High interest rates have been a killer for the typical customer searching for the best price for food, household products, consumables and durable goods. Its even tougher for businesses trying to make ends meet. The purpose of this article is to offer inflation tips for the remote job seeker and entrepreneur.
Inflation and corporate bankruptcies
The Epoch Times, chronicled the spiraling upward climb in interest rates have had a disastrous impact on the corporate side. In fact, they point to statistics showing the worst conditions since 2010! Epoch Times cites data from Standard and Poors (S&P) Global Market Intelligence indicating 340 global corporations have filed for bankruptcy protection the First Quarter 2023.
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Beyond the potential implications for remote job searchers, almost everyone in the is impacted. For instance, do you buy bed and bath products? If yes, check. Do you regularly deposit or withdraw money from an ATM? If yes, check. Do you like to display your festive side using party goods, costumes and paper plates? If yes, check.
Corporate bankruptcies span sectors
To give you an idea of the pervasiveness of 2023 corporate bankruptcies littered throughout regardless of industry, a few of the corporate filers in the ‘More than 1,000’ million dollars in assets are:
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (seller of bedding, bathroom and kitchenware), SVB Financial Group (a silicon valley bank specialized in loaning money to start ups), Wesco Aircraft Holdings (supply chains distributor and supplier), Diebold Holding (maker of ATM machines), Cystera Technologies (global leader of data centers), Envision Healthcare Corp (a leading national medical group) Monitronics International Inc (home security systems), Avaya Inc (leader in cloud based contact centers), and Party City Holdco Inc (leading party goods designer and manufacturer in North America).
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Inflation protected sectors: for the remote job seeker
Based upon this dire information, one finds it hard to imagine the plight of the remote job seekers in search of a legitimate work from home or hybrid job now. However, when economic downturns are experienced and the markets go haywire, it may become the opportune time for eagle-eyed business aspirants, remote freelancers, gig workers and opportunists to identify and take advantage of the spoils left behind.
When interest rates increase, it adversely impacts almost everyone in the economy. There is one sector that benefits, however. The banking sector, says Investopedia “tends to benefit the most.” Where does that leave the remote employee, remote freelancer and digital nomads?
Well it means that you might strongly consider looking for gainful employment, freelance work or business opportunities in banking, brokerages, mortgage and insurance companies.
Inflation and entrepreneurial windows of opportunity
Inflation can open the windows and doors to opportunity. Especially if you are not in the job search market or would like to hedge your bets against a potential layoff.
Starting an online business is one of the smartest moves you can make to invest in your future. Now more than ever, people are putting their ideas into practice and becoming first-time entrepreneurs. It’s a lot easier too. With the advancement of online tools, starting a virtual, online and remote freelance business is almost a snap. Beginning a new business owner in today’s world is much easier than it was ten years ago. Booming online businesses make up a huge percentage of products sold. It’s evident that e-commerce, freelancer platforms and other peer to peer portals are here to stay.
Inflation and tips from Warren Buffett
But, during inflationary times, one must be extremely cautious. Don’t rush to start just any business. You have to be strategic. Listen to Warren Buffet offering sage advice on CNBC. For workers who want to start their own business during periods of high inflation, Buffet suggested:
- seek out businesses that don’t require constant re-investments (when the dollar falls, continual investments into the business becomes more and more expensive)
- search for businesses that do not require huge initial capital investments (drives down eventual profit)
- focus on businesses with an established brand (as no matter what happens to the fiat currency, it will still be demanded by consumers)
- consider the value of expertise and vocational training (helpful for others) who will pay for the service based upon replacement costs and not what they could have paid one year ago for the same service
- consider owning real estate
And, in consideration of Buffet’s recommendations, the beauty of running an online business is that the start-up costs are very low – you can even start some businesses without having to come up with any money at all. Young or old, people of all ages can create a business they love from whatever they’re passionate about. Whether it’s selling antique pieces of history, gift ideas, or selling services, there’s a niche tailor-made for your talents.
So who are the people who are breaking free from their ordinary routines, or from their cubicles and taking control of their lives? Many of the people who are first-time entrepreneurs are moms. Whether they’re stay-at-home moms or currently work in an office, mothers make up a large majority of those running Internet businesses.
Inflation presents business opportunities that spans generations
Putting their years of expertise from both life and business to work for them, many baby boomers (ages 57-75) are stepping out and taking the plunge into a new endeavor of starting their own online business. Millennials, with high digital literacy are excellent founders for technology and serve start-ups. They are well-versed in the latest technological tools and acumen in social media have so much to offer and can be rewarded handsomely.
Sometimes in a tough job economy, baby boomers are some of the first people to get laid off. It is believed that many employers aim to keep the younger, less experienced people on the job because they can pay them less. This may be true. Fortune reports that about 35% of Gen Z workers (ages 18-26), 31% of millennials(ages 27-42) want to quit their current jobs. Why? Because they feel they are being overworked.
Life isn’t fair. If you’re in the category of over-work, underemployment or unemployment; these conditions can serve as a springboard that catapults you into an adventure that can bring so much good into your life as you start working for yourself. In certain jobs, there are government mandates in place for when people must retire from that job, which is unfortunate in many cases because it’s those years of experience on the job that make them better employees than the newly hired ones.
Thanks to smart financial planning, most retirees (ages 61 and beyond) aren’t forced to work due to needing the income after retirement, but many choose to in order to keep their minds active and to give themselves something to look forward to. Changing from a life of active work to being home all day can be quite an adjustment and running an online business can make that adjustment a lot easier on the one retiring and his or her family. Plus, for those wanting to retire but who want to stay busy, there are plenty of opportunities available online to start and run a successful business.
Business Ideas during Inflationary Periods
ZenBusiness identifies these business ideas (many can be offered remotely without a brick and mortar site) that could prove profitable during recessions and when the dollar does not go as far as it used to:
- Online, Virtual, Remote, and Freelance Services
- Bookkeeping, Auditing, and Accounting
- Repossession Service and Debt Collection Agency
- Fast Food Franchisee
- Retail, Apparel, Business, Farming Equipment Consignment
- Cell phone, Printer, Desktop, Laptop, Tablet Device Refurbishment
- Repair Services
- Cleaning Services
- Event Planning and Management
- Childcare and Aftercare Business
- Security Services
- Home Staging Business to Support Real Estate Property Re-sells
- Property Management Services
But what if you already have an established business or you have many clients working as a remote freelancer or digital nomad? Here are a few tips based upon a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article.
Tips for Online Businesses during Inflationary Periods
- Make sure you have an effective tracking system that monitors each and every expenditure (where is the money spent, for what purpose, who spent it, when, and who approved of the outlay)
- Make the distinction between broad-based cost cutting initiatives and strategically targeted cost cuts, selectively trim costs, manage operating expenses ratio (OER), and prioritize ROI
- Ensure strategic investments critical to the company’s core mission are maintained (costs should be aligned with strategy)
- Analyze the real drivers of costs, dissect the rates, (prices paid) and the quantity or volume consumed along with the underlying drivers for each critical cost category
- Consider establishing a preferred vendor program to achieve even greater price breaks
- Re-visit the ‘make vs. buy’ decisions to eke out more savings
- Consider utilizing artificial intelligence tools to automate the analysis of data collected to generate even more savings
- Reduce consumption by establishing a make-shift spending ‘czar’ to break down corporate silos and create synergy thereby realizing savings
- Utilize cross-functional teams to analyze ways in which money could be better spent, resources better allocated, and costs saved
- Eliminate unnecessary work (zero-based design)
- Automate as many business processes as reasonably possible
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