In last week’s post, we gazed longingly into the Crystal Ball to look ahead at the year. Here, we’ll gaze into the future one last time, discussing a range of topics surely relevant to the way you conduct and run your business.

The Great Migration (Back to Work)

Just as giant herds of wildebeest seek greener pastures, your employees too will return from whence they came.

While the pandemic continues to steal headlines and as I continue to write this article, cases are as high as ever. Branches hours are changing daily, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Whether it’s due to warmer temperatures, vaccination roll outs, or herd immunity, many believe the pandemic’s peak is upon us. The downward curve is fast approaching and health and business experts alike agree that the post-pandemic world is within reach.

Your employees, who are still working in their home offices, kitchen tables, or closets under the stairs, will have to physically return to their places of employment. It could be on a flex schedule or full-time basis. No matter what, though, they are returning and you and your organization must be prepared for them.

Aside from some bottles of sanitizer, chances are that your corporate offices are not prepared for a proper return. Do your current offices need to be renovated accordingly? Are you looking into the future for an entirely different office building? If so, we have created the “L5 HQ” program, which is meant to assess your corporate office needs.

The Cost of Things

The cost of doing business, specifically in the Design-Build world, has been greatly impacted by the pandemic. As we look ahead to 2021, there will be carryover from 2020 along the following fronts:

Labor

One of the ironic impacts from the pandemic has been the boom to the construction industry. If you have not done something to your home, the chances are, your neighbor has. Ever since the first wave of lockdowns commenced back in March, there was a massive rise in DIY projects. All of a sudden, desires arose to landscape yards, update kitchens, overhaul master baths, finish unfinished basements (guilty), and build out those home offices.

While on the surface, this all sounds residential and not commercial, an impact on labor is seen across sectors. You see, the crew doing your home project may also be the sub-contractor at the complex up the road.

Thus, we have a national labor shortage, with states like New York, Florida, California and Texas particularly feeling the pinch.

This is where planning ahead and having the right General Contractor for your branch or headquarters project really count.

The right GC has existing relationships with the local sub-contractors who pour the concrete, set the framing, and manage all the other elements that make up your building. Subs tend to allow themselves to be hired out by those they trust, and those who feed them continued work. A local General Contractor typically does not have the pull and project load compared to a national outfit.

Materials

So, if there is a labor shortage, that must mean that there are many projects abound and materials are in short supply. When supply is short, costs go up. Timber in particular has struggled to keep up with demand. While our projects continue to stay on budget, we are aware of the national timber shortage and have seen it impacting jobs across the country.

Regardless, post-pandemic prices have not dipped, but are instead rising slightly. There will likely be a leveling off by mid-summer. Projects in the construction industry have stayed steady, however.

Q&A RE M&A

I sat down with our lead consultant, John Hyche. His reputation as a thought leader in the industry has continued throughout his nearly 30-year career. John is no stranger to Mergers and Acquisitions, having been involved in heading many consulting engagements with clients over the years.

I asked John his thoughts regarding Mergers and Acquisitions and the below is a summary of his thoughts:

Mergers and Acquisitions will continue to be a trend within the industry. While the pandemic and post-pandemic world has its influence, the trends and reasonings behind the topic are consistent.
They can be broken down into 3 broad categories.
The first we’ll call “The Smaller Players.” These community based FI’s are typically operating a small handful of branches in their comfortable corner of a given market, with assets in the single digit millions to low double digits. They are surrounded by larger players, both in asset size, branch network and most importantly, efficiencies. The smaller players may ultimately find themselves at a precipice, where the cannot grow. Conversely, they may fill a niche for a local larger player, and so a M&A play commences.
The second scenario we’ll call “Merger of Equals.” This is when two like FI’s see complimentary components with one another. They may be similar, but also are seen as filling in gaps to one another. Whether it be geography (east side of town vs. west side), innovations, product offerings, customer base, etc. A merger of these “equals” is seen as a much faster growth route than doing it organically. This makes a lot of sense, but a critical component to the post-merger success is the personnel, with many organizations struggling to right-size their staff after the fact.
The third broad scenario we’ll call “The De Novo.” This is a new FI, from scratch. The advantage that a De Novo bank or credit union has is they can build whatever type of FI they want. They are not burdened by being branch first, tech first, on an old core system, or operating in the wrong trade areas. While De Novo FI’s may begin existence by filling a void in the market, ultimately, they may cause enough of a fuss for the bigger players in the market to begin to entertain an acquisition play. In fact, this may very well be the de novo strategy all along.

So there you have it, our Crystal Ball for 2021.

If you’d like to learn more, need to discuss your corporate office, or interested in our M&A Consulting Packages, Contact Us today.