If it’s important to your club and you want to do it better, then GoBEST!
In our May issue’s cover story, Jason Mohney, Adia Foster, Kelly Skillen and JC Pomerleau of GoBEST! evaluate their first year of victories and challenges, and they provide a detailed look into what clients can expect in the months and years to come from this constantly evolving club management and consulting company.
(Note: This story appears in the May 2023 issue of ED Magazine)
It’s been a full year since Jason Mohney last appeared on the cover of ED Publications, a year that for the Go BEST! team seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. In that May 2022 cover story, Jason discussed the inspiration behind Go BEST!, the company he founded as a resource for the nightlife and hospitality industry, as well as his pride in his diverse, female-led organization. Today, he and team members Adia Foster, JC Pomerleau and Kelly Skillen join us to reflect upon the challenges, outright failures and noteworthy successes of the past 12 months.
ED: It may be difficult for readers to wrap their heads around the idea that although you have one of the most famous names in the industry, Go BEST! is essentially a start-up. Were there any unexpected challenges associated with that?
Jason: Yes, all of them. Go BEST! has resources and a lot of collective experience on our side, but it’s still a new business—and in many ways a new business model—so there’s a learning curve, a process of trying things, making mistakes and adjusting the course. At the same time, it had to be self-sustaining and help clients get profitable while we were still figuring things out.
ED: A new business model?
Jason: It was important to us to reimagine our approach marketing, operations, technology and purchasing, rather than copying what we—and others—have done in the past.
ED: Speaking of purchasing, Adia, can you tell us more about this facet of Go BEST!?
Adia: As the head of Go BEST! Bundles, we all knew it was borderline crazy to launch a Group Purchasing Organization coming right out of Covid, with all the supply chain issues and pricing chaos. But it doesn’t quite sink in until you’re in the middle of it. While it has definitely gotten better, it’s still pretty wild out there, and we still have to sacrifice our own profits sometimes to keep our brand promise and provide our clients with the best pricing possible. We’ve experienced technology outages completely beyond our control that brought down our entire platform for a day or two, but the client doesn’t want to hear “beyond our control.” They want their price, they want convenience and they want great customer service, so this was a year of understanding how to make the impossible possible.
Kelly: I think the biggest challenge for me was explaining to people what Go BEST! actually was. The name is an acronym, by the way—it stands for Go Big Entertainment, Solutions and Technology. Our objective was to take this crazy thing that Jason dreamed up and, not only to make it function, but to do so in a way that everyone understood. And there was a healthy amount of skepticism in the beginning, thoughts such as, ‘Why would Jason want to create this huge industry resource when he could go golfing all day? What’s it really about?’ But we all genuinely believe in it. It doesn’t matter if someone is a competitor in this or that market, when it comes to things like politics, legal issues, buying power, security and cybersecurity, we have to look out for each other.
Besides that, the hardest part was just keeping up with the growth of the company. Jason’s enthusiasm for thinking outside the box and discovering the next great thing definitely pushes us to limit on a daily basis.
“We’ve experienced technology outages completely beyond our control that brought down our entire platform for a day or two, but the client doesn’t want to hear ‘beyond our control.’ They want their price, they want convenience and they want great customer service, so this was a year of understanding how to make the impossible possible.”
– Adia Foster
ED: You mentioned cybersecurity. JC, as the Chief of Technology at Go BEST!, what’s your experience breaking into such a competitive space?
JC: I initially feared that it would be difficult to establish a foothold, but as Jason believed, the demand for a one-stop-shop for all your IT needs exists! The challenge was keeping up with the demand and understanding the amount of time certain projects can take. So there have definitely been some sleepless nights involved in meeting budgets and deadlines and surpassing clients’ expectations. The thing that makes technology a uniquely difficult field is the rate at which it changes; we’re constantly upgrading our own IT infrastructure to accommodate new clients.
ED: Any straight-up failures you’d be willing to share with the readers?
Jason: It’s a great question, because I think, in our industry, we’re hesitant to admit our failures. Over the past year, we lost a Go BEST!-powered club due to a drug incident. To be fair, Go BEST! was only an idea when it happened. We hadn’t had the opportunity to assess the club or work with the team, but that didn’t matter. Basically, an entertainer said the wrong thing to an undercover agent, which could happen to anyone, right? When our team got in there, we cleaned it up and changed the culture … and we lost it anyway, over one bad apple. It can happen that fast. A club that had been in business for decades, that made money up until its last day, can never be a club again. The only person who committed a crime wasn’t punished, and the managers and cast members who lost their jobs weren’t even the ones who worked there at the time. They had nothing to do with it.
I tell that story to remind us we all need to remain vigilant. You can’t keep your head in the sand. Know what’s going on in your clubs and do something about it.
ED: On a sunnier note, what would you each consider to be the success you’re most proud of over the past year?
JC: We just got back from a very exciting and well-attended Bar & Restaurant Show, where Go BEST! made a splash with our casino- and military-grade CCTV system. These cameras can zoom in on a license plate, a POS screen, a phone or read the denomination off a bill, not only live but after the fact, as well. If you’re thinking that’s overkill, it’s not. With all the potential lawsuits we face — insurance liabilities, demands for preservation of footage and, as Jason said, the need to remain vigilant — this is exactly the solution we need in today’s treacherous environment. We’ve installed the system in over 25 locations so far, and it was rewarding to see it resonate with Bar & Restaurant attendees. And yes, in case you’re wondering, it will be on display in August at the Gentlemen’s Club Expo!
We have also begun to nudge our way into the holographic technology space. While we’re not quite ready to reveal how, we can’t wait to unveil a futuristic view of the next generation of nightclubs.
“One of our missions at Go BEST! is to teach and empower our future leaders; how we accomplish this is through our SuperStar Leadership Training Program, which is … taught by Go BEST! ambassadors. I was very involved in VUniversity, I attended the Disney Institute training course and I can say with confidence there is nothing like SuperStar Leadership.”
– Jason Mohney
Adia: What we CAN unveil is that we just launched a new website called GearMeUp.com. This platform can be used by anyone in any industry, but it’s especially useful for bar and nightclub owners. We have every type of merchandise you can imagine, from apparel to bar supplies, novelty glassware and fun giveaways, customized with your logo. We always stress to our clients the importance of branding, so now we have this great tool to put into their hands. We don’t kill you with gigantic minimum orders like a lot of sites do—some items don’t even have minimums. And the best part is, if you’re a small business and don’t have a team of graphic designers at your fingertips, you can design everything yourself, right on the website, or Go BEST! will do it for you!
The most rewarding part of this year was being able to get AEDs (automated external defibrillator) in clubs, along with the training, because that actually saves lives, and being able to meet politicians and members of Congress to continue to dispel misconceptions about our industry, with respect to crime, human trafficking, etc. Once upon a time, I shared those misconceptions, so I get how vital educating the public is for us.
Jason: One of our missions at Go BEST! is to teach and empower our future leaders; how we accomplish this is through our SuperStar Leadership Training Program, which is made up of five stops around the country, taught by Go BEST! ambassadors. I was very involved in VUniversity, I attended the Disney Institute training course, and I can say with confidence there is nothing like SuperStar Leadership. We teach Culture, Hospitality and Promotions in Washington Park, Beverage Management in New Orleans, BOH and Club Operations in Las Vegas and Team Work in Kalamazoo, and if you survive all that, there’s a weeklong Master Class with me. It happens over the course of a few months with as many as ten attendees moving around the country in waves. The team put it together in our basement office, with sheets of paper and index cards and post-its lined up all over the floor.
Another way we continue to develop talent is with our Summits, where we invite leaders from different clubs to spend a few days together, tour the clubs, do some team building and exchange ideas. The goal is to get out of your own head and your own club and gain some fresh inspiration to take back home with you.
ED: How about GoBEST! developments on the marketing front?
Kelly: This year we formed a national, in-house digital marketing and social media department to service clients coast to coast. This includes digital strategy, content management — where we maintain the pages, schedule posts and monitor compliancy — and content creation, where our team of creators travel to the clubs, generate original content, but also teach leaders and cast members how to do it on their own. The team is comprised of a combination of longtime partners and friends, as well as some exciting new talent. All of them live and breathe what they do and exhibit the kind of enthusiasm we should all want to emulate. We are all constantly researching trends and coming up with new ways to outsmart algorithms, but what I’m super proud of is that a number of our team members started out as entertainers and began promoting on social for free, because they were proud of what they learned about how to promote themselves and clubs where they performed. Now they’ve transitioned to marketing executives, traveling the country and motivating others to follow in their stilettos and follow their passion.
Another area in which we’ve been fairly successful is in recruiting and developing new talent. The labor shortage and mass exodus from the hospitality industry is real, but we’ve created some effective methods for attracting great candidates on a national level. For organizations struggling to do the same, my advice sounds a lot like dating advice: Get out there and meet people! There are awesome men and women out there, but they have to know you’re looking, and they have to know what you bring to the table, so put it out there. At the same time, SuperStar Leadership and our other training initiatives have allowed those who’ve been with the clubs for a while to elevate themselves, so it’s a healthy combination of old and new perspectives.
“This year we formed a national, in-house digital marketing and social media department to service clients coast to coast. This includes digital strategy, content management and content creation, where our team of creators travel to the clubs, generate original content, but also teach leaders and cast members how to do it on their own.”
– Kelly Skillen
ED: You mentioned the ‘next great thing’ earlier; is there any fun, upcoming news in the world of Go BEST!?
Jason: We’re honored to announce a new partnership with Unfiltrd, a subscription-based platform for creators conceived by Stephanie Matto, whom readers may know from reality TV or—as she proudly refers to herself—as Fart Jar Girl. Stephanie had made million on OnlyFans when the site decided to crack down on explicit content. She wanted to create a safe space that would always be friendly to the creators that made it successful, especially ADULT creators. Most club operators despise subscription-based platforms because they view them as yet another form of competition, but we have a different perspective. Whether entertainers use their online presence to promote their live performances or vice-versa, we think it’s a win-win. Unfiltrd has had great success with hybrid live-virtual events, live auctions and PPV options, so we can’t wait to partner with this site and discover even more synergies. Our first live event will be in June at the third Déjà Vu Showgirls every created. Yes, live from Lansing, check out the Prettiest Butthole Contest, exclusively on Unfiltrd!
You can’t fight progress, you have to embrace it or get left behind. Next stop—the Go BEST! metaverse.
For more information, visit gobestbiz.com, call (866) 258-8055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email email@example.com.