Three years have passed since the initial outbreak of Covid-19 and businesses have had to pivot and remain agile to respond to a volatile market and changing consumer demands. Ongoing disruptions in the supply chain, unstable capital markets, and a changing labor force are just a few challenges businesses continue to grapple with as a result of the pandemic.
Most recently, several U.S. banks have collapsed, causing turmoil for not only companies who banked with them, but others who worried about the stability of their own financial institutions. As these issues continue to take root and demonstrate their staying power, how can middle market businesses mitigate risks during difficult times?
1. Build key relationships
Having trusted advisors that your business can rely on is paramount. In times of crisis, it is important to have an inner circle who can help the business navigate difficult situations. If your CPA was not one of the first phone calls you made for business advice during the pandemic or the banking crisis, then it might be time to find a new one. For middle market businesses, having an attorney and a banker you can trust is also critical.
Most wealth advisors would recommend diversifying your portfolio, and the diversification should not stop there. Considering the recent banking crisis, businesses should consider keeping assets at several institutions and try to limit the exposure of cash exceeding FDIC limits. Businesses should also monitor customer and vendor concentrations which can expose companies to certain risks.
3. Leverage technology
According to Citrin Cooperman’s Manufacturing and Distribution Practice’s Spring 2023 Pulse Survey, only 37 percent of middle-market respondents have fully implemented data analytics tools and processes. Data analytics, process automation, and artificial intelligence can help businesses monitor important key performance indicators, improve efficiencies, and understand customer behavior. If your business is not using technology to improve processes and efficiencies, now is the time to make the investment.
Though the future of our economy, a recession, or a possible downturn remains unclear, history tells us that there will always be another issue on the horizon that is out of our control. In business, as in life, it is best to be prepared, proactive and anticipate disruption.
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