Small business owners have seen their companies change overnight due to the coronavirus. In our #OpenForBusiness series, we’re highlighting Northwestern Mutual clients who have been forced to get creative in order to adapt to these unprecedented times and keep their businesses running. We hope you’ll get inspiration from their stories and help support them whenever possible.
Business: B3 Group
Managing Principal: Brad Palmer
Location: Herndon, Virginia
Our primary calling card is digital modernization services, from dev/ops to cloud and other service offerings. Right now, we primarily partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA); they’re our key customer, representing some 90 percent of business. Through our business partnership with the VA, we found a unique opportunity to support the nation’s medical infrastructure while keeping our roughly 200 employees across 35 states financially safe.
Every company has its mantra, its pillars of success. Ours are servant leadership, integrity, collaboration and innovation. They drive every aspect of our business, and that attracts people with the same mindset. It’s part of why we’ve been able to grow quickly, and why it’s so important to support them.
WE'RE PLANNING OUR OWN 'STIMULUS' PACKAGE
I think, like any company, our first goal was taking care of our people. Primarily, that’s meant keeping everyone employed and the business as status quo as possible so people can keep paying their bills. We’re fortunate that a lot of our work lends itself to a virtual or remote component — we haven’t had a single person who couldn’t perform their job. That reduces a huge stressor, especially while we’re all dealing with the coronavirus.
But we’re also looking into an internal “B3 Stimulus Package” for employees, kind of like the federal government.
WE'RE LENDING CRITICAL SUPPORT FOR VETERANS AND THE PUBLIC
The VA provides three primary services: It’s the largest hospital system in the country, it also provides health benefits and it provides cemetery services for veterans. However, there’s a fourth function that most people aren’t aware of: In times of crisis, the VA can make its resources available to the public, not just veterans, to help with overwhelmed hospitals. That recently happened in Michigan, for example.
Given our expertise in tech infrastructure, we’re super busy directly supporting the VA as it expands its capabilities and reach. It’s a dynamic situation, so the VA is coming to us with project requests and custom solutions for problems. For example, we’re working with the VA and NIH to build an IT platform that connects people and organizations with 3D printing capabilities, like the VA, with health care workers’ who have specific design requests.
In general, with the stimulus package, there’s a lot of money that’s tied to expanding search capacity, new features and other tech capabilities for the government. We’ve seen a big uptick on projects that expand infrastructure to meet higher user demand, and a lot of work in medical supply chains.
WE FOUND FAST-MOVING WATERS
Business founders will inevitably have to answer this question: What do you do when you, and the business, get hit in the face? How do you respond?
After you get past anger, denial, frustration and sadness about a situation, you get this sense of clarity in difficult times. It fosters a certain creativity, and you find ways to move into fast-moving waters to solve problems and help. I think, as a company, we’re in a position where we’re finding those fast-moving currents to help our staff and serve the greater good.
If you’re interested in our 3D printing program, or for other potential partnership opportunities just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brad Palmer is a client of Northwestern Mutual; he works with Financial Advisor Tripp Kelly.
Do you know a Northwestern Mutual client who owns a small business that has had to pivot due to the coronavirus? Click here to share the story with our editorial team.