Blog - March 2, 2022

Opportunity in the Chaos

 As published in the February 2022 edition of Atlantic Business Magazine. 

As we wade into 2022 (pronounced 2020 too), it is all too easy to become distracted circumstance. The pandemic just won’t quit (but apparently, employees are more willing to quit than ever before), global tensions are on the rise with inflation and interest rates now a thing again. 

In the face of all of this, it is tempting to retreat, retrench, and play defence. It’s become socially acceptable to not try because of COVID, government rules, financial insecurity, or any other big story of the day. Nobody blames anyone for having a tough time right now, and misery loves company. At the moment, you’re more likely to be socially shunned for being upbeat or optimistic. It’s tough to find that group. So let’s try to start one. 

We are living through one of the biggest societal re-sets of a generation. Our way of life has been interrupted in ways we could not have imagined. Yet, there’s evidence of new patterns taking hold all around us. For example, video meetings and e-signatures, along with other digital or virtual solutions that were available before the pandemic but shunned by many, are now the norm thanks to the motivation of public health orders. 

When faced with this kind of dislocation of the status quo, there is an opportunity to re-imagine all or part of what you are doing. If you turn your mind to the options popping up, you can start to have some fun again. For many industries, labour has become more of a significant sore point. Finding good people is the cornerstone of many businesses, and it is more challenging than ever. What can you do to face this challenge? What creative options can you come up with to attract and retain the best of the talent out there? Working from home is more acceptable for clients and workers alike; can you take advantage of that? If everyone around you is short-staffed or does not have trained staff, what can you do to win in that arena? Can you change your compensation to include a bonus structure to put you ahead of the competition while motivating your staff to keep aligned with your core goals? These are considerable challenges, but the payoff for success could be a difference-maker. This scratches the surface. 

Look around. Do you have a network of intelligent, positive, and energetic people with whom you can discuss these kinds of issues? The connections and people we surround ourselves with do so much to enrich our lives, both personally and professionally. This is more important when going through disruption of this magnitude. 

As a financial guy, times like this highlight the advantage of having liquid cash reserves and a financial plan. Money means options, and fortune favours the prepared. If you are in a stable financial situation, you can set yourself apart from the pack and put yourself in a position to thrive when faced with upheaval. To be clear, I am not talking about making a big bitcoin play, a big bet on the direction of interest rates, a big bet for or against the law of equity markets. Unfortunately, many commentators and companies are promoting new and aggressive speculative programs, giving the illusion of a reasonable probability of success. Always remember the key to financial success is not hitting that one big thing right – it is about never completely blowing anything up. 

The investment advisor in your life should be a source of good information and points of view. They should be spending much of their time chatting with business owners in various industries at various stages, developing a robust and fulsome perspective for you to bounce ideas off. 

Build your team, get your affairs in order, and bring on the storm. Opportunity awaits. 

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