have had to learn how to balance growing really quickly versus stagnating.  We tried to expand too quickly and offer too much early on.  I am kind of cautious personally and as a business owner, so I had to learn how to take appropriate risks.  We had to work really hard to establish our brand and identity and how to communicate that to others.  We also had to take ourselves seriously as a professional organization, because I’ve watched a lot of competitors that don’t take themselves seriously as a business and get a little bit lost.  Yes, we tell stories and play, but to do that we had to become a high level training company and a high level performance company.  Everything we do is still fun, and a lot of laughter, but underneath all that, we are dedicated, experienced professionals and we know what we are doing.

RM:  What’s most inspiring to you today?

EM:  As tough as the pandemic has been, it has really pushed us to try new things.  A lot of these ideas that we are exploring have been on the back burner for years, literally.  The silver lining is that it has gotten us off our butts to try this stuff.  The pressure of the moment has caused us to expand and grow and try new things which is really exciting to me.

Contact: Brad Knight.

Offer:  A lot of what we do today hasn’t been done.  We are happy to put together a package to entertain your next meeting, create a parody of a meeting for example, or do straight up online training.  For first time customers, we’re offering a 20% package discount for your first purchase prior to 11-1-2020.