About All Systems Go
All Systems Go (“ASG”), founded in 2000, is an office furniture installation, relocation and project management firm based in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”). ASG has been providing reliable services to organizations working on complex office furniture projects for over two decades. We had the pleasure of joining Louise Spong (Office Director) and Stewart Spong (President) over Zoom to discuss their experiences with developing a company, working with a private equity firm, and dealing with global tragedies while running a business.
Meeting Lynx at the Right Time
When Louise and Stewart started ASG in 2000, their goal was to thrive as a company and eventually, sell. The international furniture manufacturer for which they previously worked became their primary client and ASG continued to evolve. In 2007, the goal to sell became actualized when they met Brad and Joanna of Lynx Equity Limited. The acquisition was made official in 2008, which ultimately provided them with financial and operational security. The acquisition and its associated security enabled continued growth and success for ASG.
Building Relationships & Improving a Business
It is common knowledge that Lynx Equity Limited is an organization that seeks to acquire small to medium-sized companies from business owners looking to retire. However, Louise and Stewart were not – and are not – of that demographic. They were instead looking to sell with the goal of gaining financial security and pursuing an investment opportunity, which led them to meeting Brad and Joanna.
Over the years, Louise and Stewart developed close relationships with Lynx’s Human Resources, IT, and Accounting departments. They both commented on Michele and Heather’s help to find better insurance and answer HR-related questions. These three departments allowed ASG to focus on their day-to-day operations while ensuring their business processes were carried out effectively and productively.
Louise and Stewart recognize the value in being able to see their investment grow. At the time of ASG’s acquisition, Lynx had 9 companies. Fast forward to August 2021, Lynx owns 50 portfolio companies worldwide. Louise and Stewart continue to be informed on their investment and are aware of how their financial contributions are affecting both their business and that of Lynx.
People – according to Brad, Louise, and Stewart – are the backbone of a business and the basis for an organization’s success. The communication between ASG and Lynx has always been transparent and approachable, which made for a reliable partnership. The professional and emotional connections developed between ASG and Lynx created an environment of support, motivation, and positivity. These connections motivated Louise and Stewart to stay with their business and to prosper in the face of global and socioeconomic tragedies.
Unforeseeable Challenges, Creative Improvisation, & True Resilience
Prior to 9/11, ASG conducted 90% of its business in the United States. As a consequence of 9/11, ASG no longer does business in the U.S due to logistical complications. While many individuals might have given up hope in the face of such an obstacle, Stewart improvised and found a way to regain success for ASG. He did so by expanding ASG’s services to include Toronto and the GTA. Over the last two decades, the organization has built a loyal and understanding client base.
In the wake of the 2008 recession, ASG experienced having to pivot from exclusively installing office furniture to include working on kitchen installations across Canada. This ability to find an opportunity amidst adversity demonstrates the flexibility and adaptability of ASG’s people. This innovation also further illustrates ASG’s resilience and capacity to recover from a devastating economic setback.
Looking Ahead: The Future of ASG
Based on the many global hardships and operational improvisations experienced by ASG over the last two decades, it has been made apparent that people are critical to a business’ success. Without Stewart’s innovative thinking, Louise’s expertise in client relations and operations, and Lynx’s constant support and encouragement, the future of ASG could have looked quite different. Louise and Stewart are looking forward to continue pushing through the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic while enhancing office spaces with beautiful and sleek furniture. The pair hope to reunite with Lynx in-person following the pandemic to celebrate their accomplishments and partnership.