Garden in the WoodsThe seeds of the economic recovery are beginning to sprout a little. While the broader economy still has a lot to shake off and the investment, credit, and financial markets still have more garbage to take out, there are small signs of recovery underway that will eventually grow to big signs down the road. A few anecdotal pieces of information:

– It really looks like commodities have bottomed. They’ve flatlined for almost a full quarter, which is a major improvement over freefall. Sure, some of it is speculative, especially in gold, but lots of it is just ordinary business.

– BDI has bottomed and is slowly edging back up. If you’re not a follower of the world of freight and shipping, BDI is the Baltic Dry Index. Unlike other indicators, BDI is a price index to put stuff on ships. Unless you’ve got sales, you don’t spend the money to put stuff on ships and haul it across oceans.

– In a few conversations over the weekend, there’s a lot of new entrepreneurial activity going on. I talked to one guy who’s starting up a cash-basis real estate venture, working deals with landlords to manage vacant properties. Another guy is entering the biotech small business world as an importer of scientific equipment. Still another is doing regional direct resales of telco gear from shuttered companies.

One very interesting commonality among all of the folks I talked to with entrepreneurial ventures is that all of their business models – which at first glance appear quite sound – are also entirely cash-based. No one is touching credit, lending, or any form of debt either to run their businesses or as a way for customers to pay for services or goods.

This is likely to be the trend for a while, I suspect. No one is talking about equities, lending, or speculation, and rightly so – those markets are still incredibly unstable, subject to additional losses, and frankly, who wants to invest in the companies that got us to our current economic situation?

What does this mean for you? There are new opportunities beginning to spring up. If you have cash, if you have capital, there may be some great new opportunities to put it to use, either as an investor or an entrepreneur. If you’re looking for work, search more than just the big job boards – dig deep, use Google, find new businesses in and around your area. You might just find that ground floor opportunity you’ve been looking for.

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