The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
You cannot build a business alone. A business is the orchestration of people serving a common goal. Establishing the success ecosystem of people around your business – those who will advise, direct, recommend and implement your ideas – means carefully choosing people who have experience, integrity, loyalty and honesty. It is not one person but a community of trust principals who may or may not have direct influence into your business. And, of course, you participate equally in this ecosystem, which is reciprocity in action.
The most significant part your people ecosystem at this stage of building your company are business mentors. You will have more than one mentor but start with a financial mentor who will talk straight and provide you examples. This mentor is NOT a bookkeeper, but an experienced Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
CPAs have examples of both very good and very bad companies and they focus on the numbers (the language of business). This mentor can show you exactly where the turning points and trends of business are because they have dissected the lifeblood (tax returns) of hundreds of businesses. They know the secrets, the shortcuts, the mistakes and the key performance indicators that you must know and have in place to be successful.
Accountants are not advisors – they are historians. Let’s repeat that for impact – do not listen or take advice from an accountant on the strategic direction of your company. DO use an accountant for proper examples as to how to maximize inflow of money and reduce expenses. (We love accountants and do not recommend sending a cat into a dog fight by asking them for visionary direction!)
Key Point: The language of business is accounting. Do not let ideas or fantasy determine how you will build your business. Everything you do will take longer, cost more and require more people than you expect at the outset. In the end, it is the numbers that require first consideration. This is how success in business is measured. And, it may seem counter-intuitive, but the more tax you pay, the more successful you are, so get used to paying taxes. Even more, actually enjoy paying taxes as a celebration of your success.
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