It would not be going out on a limb to suggest that the last few years have been uniquely challenging for business leaders. From a global pandemic, to natural disasters and a volatile economy, the business environment has been anything but steady.
It’s perhaps more important now than ever for executives – particularly small-to-medium-sized business owners – to leverage the knowledge and experience of their full financial advisory team, including accountants, bankers and attorneys.
Charly Weinstein, chief executive officer of Eisner Advisory Group LLC, and Beth Kieffer Leonard, partner-in-charge of the firm’s Minnesota office, have significant experience guiding clients through both good and challenging times. They shared their perspectives on the key issues currently facing business leaders.
Q: What are your clients saying are their biggest concerns for 2023?
Weinstein: Inflation and supply chain. Supply chain’s not quite right yet, but getting better. And then, inflation and what kind of impact is that going to have on their business.
Kieffer Leonard: I would agree with Charly. The biggest concern I’ve heard is inflation, and the impact it has on all things, from purchasing power, to the cost of eggs to salaries.
Q: Speaking of supply chain, what are clients telling you about it?
Kieffer Leonard: They’re saying it’s getting better. The problem is that getting better sometimes means that they’re still way behind from where they were before. So that’s the challenge. Anything related to home renovation, things like appliances, etc., are still far out. The other thing that we’re hearing about is retail. There’s a glut of product that’s sitting everywhere. People are trying to take advantage as companies reduce their excess inventory.
Weinstein: We can still see that when we go into stores and supermarkets that there are ongoing shortages of some products. Although, our clients are telling us that delivery issues are not as acute. Indeed, in some cases we are beginning to see a glut, as backordered products are arriving and demand is slowing. Managing supply chains and inventory levels, especially with the potential for a recession, has taken on even more importance.
Q: With inflation and talk of a recession, what are some things you are suggesting businesses do to prepare?
Kieffer Leonard: What we’re really trying to encourage people to do is be very careful about overspending, avoid having too much debt on their books and have budgets that are realistic for 2023. And, having enough capital to accomplish their goals if something changes dramatically.
Weinstein: I’d suggest they do an overall review of their business operations. And, make sure that they’re right-sized if recession has an impact on their ability to grow. I would say to make sure that they are operating as efficiently and effectively as they can. And, another thing is cash. In any kind of recession or slow down, making sure that they have as much liquidity as possible.
Q: Do you believe the Twin Cities’ economy and its leaders are well equipped to handle a recession and why?
Kieffer Leonard: The beauty of being a member of the Twin Cities marketplace is that we are not dependent on one industry. We have such a diversity of industries that we are really equipped to handle a recession. Our lows are never as low and our highs are never as high. That enables us to be able to do the things we need to do both as a business community and business leaders.
Q: What guidance do you provide to your clients on the “war on talent?”
Weinstein: Employee experience is critical. So, making sure that you have an appealing culture, that your employees feel valued, they are paid appropriately in a very competitive marketplace and providing whatever flexibility may be appropriate for your business are all key in your ability to attract and retain good people.