Guest Spotlight – Raissa Evans – Thoughts on the Upside of the Downturn

by | May 15, 2009 | Guest Spotlights

Raissa Evans is the Senior Manager in the Practice Growth department of PKF Texas.  She attended the May 14th panel presentation, "The Upside of the Downturn" and I thought it would be beneficial for you to hear her thoughts. 

This week I was privileged to hear a wise panel of speakers speaking on the topic of the “Upside of the Downturn.” They were Val Gibbs, president of Bank of Texas, our own Byron Hebert, director of Entrepreneurial Advisory Services at PKF Texas, Alex Howard, senior managing director of Howard, Frazier, Barker, Elliot and Fritz Koehler, Executive VP of Sales at Insurance Alliance. Russ Capper, host of the BusinessMakers Radio Show was the facilitator for the group.

As economic news and conversation continues to be peppered with negativity, talks of cuts and financial hardship, at PKF Texas it has long been the conversation that it is more productive to our clients’ business strategy and frankly, morale, to talk about the opportunities. Action is, after all, more beneficial than the paralysis of gloom. These knowledgeable panelists came together to give their clients some insightful views on the present. Some key takeaways for me, that I thought might be beneficial to the From Greg’s Head readers:

– Val says some banks really are loaning some money, to some borrowers. Just don’t expect it to be as easy as it was. Have a plan and contingencies, communicate with your banker to give them confidence. Also use your banker for benchmarking – ask, ”How do I compare to others?” Approach your banker first, but other types of lending such as asset-based or mezzanine may be available to you.

– Byron affirms that his best clients are busy working ON their businesses. They work with him on process improvement, efficiency of their operations and conducting waste audits. It is also a key time to renew your relationships. Clients like this are taking market share. And inevitably, this economy and the brilliant talent making transitions is going to spark another wave of entrepreneurism as it did in 2003.

– Alex agrees that now is the time to position for your next growth period. Reflect, take time to do the right steps that in the faster times you skip over. Also, this is a perfect storm for wealth transfer planning for the next generation.

– Fritz warns of how the SALY effect (same as last year) inhibits most people. For insurance, it is wise to evaluate your strategy, take advantage of cost savings, and make sure you are covered for incidents. Protect what you have built. You can view your broker as an insurance vendor, or a risk management consultant that can help with disaster planning, loss control and contracts review. He says he encourages his clients to ask “What if?” instead  of “Oh, by the way…”

– All of the panelists agreed that this is a key time to provide reassurance to your top tier people. Retain them, train them, and engage them. Doing so will ensure that they do not become targets to your competitors. It may also be a time to recruit some star players who may not feel confidence in how their company has been handling this market. And above all, communicate with your people.

Feel free to contact Karen Love, director of Practice Growth ( if you have questions or want to talk to Byron or any one of our professional advisors. Or, let us know if you’d like to be included on our mailing list for events and news that may impact your business by emailing me at

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