Orion itself has weathered the crisis well, said Clarke, closing its New York and Seattle offices on March 13, and then moving employees at its other locations to working from home during the next week.

“Among our six different locations across the country, we’ve only had one employee diagnosed with Covid-19, from our Long Island office,” said Clarke. “They have fully recovered. There have been no other positive diagnoses we’re aware of. We’re really grateful that it didn’t spread, we were in a position to act quickly to protect the health of our teams.”

When the dust clears from the pandemic, Orion’s recent improvements may put it in a position to continue its growth in an industry permanently changed by the experience.

Clarke finds potential precedent in history: Dell Computer came out of the dot-com crash as the computer to buy both for businesses and households.

“Our industry has a challenge we’re facing, whether you’re in the business-to-business side that has relied on conferences to generate new business, or on the business-to-consumer side where you’re an advisor working with clients,” said Clarke. “Our traditional business models have relied very much on a face-to-face engagement and interaction. You’ve seen firms invest significant amounts of money into their offices, creating an environment that will help them win opportunities. As we move forward, firms, ourselves included, have to challenge ourselves how we’re going to grow over the next year, over the next year and a half, until we have a vaccine.

“How can we continue to grow our businesses? It’s not okay to simply stay where we’re at, we need to grow, and so we need to challenge this traditional paradigm we’ve all used to make connections with prospects and each other. The steak dinner isn’t there anymore.”

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