We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Joe Costello. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Joe below.
Joe, appreciate you joining us today. What do you think it takes to be successful?
I honestly believe integrity is by far, the most important asset when running a business. It helps you make the right decisions 99.9% of the time and is an important barometer for how you treat people. The next important characteristic is honesty because the only way you can do business with people and sleep good at night, is to know you spoken the truth. Much of our success has come from our responsiveness. We get complimented on that aspect of our business all the time and it has definitely catapulted us pass our competitors who are lackadaisical about how they treat their customers and their requests. In closing, over-delivering what you promise is a must. Meeting expectations is not enough to stand out in the crowd, you must exceed expectations, go the extra yard and let your customers know you are truly grateful for the business they have given you the opportunity to handle.
Joe, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My father owned a large restaurant that catered to nightly guests for dinner but the facility had the ability to handle large weddings, banquets and private events. My father also played the saxophone in the Korean War which kept him out of the trenches and safe from combat. Both of these characteristics rubbed off on me and my first pursuit was to be a professional drummer. I went to a music school for 4 years and came out a better player and moved to New York City. While in NYC, I played around town, met and played with some stellar musicians, toured up and down the coast with a blues band and always dreamed of touring the world with a famous band. In the end, I can look back knowing I never really put in the hours of work it takes, to make that dream happen. While in NYC, like most creative and artistic people, I had to find a job to pay the bills. I started our as most working as a waiter, then went through various other jobs before landing at a startup in their technology department. Over the years being there, I went from an after hours position running financial reports to eventually replacing my boss and becoming the Chief Technology Officer for the company with 28 offices throughout the United States. Towards the end of this career (my own decision), is when the entrepreneurial bug bit and I decided to go out on my own. I started a software/networking company where we customized some off-the-shelf software to fit the needs of sale people in various lines of business. I grew that company from be just me working out of one of those shared office spaces to eventually having 8 employees and offices in New York City and Philadelphia. After 9/11 happened and the work came to a standstill, I decided to shut down the company and go work for someone else for awhile. In 2004, I finally left the East coast for Arizona where I live now. I started up the same type of company I had started in NYC, then I got out of that and started a home automation company and when the 2008 housing crises hit, I closed that company and went back to music full-time. I played 7 nights a week, I taught drum lessons at a small music school and privately at my student’s homes and volunteered to teach lessons for underprivileged kids at Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center. While booking and playing in my band, a friend of mine got us an audition at a really nice resort in Scottsdale, AZ. We went in and performed and they loved us so much, they asked us to play every Friday and Saturday night. Eventually as the band became more well-known and guest of the hotel would see us, we got asked to do corporate events, weddings, private parties, etc. Instead of me just telling the resort we couldn’t make it on a certain date, a lightbulb went off that I could replace us for a certain date, find the band, make sure who was replacing us was the same quality as us and also pay the band taking all the stress away from the resort on the dates we needed to replace ourselves. I guess you could say, that was the birth of Onstage Entertainment Group but it wouldn’t become that official for another 3 years. Finally in 2008, Onstage was officially born on paper as a real corporation and we went from booking one resort to adding on 4 more and now in 2022, we have a total of 12 resorts. We also learned during the early years that when corporations looked for a resort for their next event, they would walk through these resorts and see the entertainment we booked, performing there and asked if they could book that entertainer for their event. That started our next expansion with working with these companies called destination management companies which handle all the logistics for corporations holding events and entertainment is a piece of the puzzle that needing to be solved. We were positioned to fill that need based on our the fact we were already working at many of the top resorts in town. This aspect of our business has grown over the years and we now work with every major DMC in Scottsdale/Phoenix as well as some other states like Colorado and California. Currently Onstage Entertainment Group has over 500 forms of entertainment on our roster ranging from a solo instrumental guitarist to mentalist to synchronized swimmers in a pool all the way to bringing in A-list entertainment. Our success has been, we say yes in emails and on the phone and then we go and solve the problem or fulfill the request of our clients. We always find a way to deliver what our clients request and we don’t it with incredible responsiveness. Again, being timely and responsive is definitely something we are definitely known for in the business. I am extremely proud of the quality of entertainment we provide to our clients. They know we will always bring them the best of the best and the overall experience is going to go above and beyond their expectations. The other thing that really makes my heart feel good is we are keeping very talented people working all the time and for a fair wage. We are protecting the talent on our roster and making sure they are respected for their craft and adequately compensated for their years of hard work mastering their talents.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
Both my reputation and the reputation of my company is that we will deliver on our promise, we will always be on time, we will exceed our client’s expectations, we have the best quality of entertainment in the country and everything we do is with the utmost integrity and honesty.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
I believe when the lightbulb went off while I was a musician and bandleader and had the opportunity to use my entrepreneurial intuition to pivot from just being the bandleader and drummer of a band to helping my resort client rest easy knowing I was going to fill our spot with a band just as good as us. I mixed my knowledge of music and business to create what is now Onstage Entertainment Group. I can walk in any resort and after a few moments of observing the guest/patrons, I know exactly the type of entertainment that would be appropriate. The same holds true for events. Once an event is described to me and I understand the demographics and the flow of the evening, I can present options to my client that will be the perfect entertainment for their event. It’s a known fact that creatives are not always the best at business so I guess I’m sort of an oddity when it comes to this. I’m extremely organized and business orientated but at the same time, I know entertainment. I know what sounds and looks good and I know what fits for a resort or an event.
- Website: https://osegllc.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/osegllc
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/osegllc
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/onstage-entertainment-group-llc
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/OSEGLLC
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHqGYvwBagyZRwLSciQDWIw
Jo Ellen Verna Portrait