Too often entrepreneurs are so focused on running their businesses that they ignore the bigger, longer-term picture. As we have indicated before, one of the goals of our articles is to ensure that the middle-market community is aware of the turnaround in the.
Clearly almost every business in the U.S. was negatively impacted by the recession that we are still recovering from. It will take a long time to erase the memories of that downturn. So it is not surprising that many middle-market business owners, still reeling from the recession, do not “feel” like the recession has ended.
But the reality is more and more of the data points attest to the fact that the economy is recovering. This was reinforced earlier this month when Reuters released an article indicating that “U.S. exports hit a record high in March, buoyed by the weak dollar and strengthening global demand as U.S. trade returned to levels last seen before the global financial crisis.”
According to the Commerce Department, U.S. exports grew 4.6 percent in March to $172.7 billion, surpassing the record set in July 2008 before world trade took a sharp downturn. The March export rise was the biggest month-to-month gain in 17 years.
“It’s taken two-and-a-half years, but the level of exports has finally returned to pre-recession levels,” said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist with Capital Economics in Toronto.
Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, noted U.S. exports have now grown in four of the past five months and are up nearly 15 percent from a year ago.
According to Reuters, both U.S. goods and U.S. services exports set records in March, as did two subcategories – foods, feeds, and beverages and industrial supplies. U.S. exports to Canada and South and Central America also set records and exports to the European Union were the highest since July 2008.
I want to highlight Paul Dales’ point made above. He indicated that export volume has “returned to pre-recession levels.” This is huge news. Even if you are not operating a business involved with exporting products overseas, this news is very encouraging.
The news implies that the U.S. manufacturing sector is growing and eventually an increase in hiring will come with that growth. And new jobs will lead to an increase in discretionary spending on all items. Overall this is very encouraging news for all sectors of the economy.
So often we meet business owners who tell us that they will dust off theirplans and begin to actively look for buyers when “things start to turn around.” The definition of when that will happen varies dramatically.
I would suggest that the turnaround has already begun. As we suggested earlier this month, more and more economic data is telling us that we are on the rebound (see Key Economic Indicator Remains Positive). The best time to find a buyer and close a deal is during the early stages of each recovery cycle. The same will be true of this cycle. If it takes nine to 18 months to close a deal, dusting off your exit plan might be overdue.
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