By Bailey Roth and Carly Silberstein
According to BDC, there are more than 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses in Canada – and we’re proud to celebrate being one of them, not only during small business week, but every day! Like many other businesses in 2020, we have had to adapt and pivot – here is our story of resilience and how we are forging the way forward to build for the future in these uncertain times.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, like the rest of the world, our personal and professional worlds were turned upside down. As an event and association management company our business, and our client organizations, rely heavily on the face-to-face meeting, conference, and exhibition industries. We knew that we were on the cusp of some major changes, however we did not anticipate the extent of these changes, or how long they would last.
It all happened so fast. We saw our international clients having to cancel their conferences, and within days our Canadian clients were following suit. With no in-person events happening for the foreseeable future, we had to make some very difficult decisions within our events department. We unfortunately had to lay off most of our event team to weather the storm. As a small team of 30, this was devastating.
However, as entrepreneurs, we learned to be resilient early on and knew that there had to be a path forward. While prior to COVID-19 we prided ourselves on being tech savvy, we made the decision to aggressively lean into the digital event space and ramped up our services to support both existing and new clients with navigating this unknown landscape. We researched a ton, we sat on countless virtual event platform demos and trainings, we prepared internal resources to support our team – all in an effort to learn as much as we could and equip us with the skills and knowledge to dominate this space.
Fast forward seven months, we’re ecstatic to say that we have hired back those staff members we had to originally lay off – and we have also hired an additional five staff to help with our increased demand in our digital event offerings. In the next two months alone we are organizing, planning, and executing more than 50 hybrid and virtual events, conferences, webinars, and workshops.
If we have learned anything from this pandemic it is that no matter how much you plan and prepare and how successful you’ve been in business in the past, everything can change in a moments notice. Entrepreneurs and small businesses are vital to the Canadian economy, and we need to support them, now more than ever. To hear about more entrepreneurs who have shown resiliency, courage and a willingness to adapt in our rapidly changing environment, check out their resilience stories.
Happy Small Business Week!