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In Times of Uncertainty in the Economy, Do These 5 Things

In Times of Uncertainty in the Economy, Do These 5 Things

Ray Strothman, President Chairman

Today, you will read, watch, and hear things about the economy that make you feel uncertain.

I view the news in terms of how it will impact clients at our firm.

For example:

The Inflation Reduction Act (passed by the Senate on August 7), has been the latest in a lengthy season of marketplace volatility and attempted solutions. Even the most respected experts are uncertain what the outcomes of this law will be for businesses.

That’s in the headlines today, but there has been plenty to capture our attention in the last couple of years:

  • The fluctuation in market value and stocks challenge individuals planning for retirement
  • Mortgage rates have more than doubled since a year ago
  • Since 2021, we’ve seen a substantial market drop and an incremental rebound, but we have not yet returned to pre-pandemic conditions

As an advisor to entrepreneurs and business owners, I believe it’s vital that I not only maintain a well-informed perspective, but also have well-formed strategies that I can use to give our clients the best shot of success in this or any market climate.

First, Block and Tackle

These are not the first uncertain economic conditions I have seen, and they will not be the last. Every time, the businesses that thrive regardless of externalities have figured out how to block and tackle.

Now, more than ever, is the time to double down on planning. Look at your strategies. Get crystal clear on your sales and margins. Evaluate cash flow and determine how the things that are going on in the economy today are going to affect your business.

Keep your head on a swivel, ever-aware of new regulations, new competitors, new complexities, and new challenges that you need to safeguard against. Then, plan and prioritize accordingly.

Second, Evaluate Your Risk

As you position your business to maintain resilience in uncertain times, risk analysis is an ongoing task. Risks are directly tied to rewards, so the goal isn’t to eliminate risk, but to mitigate it. Diversify. Look into alternative investments or opportunities. Think outside the world of common stocks.

This is top of mind for Strothman Wealth Care clients. These are individuals focused on retirement planning. Some people in this category are finding themselves stalled, challenged by inflation and the rising cost of living. For them, we are actively investigating alternative investments such as REITs or perhaps pointing them to preferred stocks where the principal doesn’t fluctuate as much.

It is vital to find the right partner with the right knowledge who can help navigate some of these uncharted territories and give strategic oversight to individual and business planning.

Third, Readjust Projections

The Inflation Reduction Act will implement a 15% minimum tax on large, publicly held corporations. We know that what happens to these companies has a cascading impact on all types of other companies. An increased tax burden changes the game for every player.

At Strothman, we work with numerous S-corps that are pass-throughs and will undoubtedly be impacted by this.

A possible outcome is a decrease in the cash flow these smaller entities are counting on to support growth. Cash is what unlocks the ability to hire new people and develop new products.

In light of these uncertainties, it’s essential for companies of all sizes to readjust cash flow projections.

Fourth, Put People First

Economic uncertainties will always persist. What I know, and have known since my days at Ernst & Young, is that having a job with an exceptional firm is an honor. But that sentiment is less common, and talent acquisition and retention is an ongoing challenge in our field.

From day one at our firm, I knew that people had to come first. It is baked into our culture; it is our mission to build loyalty. That all starts with finding the right people, being as inclusive and equitable as possible, and giving people a career path for growth.

This is perhaps among the chief challenges most managing partners and partner groups would cite today. There is no easy answer other than to caution against a fully tactical or operational focus. People must be a priority. Without them, no problem gets solved. They are the enduring value of our company, and inherent in the value we provide in the market.

Fifth, Invest in Digital

The last insight I would provide as it relates to overcoming the impacts of uncertainty is to invest in digital. It is undeniable: firms and organizations that have successfully done this have achieved better and faster growth.

Having a strong brand and a solid digital strategy for earning visibility and a voice makes all of the difference. This solves many related issues, such as attracting talent or providing real and relevant support for clients. It’s the big modern imperative, and it isn’t going away.

Trusted Partnership in any Season

My goal has always been to provide trusted partnership.

We are all experiencing the same uncertainties. We are all threatened by the same dynamics, face the same risks, and are governed by the same laws of the land. Together, we can pursue the right goals at the right time, upholding our worthy values and supporting each other in times of need.

We work with businesses nationwide to help them understand the challenges they face, and find ways to bravely meet and conquer those challenges.

To learn more about our firm, visit www.strothman.com