MONCTON – Symplicity Designs, an organizational design firm with offices in Moncton and Halifax, is offering free services to help businesses in Atlantic Canada weather through the downturn caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The B Corp has launched a series of free crisis management planning webinars with Q&A.
The webinars that have already taken place in the past few days were recorded and are accessible for free on the company’s website. Five more live webinars and a half-day strategy session are scheduled for the week of March 23. Business can register for those on the website.
Founding partner Matt Symes says while normally the company gets paid to provide such services, “this is not the time to hoard.”
“This is the time to get this information out there so that everybody can navigate this. If we can all navigate this, we can all come along a lot better. We can move along together as the economy finds its new normal.”
So far, more than 175 business owners have taken part in the one-hour webinars and have been invited to a half-day online planning session facilitated by the company’s organizational designers.
“People are scared and they don’t know what to do,” he said, adding Symplicity Design itself is not immune to the crisis working on its own plans, too.
Symes says the initiative aligns with the company’s purpose when it was founded seven years ago, that is “to make this region better.”
“We employ 30 people right now and we help a number of other organizations improve, innovate, grow. What that really means…is we help organizations get out of crisis. And once out of crisis, we help them scale,” he said.
“What’s going right now is a massive crisis with a number of business owners who don’t know what to do…and there’s serious economic uncertainty.”
He says many business owners are no different than most middle-class people. And now their revenues and accounts receivables have dried up.
Symes believes that while better times will return, the disruption to business will last for at least six months, and it’s “a serious one.”
“This is happening in March. Many restaurants rely on patio seasons to survive. Construction companies rely on spring fever to get jobs…A lot of the money that is spent in the enthusiasm of the sun coming out is gone,” he said.
The three things Symplicity’s webinars will help organizations with is clarity on the forecast of customers, cash and core business constraints; a plan on what to cut, control, improve and innovate; and an execution of the plan, which includes clear communication and a “cadence of meetings.”
As new information comes, businesses will have to change their forecast and plan accordingly. This mean, they’ll need to meet and discuss certain issues much more often if they want to execute properly, Symes says.
The many unknowns and the speed at which the situation develops forces businesses to act fast.
Symes said given the changes in the way people do business that have taken place as a reaction to COVID-19, funding agencies and governments should look at supporting businesses go through a digital transformation.
“Because if the economy is going to survive in any way, we’re going to have to get a lot better at working digitally.”