Every company wants to grow, but how you plan for growth can be a key differentiator for your company. At ConnectOne, we account for growth during our strategic planning and operate with the 3X principal. It’s important to think about whether today’s decisions, processes and strategies will be sustainable if you are three times the size. See more of my thoughts on growth and the 3X principal in the most recent segment of my Inc. Magazine Playback Series.
Posts Tagged ‘Small Business’
Today’s post-crisis world is sprinkled with glimmers of economic hope as we witness positive upticks in the auto, retail and construction industries. Economic confidence is on the rise and consumer spending and borrowing are increasing. While this is all good news, small business owners need to be disciplined when developing a growth strategy. In my recent Forbes post, I discuss why common sense is key when planning for future growth. Click below to read my full post.
There is so much noise in the media and the marketplace today that it is virtually impossible to hear one of the most important voices that need to be heard if we are truly interested in a meaningful economic recovery. Small Business usually plays an indispensable role in the need to create new jobs, and is the first to initiate capital formation for new businesses.
The consistency of the message is very compelling. Here is what they are saying to us:
1st. We need leadership in government with a clear and consistent message…
The recent debt ceiling debacle and the lack of a unifying message from our government is eroding confidence in our small business leaders. The message should be simple; Jobs and Growth!!
Every decision should be filtered through these two initiatives. Everything else should be at a different priority.
2nd. Do no harm…
The recent onslaught of increased regulatory pressures, especially those aimed at the financial industry and the constant back and forth over whether or not, and who will be taxed more is creating an uncertain environment for small business owners. Talk about eliminating the home mortgage tax deduction, or millionaires taxes for those making significantly less, or regulations which institute price controls do not instill confidence. Equally damaging is all the talk (and action) about cutting government, jobs, and programs all in the name of reducing a fiscal deficit that does not directly affect a small business owners’ day-to-day decision making. In short, we need a “jobs now, deficit reduction later…” or unbalanced approach to jump starting the economy.
3rd. Simplify everything…
We live in a complicated environment. Whether it is the discussion on the status of foreclosures or the Euro crisis, most feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the issues. Real time media, and ever increasing news outlets supply more information than is needed by most small business owners. It is important to keep it all in perspective and ask “what does this mean for me, or my business” and filter out the rest of the noise. Are customers still buying my product? Breaking down any issues and putting them in context of the things we can control, and those outside of our control, will allow for a simple fact based Q&A on the important issues.
4th. It’s all about demand or the lack thereof…
Constantly hearing about banks that won’t lend, or companies that won’t hire is a clear issue of demand… Our economy is not “central planned” and does not react to “pushing on string.” Everyone with a stake in helping our economy should remember that without demand there will be no hiring, or employment of capital.
In conclusion, most business owners still believe that the US remains the greatest economic power in the world, and would not trade places with anyone, anywhere else. With that foundation of support, we should look to build the confidence required to attract investment that will in turn create the growth we need to fix our economy…
While everyone is calculating the real potential cost of failure to lift the debt ceiling, and a potential US debt downgrade, few are keeping their ear to the rail and listening to those reactions that are occurring not on Wall Street, but on Main Street.
Confidence, that key ingredient in any recovery, is where the destruction is really occurring. The phone calls received in our offices telegraph this issue… Should I keep more money in a liquid account? Should I withdraw cash if the ATM’s don’t work? Should I cancel the contract on the purchase of my new home? Should I stretch out my payables? Will my credit line be available?
While none of these concerns should materialize, our leaders in Washington should not be happy that their constituents are asking these questions. They have consciously put their partisan bickering and ideology in front of the need to act responsibly and do what is right to heal economy and the nation. The damage to the confidence of the small business owner and entrepreneur is immeasurable…
While everyone is focused on whether the Govt will be able to make it’s payments or not, it is the damage to the economy’s engine of growth that can not be simply fixed by a legislative act or agreement. The damage will be somewhat permanent, and will take years to undo.
Fundamentally, I find the entire process flawed with previous spending being potentially constrained by a cap voted on in the future. The fact that our legislators would use this flaw to hold the nation hostage is appalling.
In the end, I am confident that we will come to a compromise, but at what cost to our fragile economy.
On January 13th I attended an FDIC held Small Business Lending Forum in Washington D.C which brought policy makers, regulators, small business owners, lenders and other stakeholders together to discuss the obstacles in small business lending. The forum raised more questions and problems rather than provide any substantive answers on how or what needs to be done to stimulate lending for small business…
While it was very encouraging to hear the more optimistic outlook from Chairman Bernanke on the economy, as well as an optimistic assessment of the regulatory environment from Chairman Bair, the lack of an effective plan to stimulate small and startup businesses was evident.
There were some common thoughts and themes:
- There is a lack of early stage capital
- Strong banks continue to lend
- We need a better appraisal process
- Banks should be relying on strong underwriting instead of collateral based loans
- Need to remove the uncertainty in the financial sector
- Real estate is the colateral basis for most small business loans
No one addressed the issue of how to provide loans to a small business that either does not have collateral, or has collateral value that is now impaired, and where cash flow is impaired because of the economic maelstrom.
If we are to support the small business sector, government will have to get involved and create the incentive to do so.
Most small and new businesses in one way or another rely on real estate to support their ventures…
- 95% of small business owners own their own homes
- 50% own the building or property that they run their business out of
- 60% own investment real estate
Clearly, real estate plays an important role in the life of a small business owner…
If businesses want to use the equity in their homes or other commercial real estate, why can’t the Federal Reserve allow for a future appreciation right to be attached for the purpose of creating capital? The warrant would self liquidate by granting a tax incentive or credit for any future profits of the business..Over a long enough time horizon, it is hard to imagine a scenario where the Fed would actually lose money.
Banks would receive a fungible source of collateral, the small business owner would get the funding they need, and the cost to the system would be negligible, or if done right, nil…