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Omaha Magazine

Roundtable: What Keeps CEOs Up at Night?

Mar 28, 2022 05:27PM ● By Linda Persigehl

 Doing business in a pandemic era—with product demand high, unemployment historically low, and financial uncertainty great—offers real challenges. B2B reached out to three Omaha professionals to name the biggest issue they’re dealing with right now, and how they’re trying to best respond: Brett Clarke, principal/founder of high-end custom home builder Frontier Builders; Karie Milford, founder of/realtor with boutique residential sales firm Milford Real Estate; and Mack La Rock, executive VP for locally owned ACCESSBank.

B2B: What’s the issue facing your businesses right now that causes you the greatest concern?

BC: The biggest worry we have currently in our industry is the supply of goods. From lumber to HVAC ducting to windows, everything is taking longer, costing more, or even no longer available. Daily, we have to adjust to those ever-changing supply issues in order to deliver our product in a timely and fiscally reasonable manner.

KM: Inventory of homes has been historically low. As soon as a home goes on the market, [it] almost immediately goes under contract. This can be exhausting for home buyers and put a damper on their enjoyment of the full process. Our main focus now is making sure our clients have plenty of options so we can help them find the perfect home.

ML: The significant influx of government funding into the economy over the past 24 months has led to concerns of inflation and rising interest rates. Monitoring the impact this may have on our clients will be a key focus as we move forward into 2022 and beyond. Employee shortages, supply chain issues, and rising input costs are also significant hurdles being faced by our client base, requiring them to pivot/modify the way they are managing their business model. 

B2B: How is this issue impacting your operations?

BC: Time has been the biggest impact. It [takes] time to re-select products, time to reorder, time on the phone with suppliers, with clients, with crews. My biggest fear moving forward is that it will not get back to how it was.

KM: Having to almost immediately make a decision as soon as you step on the property, while ensuring the home is a good fit for them, can take some of the pleasure out of the search for a perfect home. We have to be strategic to balance keeping the process stress-free and calm for our clients, while also preventing them from feeling rushed to make an offer. Real estate is always changing, and part of being in the business is being able to change and grow to accommodate those changes. 

ML: Financial tech companies entering the commercial space are creating additional challenges driving the need for the banking industry to place more focus on digital delivery channels. Being able to provide a fast, efficient, and seamless client experience, while maintaining the personal touch will be key for the long-term success of
community banks. 

B2B: How are you dealing with this challenge moving forward? 

BC:  We can’t control this issue, but we can plan for it better than we could at the beginning  of the pandemic. We believe that communication with our clients is key. The longer this has gone on, the more we can game plan, adjust due dates for selections, and adapt our timeline. As one area gets resolved, another appears. I fear that cost and delays will continue far longer than
many anticipate.

KM: Everything we create, the client is top-of-mind. We didn’t want to limit our clients’ options, and through that process we cultivated Milford Select. We knew there was a better way, and it pushed us to be creative in solving their problems while serving their needs. With Milford Select, there are three options our clients can choose from when it comes to selling their home: we’ll buy their home as-is; we’ll purchase their home with a contingency in place; or we’ll sell it the old-fashioned way. It’s incredibly easy for our sellers, and they love it. We are always looking at ways to streamline and improve the client experience. 

ML: ACCESSbank’s substantial investment in technology and continued focus on relationship banking has positioned us well to expand our market share while continuing to be a trusted advisor as we navigate these economic headwinds alongside our client base. It will be of the utmost importance for our bankers to understand our client’s one- to three-year goals and objectives.  This will allow us to help guide their capital investment and financing decisions with appropriate leverage, while ensuring working capital reserves to weather the uncertain times ahead.



This article originally appeared in the April/May 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.