PROVIDENCE – Business management is an art, and adaption is crucial to survival.
So advised Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, who offered a unique perspective on the economic climate, business survival and what’s in store for 2021 in a webcast hosted by Providence Business News on Wednesday. Forbes was featured as the first guest in the monthly “21st Century Business Forum” series, which will feature perspectives from executives, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and business experts from around the world.
Speaking with webcast host and award-winning author Jon Gordon, Forbes recalled the lessons learned from his own experience shepherding his family publishing company through the digital transformation of the 1990s. While the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis are far different, the attitude of flexibility is crucial to success, Forbes said.
“The world is constantly changing, and you have to change with it, remembering what it is you’re trying to do,” he said. “It’s an art… trying to adapt to change without destroying yourself, but not letting being stuck the old ways do yourself in.”
Forbes, a two-time Republican presidential candidate best known for his flat-tax plan, also stressed the importance of avoiding big tax increases or increasing government regulation to allow for economic recovery.
A self-described fiscal conservative who alluded several times to his concerns with how the incoming presidential administration might create roadblocks for businesses, he nevertheless said he supported – and anticipated – another stimulus package.
“There are a lot of casualties out there but a lot of casualties can be overcome and avoided if we do a proper relief bill,” he said, naming eliminating barriers to the Paycheck Protection and Main Street Lending programs as the kind of reforms necessary to make another government package effective for the hard-hit small business community.
While he expressed confidence for a “full-throated commerce” environment later on, he forecasted the short-term markets would remain choppy amid health, economic and political uncertainties. Asked by Gordon what businesses and investors should look for as a sign of market recovery, Forbes named the price of gold as the “north star,” advising investors to treat it as an insurance policy rather than an investment.
“Gold keeps its intrinsic value better than anything on this earth,” he said, blasting the Federal Reserve’s manipulation of interest rates in devaluing the dollar.
Despite his concerns with how changing political authority at the state and federal level might create an overregulated and burdensome business environment, Forbes offered optimism about what the new year has in store, particularly in terms of the health care economy. He named advancements in understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and LASIK eye surgery as examples of how recent innovations have transformed healthcare, which in turn creates positive ripples throughout the entire economy.
Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.
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