It is perhaps a huge understatement to suggest that Florida businesses and property owners have seen their share of excitement in recent decades, but flexible, determined entrepreneurs have always found a way through it all.
Remember the early ‘80s when the interest rates skyrocketed? In a misguided effort to fight inflation, the Federal Reserve drove up rates to the point where the typical home mortgage was as high as 18-1/2%. Bank loans were out of the question for most people, but sellers figured out that they could make nearly as much money off holding their buyers’ mortgages as they made on the properties themselves. That flexible thinking saved a lot of people’s bacon, at least long enough for the mortgage market to come back to its senses.
Then in 2008 housing markets were roiled by massive numbers of foreclosures. Borrowers soon learned that the banks completely lost control of their loan inventory and foreclosed on many people who never actually defaulted on their payments. Many Floridians engaged lawyers and stood up to the banks. Some gained enough leverage to re-negotiate their loans, while others were paralyzed by fear and ended up losing their homes.
In the intervening years, of course, we’ve had all kinds of storms, hurricanes and wars, along with business and economic woes. The common thread is that luck favors the prepared mind, and planning and thoughtfulness allows a person to react quickly to change.
Now America is going through a biological trial that is threatening not only our health and our families, but also our basic financial stability. Governments are struggling to give relief to businesses, which hasn’t worked out too well yet, but that may change.
In my mind, the key to dealing with abrupt, convulsive change is focusing on the basics of your business. That includes a strong understanding of your own niche in the marketplace, the value you offer to the public, and always building on your core competencies as a business person, whether it be technical knowledge, salesmanship, or customer service. People skills always count, as every business is the people business.
Also valuable is effective planning (including thoughtful estate and business succession planning) and having strong resources. A critical resource for many businesses (and property owners) includes capable professional assistance, be it accounting, tax or legal advice. Having (and using) your trusted advisers helps you to resist fear, overcome paralysis, and forge a bold path forward.