A lot has been said about how bad the recession was, how many people are still struggling, employment rates are not where they need to be, GDP growth is slowing, the housing market hasn’t stabilized, we could dip into another recession, and I’m sure you could fill in others here.
What isn’t written about enough is the abundant amount of opportunities that the rough times have created. A big part of success in business, and life for that matter, is optimism. When a series of challenges presents itself, what opportunities can you find?
One of the many opportunities I see right now is the availability of quality employees. Even though you might have seen headlines stating unemployment is low for skilled workers with college degrees, don’t let the headlines fool you. Many of these individuals might not technically be unemployed, but they are looking for better opportunities. Some look on a passive basis, some are active, but I see it on a regular basis. They could be part of an employer who cutback during the hard times, and then rode top performers to squeeze productivity out of them. Or, they might be one of the many who still haven’t seen a decent raise or a return of pre-recession benefits. On top of these candidates, you have the currently unemployed, temporary workers, and college graduates looking for positions. People want to work for fair, stable, fun, successful, and responsible employers. What is your human resources department doing today to take advantage of the robust talent pool out there?
Another opportunity in the marketplace right now is the availability of low-cost capital. Interest rates remain low, and investors continue to search for places to earn better returns. Recent comments by Federal Reserve representatives indicate that interest rates will continue to remain low for some time due to what they determine below-average employment targets. I have a close network with a number of bankers, and many of the national banks have more money than they know what to do with right now. They want to make loans. However, it remains a challenge for them to find qualified borrowers with decent credit.
On another note, some of the recent rules set into motion by the SEC and other regulatory bodies have opened the door for crowdfunding, which was much more restrictive before. Now, certain US companies are able to offer securities to the US public without all the previously required SEC registration and compliance protocols. It pays to seek professional advice when it comes to financing because there are a number of different options, all with different pros and cons. A professional advisor can analyze your situation and help guide you down the right path so you don’t waste time, money, and other resources along the way.
Recent advancements in technology such as new software products, advances in cloud computing, social media, and other technology have opened the door for smaller businesses to compete on a different level. Sure, this technology also gives the big behemoths advantages too, but they’ve always had the technology advantage. Smaller businesses now have an opportunity to be largely scalable without the need for a ton of infrastructure, to reach a wide range of people, and to utilize technology for better marketing opportunities…all within a small business budget.
In taking advantage of any of the opportunities out there, make sure to properly plan for future execution. Then, keep close score of your progress towards achieving your goals. These are the most important functions in achieving success in whatever you’re trying to do. There are many different methodologies and technologies available to help you do this so consult a professional to help you navigate your options so you can make educated and effective decisions.
I didn’t mention a number of other opportunities I see out there like the remaining low cost of certain real estate, and increases in consumer disposable income and spending, but there could be a series of posts about these topics. In the sake of keeping this post concise I won’t embellish on all of this, but take some time to reflect on your opportunities. Also, practice an optimistic way of looking at the world and you’ll be amazed at the doors it opens for you!
Chris Itzen, CPA, CGMA, is the founder of Itzen Financial, a full-service CPA and business consulting firm that helps clients in the areas of tax, accounting, business process outsourcing, strategy and performance, auditing and assurance, wealth management, and financial advisory. If you’re not already on the site, you can find out more about Itzen Financial and Chris’s blog at www.itzenfinancial.com.