Serena Holmes is the CEO of Tigris Events, an award winning brand experience agency specializing in dynamic personnel, promotions, marketing and events. She has been recognized by Corporate Vision Magazine’s Canadian Events Professional of 2017 and was included on the W100 List of Top Women Entrepreneurs in Canada presented by Profit and Chatelaine Magazines.
She was also 1 of 5 national finalists for the Veuve Clicquot’s 2016 New Generation Award. Serena oversees a team of 7 full-time employees and 2,000 part-time events staff while spearheading new business and marketing initiatives for Tigris. She is an effective and solutions oriented leader with thousands of successful brand building event executions under her belt.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I actually didn’t start the business – it kind of fell into my lap! I was hired part-time as a brand ambassador and was promoted to management in the office. Within a year I was offered partnership and when the founder left the company in 2008, I bought her out.
Tell us about your business.
Tigris is a national event staffing and experiential marketing agency specializing in dynamic personnel, promotions, marketing and events. We bring brands to life with the power of presence!
- Tigris has won the Top Choice Award for Best Event Staffing Agency of 2016 and 2017.
- I was also personally featured on the 2016 W100 List of Top Female Entrepreneurs.
Where is your business based?
Our head office is located 30 minutes east of Toronto, but we are national in scope with close to 2000 brand ambassadors on our team nationwide.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The founder incorporated the business, set up our emails and bank accounts before I was involved. She leveraged personal connections to build our initial client relationships and later, we offered commission to our staff for referrals. We did good work and operated largely on referrals for the first 8 years – before starting to advertise and market ourselves online in 2012.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
For us, organic SEO has been the #1 way we have gained new customers. It has completely revolutionized things for us and brought in nearly 100 new leads year over year for the past 5 years.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Our industry used to be very exclusive, but since the popularity in social media, it’s become very mainstream. We find it difficult when the competition undercuts standard rates in turn making it more difficult to bill and in turn compensate fair wages. Keeping up with scalable solutions as we’ve grown, when it comes to managing our work, paying staff etc., has also had some challenges.
How did you overcome these challenges?
The quality of our work speaks for itself. Often times clients may try out a competitor and come back to us. We are slightly more expensive, but have better processes and staff that keep customers coming back year over year.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
You just have to push through.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Our communication, organization, attention to detail and our people separate us from our competitors. We recently conducted client testimonial videos and most of them commented on our professionalism. They know they can trust us to do a job well.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Ask for help as soon as you can and invest in marketing your business in a way that will bring you results.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
SEO hands down.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Unshakeable” by Tony Robbins.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I have taken a lot of courses in digital marketing and plan to take some sales courses this year to enhance my current skills.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I would like to hit $1,000,000 in sales in 6 months. We are currently at $600,000.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @tigriseventsinc, @serena__holmes
Twitter @tigriseventsinc, @serena__holmes
LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/tigriseventsinc, www.linkedin.com/in/serena-holmes-president-and-ceo-985bb4a