david-wilson_web.jpgThe subject of what we should do in this current economic climate comes up often.

There are two areas of focus I feel everyone needs to consider. First, there is going back to basics, which is doing the things that have given you the most success and comfort. Second, there is preparing yourself to take advantage of opportunities that will arise as the economy improves.

Take an inventory of your intangible assets: your skill, talent and relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Look to people who can support you, and people you have supported. 

Look at your involvement in some of the following areas: religion, education, fraternities and sororities, work and recreation.

These relationships represent invested capital that you have made over time: This is critical.

I often share with people that during the Great Depression, people had rent parties at their homes. They invited friends and family members to pay their rent. They rotated these parties in order to ensure that people kept a roof over their heads.

This anecdote points to the ability of the survivor and the support of the village. Hopefully, if you take this theme and develop it, it will serve you well.  

Once you have an inventory of your intangible assets, use it to call someone to offer help or support, and ask for help or support if you need it. If you only offer support, you will develop an asset when you need it in the future.

Next, you should prepare yourself to take advantage of the opportunities that will emerge as the economy improves. As part of the first theme, “The worst time to look for a friend is when you need a friend.”

We must prepare ourselves for the bad times as well as the good. If your inventory of intangible assets is poor, now is the time to enhance your skills and develop relationships: “Sow some seeds.”

Opportunities come to those who are prepared. Begin to develop relationships with people who have the knowledge and skill sets you desire. Don’t go with your hand out, but take something with you, an idea, a referral, an opportunity, a word of encouragement or a listening ear.

It may seem as if you have nothing to offer, but you do. If you are struggling with this concept, check out the Bible or the religious book of your choosing.

People don’t do business with deals; they do business with people they like. Also, people tend to like other people who support them in good and bad times.

Now is the time to develop relationships with a banker, accountant, lawyer, real-estate agent, doctor and minister. These professionals represent the most important relationships I have beyond my family. You can’t take advantage of opportunities unless you are connecting to people who are constantly aware and apprised of opportunities.

You might have expected a more quantitative discussion on what can be done to survive and strive in this economic climate. But if you don’t make mental and spiritual adjustments, then anything technical and quantitative I could share about the economy will not make much of a difference.

To quote a wise saying, “It is not the answer you seek, but the right question.”

The wrong question will lead to the wrong answer and the wrong results.

David L. Wilson is a financial investment planner and real-estate developer. He is the president of DLW Enterprise and Equifinancial LLC, headquartered in Miami.