As unemployment drops, build a bench to keep your business on track

By James S. Cassel

As unemployment continues to drop, how can you attract and retain the quality employees you need for continued operations and growth? Already, middle-market business owners are complaining of challenges finding skilled people — ranging from top brass to rank and file. Without them, growth slows.

If you are having a hard time with staffing, you need to invest in solid recruiting, training and mentorship programs to cultivate talent from interns and trainees while continuing to promote from within. This will enable you to build a bench of up-and-comers who will grow to become tomorrow’s superstars. But the work is never finished. Once you have elevated them, you will have to find ways to keep them motivated so you do not lose them to competitors.

Following are practical tips based on our experience helping middle-market business owners meet their talent needs.

▪ Create a culture of learning: Job training, education, apprenticeships and internship programs are key. While President Donald Trump has talked about this a lot, he has not done much to advance this in any meaningful way.

▪ Locally, if you are expanding your business, you might turn to The Beacon Council or other agencies for assistance finding money available for job training as well as incentives for hiring additional personnel. An important point to note related to internships: Mind the laws and how any changes could impact you. Currently, interns must receive college credit or get paid for their work. However, there is some talk about loosening the legal requirements. Last thing you want is a problem.

▪ Hire the right interns and apprentices: Carefully screen for those with potential to eventually become full-time employees. There are tests. If your industry requires specialized knowledge, such as manufacturing or logistics, you will need to be open to recruiting folks with minimal practical knowledge. Just make sure you hire those with a demonstrated appetite to learn.

Focus on interns and apprentices who have intelligence, a good work ethic and the appropriate personalities for your company culture. Look for those who are eager, enthusiastic, willing to work hard and go the extra mile. As an added benefit, this approach enables you to “try before you buy” and minimize the likelihood of hiring mistakes.

▪ Provide compelling reasons to join your company: Beyond offering a competitive compensation package and positive workplace environment, you must roll up your sleeves and help train your hires.

Properly onboard them, meet with them regularly, and educate them. Just as important, develop a relationship with them. Give them mentors and assign them someone to shadow. You cannot expect a newly hired individual to magically learn through osmosis and start bringing value to your company on day one.

▪ Institutionalize your operations and training: Corporate “how-to” manuals with step-by-step instructions for performing job tasks, including everything from procedures for dealing with sales prospects to procedures for operating machines and equipment, can help train new employees and increase the effectiveness of existing ones.

▪ Keep an eye on available U.S. visa programs. This evolving area has been a great resource when quality talent has not been available in the U.S.

▪ Promote your company as a great place to work: Pursue media coverage, awards and other opportunities to showcase your work environment and business success. This can help attract new employees, including experienced folks who have been out of the workforce for a while, and also build morale to retain existing employees. If you build it, they will come.

Building a strong team takes time and effort, but it can bring significant value in the near and long term while giving you a significant edge over your competitors. It may be the difference between growth and stagnation.

James S. Cassel is co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, an investment-banking firm with headquarters in Miami that works with middle-market companies. He may be reached via email at jcassel@casselsalpeter.com or via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesscassel.

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Middle-market business owners should learn to take real vacations

By James S. Cassel

Last month, I wrote about the virtues of taking a gap year or a gap period. However, I recognize that not everybody might be able to do that right away or while still working. So, this month I am writing about the second-best option: taking a real vacation — i.e., time off.

Although it may sound impossible or scary to — get ready for this — disconnect by keeping your phone and all your devices turned off, it is healthy and important for your well-being as well as that of your family and your business.

What does it mean to take a real vacation? Many middle-market business owners tend to forget. I qualify as one.

We all know the reasons this is important: mental and physical health benefits, family benefits, reflection and relaxation time, the list goes on. But we end up working more than we should on our vacations out of fear of losing customers or business opportunities.

Fact is, depending on your industry, taking vacations can lead to new client opportunities. I know many people who have met some of their best clients or customers while on vacation or otherwise pursuing personal interests, such as golf or photography. Taking a vacation can also provide a good opportunity to test your succession plan.

In the financial-services industries, many of the big companies have policies requiring certain personnel to take off for two consecutive weeks without access to email. In part, they do this for security reasons in the highly regulated, closely scrutinized industries. Maybe this model should be considered across other industries for well-being not only for security reasons.

How do you check out without hurting your business? Following is some practical guidance.

  • Find the best time. We all have times of year when our businesses are slower than others.
  • Plan for your time out of the office. As best you can, handle items that require your personal attention before you depart. Determine who will take your place and have an internal system to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Ask your team to manage issues independently and only contact you if absolutely necessary, such as a true emergency.
  • Decide whether to tell your clients in advance that you will be out of reach. Often, the simple act of giving clients advance notice and telling them who to contact in your absence can minimize the likelihood of any issues. It is best practice to let them know.
  • Decide whether to have an “out of office” auto response message or whether you should automatically forward your emails to someone who will respond in your place and notify you in case of emergency.
  • If you cannot check out completely during your time away, you might consider allocating a limited time per day, let’s say one hour to checking your emails and responding to key items while delegating others. You might do this at the beginning or the end of the day. But you must stick to that, and keep your devices off the rest of the time.

I recognize this advice is easy to give but not as easy to follow. As I write this article, my office manager is offering to monitor her emails occasionally while she is on vacation, and I am not stopping her. I am not very good at practicing what I am championing, but I continue to try.

Life is all about balance. It all goes by too quickly. So, take the time to enjoy yourself, and you might find yourself — and your business — thriving more than you had imagined. Taking real time off gives you a change to reflect and plan. Use it!

James Cassel is co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, an investment-banking firm with headquarters in Miami that works with middle- market companies. He may be reached via email
at jcassel@casselsalpeter.com or via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesscassel.

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Cooper’s Take: What Is Slowing the Pace of Tech Take-Private Deals?

By Laura Cooper

Although private-equity firms have money to spend, the well-performing public markets and desire to exercise price discipline may be keeping them from splurging on take-private technology deals.

A report by investment bank Cassel Salpeter & Co., which focuses on initial public offerings and public company takeovers, notes there were 20 public company acquisitions for both private-equity and corporate buyers for the first half of 2017, compared with 61 completed for all of 2016.

If deal making continues at the same pace, the figure also would represent a decrease from the 50 deals recorded by the bank for 2015.

Of the 20 deals closed so far this year, 18 of them were made by strategic buyers—only two were completed by private-equity managers.

Acquisitions of public companies overall have dropped because of a number of factors, including large megadeals in the space last year, according to the report. Among the deals are Dell Inc.’s acquisition of EMC Corp. and Microsoft Corp.’s purchase of LinkedIn Corp. As a result, a number of corporate buyers are on the sidelines digesting previous acquisitions.

The idea that some corporate buyers are resting after a banner year for acquisitions may have been good news for private-equity players if public markets weren’t performing as well as they have been. For even the biggest spenders, industry watchers have noted that no matter the size of the fund, private-equity firms have been doing due diligence and practicing discipline when it comes to pricing.

Although private equity seemingly has been exercising control when buying in the public market, three private firms led the report’s list of most active buyers of public companies for the three years ended June 30.

Siris Capital Group, Thoma Bravo and Vista Equity Partners topped the chart with five take-private deals apiece. They were followed by a slew of corporate buyers including Oracle Corp., which made four acquisitions of public companies in the same period.

Although midyear indications suggest total 2017 take-privates could decrease compared with previous years, there is still time for private-equity investors
to put money to work in the public market—and potentially reap rewards that could result from bullish bets.

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Avery Moves Into Medicine ACQUISITION: Label maker buys wound and skincare company.

By Iris Lee Staff Reporter

Avery Dennison Corp. has taken a step into new territory with its acquisition last month of Finesse Medical Ltd., an Ireland based manufacturer of wound and skincare products.

Glendale based Avery built its reputation on self adhesive labels and pressure sensitive materials manufacturing. But it has pursued an acquisition strategy to create its industrial and health care materials division. Finesse Medical will become part of Vancive Medical Technologies, the medical solutions arm of the division.

“Overall, the acquisition will allow us to expand our product portfolio and manufacturing services for health care OEMs,” said Kirsten Newquist, general manager of Vancive Medical Technologies. “Finesse complements our existing production capabilities with its converting, packaging and regulatory management expertise. It will also broaden our portfolio in wound care with its silicone gels, foams and superabsorbent materials.”

New but familiar

Avery did not disclose the price of the acquisition, but it said Finesse Medical generated more than 15 million euros, or about $16.7million, in revenue last year. This will be a significant addition to Vancive Medical, which has hovered around $70 million in annual revenue in the last few years.

Finesse currently manufactures a range of products, including polyurethane and silicone foam dressings used for burns and ulcers. In skincare, the company manufactures creams and gels to treat skin conditions that may develop with the frequent use of adhesives.

But perhaps what most attracted Avery was Finesse’s manufacturing services. The company provides controlled environment production services for other companies that are trying to outsource product design and manufacturing development services.

Finesse has eight clean room facilities in Ireland that are ISO certified, where they can provide subcontracted manufacturing services like bottle filling and sterilization of products. The company can support product development from start to finish, starting with material sourcing and biocompatibility testing to sterile packaging and CE marking, a mandatory conformity mark for products sold in Europe.

James Cassel, co founder of Cassel Salpeter & Co. investment bank in Miami, said when companies like Avery Dennison venture into a new market, they do it cautiously, and do not stray too far from what they already know.

“Products they are getting into are in many aspects similar to their core business,” said Cassel. “From a due diligence standpoint, they also have experts on staff that can go in and evaluate a good buying opportunity.”

Overall, Cassel believes Avery Dennison is making a long term play into the new market. “They are an established company that’s been around for 80 years. They are an adhesive company that has become a packaging company,” said Cassel. “If you think about it, health care is such a growing area, it’s a natural transition.”

Veronica Lau, the director of Glendale Memorial Wound Care Center, agrees that this is a rapidly growing market.

“We are seeing a dramatic increase in all areas of wound care due to increasing diabetic and obese populations,” she said. “The aging population also deals with lots of trauma that bring them here.”

According to Lau, about 30 percent of her operation costs go into purchasing materials for the wound care center.

However, a growing industry also means fierce competition. Lau said. Her center has its own wound care council that meets with vendors to find out what products are in the market.

“I heard there’s something like 25 new dressings that are introduced every day,” said Lau. “But the market is such that materials are being used not only in outpatient centers like ours but for in patient and other providers.”

Internal organization

At first glance, the health care materials sector seems out of place at Avery. After all, the industrial and healthcare materials division only accounts for 7 percent of the company’s $6.1 billion of annual revenue. The rest is generated by the company’s best known products labels, price tags, consumer packaging and logistics tags for retailers.

Although health care represents a new application, Avery’s tried and true practices and strategies align well with industry. It’s an industrial supplier, selling mostly to other manufacturers rather than consumers. Also, the company works with medical clients to develop products, a system Avery is well familiar with in its other industrial sectors.

For example, earlier this month Avery opened a research lab in Santa Clara to develop packaging in conjunction with electronics manufacturers. And in the medical sector, Vancive worked with manufacturers to develop a blended antimicrobial material spread onto an adhesive to make a thin film dressing.

The company’s industrial and healthcare materials division sector, created at the end of last year, looks like a hodge podge. It includes performance tapes, fasteners, internal adhesives and now health care businesses.

Avery’s last acquisition before Finesse was Yongle Tape Company Ltd., a manufacturer of specialty industrial tapes in China. Avery explained in the latest earnings filing that while the purchase price was set at $190 million, the agreement includes additional opportunities for more to be paid if the business hits certain performance targets.

In a recent analyst call, Avery’s industrial and healthcare materials General Manager Mike Johansen explained the thinking behind the creation of the new division.

“This business is really an application specified function materials business that serves across the different business, particularly markets such as automotive and electronics,” he said. “They also get very heavily specified by either the OEMs or their tier ones or their development partners.”

Acquisition risks

Cassel said risks accompany any merger or acquisition.

“Sometimes when you are going into a new area, you can end up paying a high multiple,” he noted. “Integration can also be an issue. But looking at their history, they’ve done venture type of investing so, that lessens their risks.”

At the analysts meeting, Avery’s Johansen said there were more acquisitions on the way for the company.

“We’re investing heavily in terms of our internal capabilities and on our expansion globally,” he said. “But also, we’re looking to fill a pipeline of acquisitions that we think are actually going to accelerate our position in these markets.”

Cassel said for large industrial companies, it’s hard to grow organically because they are limited to the rate at which the whole economy is growing. So, despite the fact that Avery Dennison has tons of internal resources, growing through acquisition makes more business sense.

“To take a good product and make it better is sometimes easier than doing it from scratch,” said Cassel. “You take a product and increase units and improve on it. You can expand that way.

“You have to see it as a bullseye in a target practice,” Cassel continued. “At the center of the target is the adhesives, but the company is now moving out to the concentric circles, not too far from what it does best.”

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Selling your business? Consider taking a gap year

By James S. Cassel

So, you’ve sold your business. What should you do next? Take a gap year! While most people associate gap years (also known as “bridge years”) as a break between high school and college or between graduating college and entering the “real world,” gap years should not be reserved exclusively for young adults. As George Bernard Shaw famously said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” A gap year is a chance to get a piece of it.

The American Gap Association provides extensive information on its website about the growing popularity of gap years in the United States and benefits for young graduates. As the nonprofit accreditation and standards-setting organization for gap years recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, its focus is “increasing the awareness of Gap Years and their many proven benefits within according to its website. The site mentions successful programs gaining notoriety, such as the Bridge Year Program at Princeton University: “The knowledge, understanding, and skills gained through the Bridge Year serve not only to enhance a student’s undergraduate experience at Princeton, but also contribute to the overall strength of the University’s educational community,” the site reads.

These benefits are not limited to college students. I have witnessed highly successful individuals take gap years after selling their businesses, when they are not yet willing to retire but want to take some time off. They have used the time very wisely to attain even greater professional and/or personal success and fulfillment. Here is the secret:

First, make sure your financial house is in order. Consult your financial advisors and develop a financial plan.

Discuss your plans openly with your spouse, partner or significant other. This can help ensure you both enjoy the time and are on the same page.

It is generally best to enter a gap year with a “vision” for what you want to focus on doing, and preliminary ideas circling your head about what you might want to do next. Let these ideas simmer, without pressuring yourself, until you confirm your next career steps. As an example, I recently met a woman who moved to Miami to take a “gap period.” She is volunteering at various places, including the Pérez Art Museum, immersing herself in the Miami business community as part of her goal of understanding the local business environment and determining where she might best find the right situation or business to start.

During your gap year, you should focus on doing the things you always dreamed of doing, but never had the time, money or guts to do — travel the world, learn yoga, go back to school, learn a language or write a book. Or just hang out.

However, do not fall completely out of the game. Stay in touch with your contacts and keep your finances in check so you can be ready for your next move.

Your gap year does not have to be a full year. It may be a few months, or it may have no end.

I regret not having taken a gap year earlier in life. I missed a perfect chance in 2010 after leaving the firm to which I sold my business and before I started a new company. While I am not planning on taking one anytime soon, I keep this on my bucket list. For me, it will take the place of retirement. Maybe I will call it a “sabbatical.”

Why is this time important? Quite simply, there is no time like the present. That “perfect moment” may never come. We must prioritize ourselves and find a way to make the time. In addition to enhancing our quality of life (after all, the reason most of us work, besides enjoyment, is to secure better lives), it gives us more clarity to do the necessary soul-searching to not only figure out our next move, but also make sure that our next move is the right one.

James Cassel is co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, an investment-banking firm with headquarters in Miami that works with middle-market companies. jcassel@casselsalpeter.com or via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesscassel.www.casselsalpeter.com

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Cassel Salpeter & Co. Represents Boxycharm in Recapitalization

MIAMI – February 10, 2016 Cassel Salpeter & Co., a middle-market investment banking firm providing capital raising services as well as merger, acquisition, divestiture and corporate finance services, served as exclusive financial advisor and facilitated a capital raise to recapitalize Boxycharm, a monthly beauty box subscription service providing high-end beauty and cosmetic products. The amount of the deal, which closed on February 3, is undisclosed.

The team at Cassel Salpeter, led by Director Joseph “Joey” Smith and Vice President Philip Cassel, identified and approached KarpReilly, the private equity firm that provided the capital. Cassel Salpeter assisted Boxycharm through the closing of the transaction. The capital will help grow the business, expand the management team, and fund innovative marketing initiatives to support its mission to continue to provide high-quality beauty products.

“We recognized that Boxycharm is a high-growth company with a strong management team, and we were eager to get involved with a company of this caliber and support its next phase of growth,” Philip Cassel said. “We enjoyed working with KarpReilly and look forward to working with the team on future deals.”

The deal was completed on a tight timeline, with the Cassel Salpeter team going to market in early November 2015 and closing the deal in early February.

“We greatly appreciate Cassel Salpeter’s ability to understand our needs and move quickly to address them by finding the type of strategic partner we wanted: one that would offer more than just capital,” said Joe Martin, Founder & CEO of Boxycharm. “From our first conversation, KarpReilly understood the passion and vision for the future of the company and we knew that was the start of what will surely be a long and successful relationship.”

Added KarpReilly Co-founder Allan Karp: “KarpReilly is excited to partner with Joe and the Boxycharm team. We are very impressed with what they have been able to accomplish by focusing on delivering a best-in-class experience to their subscribers and look forward to supporting them in their continued growth.”

Berger Singerman attorneys Daniel Lampert, David Black and Mitchell Goldberg represented Boxycharm. Ropes & Gray attorneys Daniel Evans, Darlyn Heckman and Michael Ross represented KarpReilly.

About Cassel Salpeter & Co.

Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC is an independent investment banking firm that provides advice to middle market and emerging growth companies in the U.S. and worldwide. Together, the firm’s professionals have more than 100 years of experience providing private and public companies with a broad spectrum of investment banking and financial advisory services, including: mergers and acquisitions; equity and debt capital raises; fairness and solvency opinions; valuations; and restructurings, such as 363 sales and plans of reorganization. Co-founded by James Cassel and Scott Salpeter, the firm provides objective, unbiased, results-focused services that clients need to achieve their goals. Personally involved at every stage of all engagements, the firm’s senior partners have forged relationships and completed hundreds of transactions and assignments nationwide. The firm’s headquarters are in Miami. Member FINRA and SIPC. More information is available at www.CasselSalpeter.com

About Boxycharm

Boxy Charm Inc. is the premier monthly beauty box subscription service, delivering 4-5 full-size and luxury travel-size products of well-known, popular, chic, and up-and-coming cosmetic brands for only $21 per month. For more information, please visit www.boxycharm.com

About KarpReilly

KarpReilly, LLC, is a private investment firm, founded by Allan Karp and Chris Reilly, whose primary mission is to partner with premier small- to mid-size growth companies and help them achieve their long-term vision. KarpReilly currently manages funds and affiliates with capital commitments in excess of $500 million. Over the past 15 years, the principals of KarpReilly have invested in, sat on the boards of and nurtured over 25 growth companies. For more information, please visit www.karpreilly.com

Cassel Salpeter & Co. Announces Three Promotions

MIAMI – January 26, 2016 – Cassel Salpeter & Co., a middle-market investment banking firm providing merger, acquisition, divestiture and corporate finance services, today announced three promotions: Philip Cassel and Chris Mansueto have been named vice president, and Laura Salpeter has been named associate.

“We are pleased to promote Phil, Chris and Laura as part of our commitment to cultivating the industry’s top talent and continuing to meet a growing client demand for our services,” said James S. Cassel, chairman and co-founder.

Cassel, with experience in consulting and private equity, provides assistance across all areas of the firm, from financial analysis to advisory services. Primarily, he guides clients through M&A and capital raise efforts and supports the firm’s fairness opinion advisory work.

Prior to joining Cassel Salpeter, Cassel worked for Rialto Capital, a real estate private equity fund. He also worked in the Turnaround and Restructuring Group at Alvarez & Marsal. Cassel earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, MA.

Mansueto has extensive experience in the valuation of companies, securities and intangible assets for financial reporting, tax planning, and internal planning
purposes. He has completed purchase price allocations, impairment testing valuations, derivative securities valuations, and equity valuations under complex capital structures.

He has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst designation offered by the CFA Institute as well as the Accredited Senior Appraiser designation in the area of business valuation offered by the American Society of Appraisers. Mansueto earned a master’s in business administration from Rice University, in Houston, and a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University, in Fairfax, VA.

Salpeter draws on her experience to provide thorough, efficient analysis of complex financial transactions. In this role, she contributes to the firm’s merger and acquisitions, fairness and solvency opinions, restructuring, and financial advisory services.

Salpeter is a member of both The Florida Bar and the District of Columbia Bar. Prior to joining Cassel Salpeter, she worked at Conrad & Scherer and Ephraim Roy Hess. She also clerked at the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Broward County for the Honorable Judge Paul Backman. Salpeter received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, FL, and her Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

About Cassel Salpeter & Co.

Cassel Salpeter & Co. is an independent investment banking firm that provides advice to middle market and emerging growth companies in the U.S. and worldwide. Together, the firm’s professionals have more than 50 years of experience providing private and public companies with a broad spectrum of investment banking and financial advisory services, including: mergers and acquisitions; equity and debt capital raises; fairness and solvency opinions; valuations; and restructurings, such as 363 sales and plans of reorganization. Co-founded by James Cassel and Scott Salpeter, the firm provides objective, unbiased, results-focused services that clients need to achieve their goals. Personally involved at every stage of all engagements, the firm’s senior partners have forged relationships and completed hundreds of transactions and assignments nationwide. The firm’s headquarters are in Miami. Member FINRA and SIPC. More information is available at www.CasselSalpeter.com

2015 Technology Year In Review

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Greater Miami Chamber summit: Economic outlook positive, cautious

Swings in China stock market: For middle market, impact is more about perception than reality

By: James Cassel
September 21, 2015

For South Florida’s middle-market businesses, the greatest threat from China’s recent stock market swings and economic slowdown is the negative perceptions — more so than any possible bottom-line impacts. Although the recent news of China’s unstable market and slowing economy has given rise to institutional panic, the continued direct volume of business between U.S. middle-market companies and Chinese companies — in China, as well as the current state of Sino-American trade relations — confirm that the situation is not as grim as some folks would have us believe.

One of the key complications of America’s economic relationship with China is a lack of transparency. It is difficult to say with any certainty whether the data is authentic or manufactured by the Chinese government. Either way, the impact of China’s stock market fluctuations is more about perception than reality. If people begin blaming any U.S. stock market drops on China’s stock market or the slowing Chinese economy, they will begin to clam up and buy fewer luxury products and focus more on necessities. Indeed, we have to be careful that perception does not become reality. If your middle-market business sells to Chinese companies or consumers, you may have a problem. Most Chinese consumers are not wealthy, but members of the middle class and even the wealthy who love Western luxury products are significantly cutting back on their purchases. We have seen this evidenced by major brands like Burberry, Chanel and Cartier, whose sales in China have taken a major nosedive. For Burberry in particular, China drives approximately 25 percent of total sales, which is indicative of how much luxury retailers have leaned on China for growth in recent years. It also has an effect on U.S. multinational corporations that rely on China for their growth.

Furthermore, the recent devaluation of the Chinese currency, the Renminbi, may also adversely affect middle-market businesses with ties to Greater China, as Chinese products are likely to become less expensive and thus more competitive on a global market.

In addition, the currency devaluation also may affect the number of middle-market companies that have been reaping the rewards of on-shoring: lower labor costs due to mechanizing and robotics, faster release to market, and reduced shipping costs. Despite China’s increasing labor costs, its lower currency value and production costs today may be beneficial in making it more attractive again to manufacture products in China, or at least stay in China. As China’s economy slows, it will be important to consider that its expected use of fewer natural resources may have a global ripple effect in terms of lowering the costs of natural resources as well as shipping and transportation, which may also negate some of the fiscal benefits of on-shoring.

Beyond this, there are some opportunities for middle-market businesses to reap benefits. Consider: Chinese companies have made a lot of money in recent years, posting an average 9.5 percent year-over-year growth since the 1990s. Wealthy Chinese nationals, eager for an exit strategy, are trying to get as many assets as they can out of the country, so there is a strong opportunity to sell to companies or partner with Chinese nationals who come to the U.S.

Another benefit: Since many U.S. manufacturers buy from Chinese manufacturers, lower prices will give those businesses greater margins, assuming that their sales numbers don’t otherwise dip. Lower costs of natural resources will also help increase margins.

So, what are the likely bottom-line impacts to South Florida’s middle-market businesses? Unless you have direct sales ties to China or have material customers who sell or supply a great deal to Chinese companies, it is not clear whether there will be any impacts. Since the economic fundamentals in the U.S. remain generally solid, the greatest threats will not come from the Chinese market swings but rather from any negative perceptions and concerns about possible impacts. So let us all relax, take a deep breath and keep our perceptions in check — it is in our best interest.