Looking Forward, Not Down

My son has a few requests of poses that we do during a yoga practice when he comes to my class - one of them being Bakasana or Crow pose. This pose appears to be based on strength as you lift your knees to balance on your triceps without falling forward. However, the key to this pose is not muscle, it is your Drishti, or gaze. If you look down, you will fall on your face. If you look forward and set your gaze past your nose, you will eventually find balance.

The choices and risks we take in business are a lot like Bakasana. I started my accounting services business in late 2001. At the time, my background had been in Audit. When deciding what type of accounting services to offer, I quickly decided Audit was not the service line for me as a business owner. I instead decided I was going to hire staff to do bookkeeping services and I would do Controllership work for clients. When researching how to advertise and set up the business, I came upon technology that was going to enable me to deliver this service. As I started the business, there was no one that approved of my decision to go into this field as a “CPA”. I received comments from fellow practitioners at the time such as – “Why would a CPA have a business like yours?”

I was looking forward, not down. I could see the accounting profession was changing quickly. If I worried what others were doing or not doing, it would have wasted my time and energy with the business. I could have easily fallen on my face if my bet on the future was wrong or focused too much on what others believed. What I have learned over time, if you take the risk, you need to stay on your path and believe in it. Be aware of what your competitors are doing, but don’t make that your main focus. Believe in what you see as the future, while not getting complacent. There are always new opportunities and technologies that you need to stay ahead of. You should never get too comfortable and only focus on your current workload and resources. Try not to lead decisions in your business based on current constraints that will hold your business back. There is always a way to make it happen, it just may take a little more brainstorming and creativity to get there.

In recent years, the accounting profession as a whole has realized the tremendous need for accounting services utilizing cloud technology tools for collaboration. Audit and Tax have more and more regulations to keep up with. Businesses need someone to help them navigate and be successful in their business on a real-time basis. Collaboration between accounting professionals and business owners are key. It’s a re-emergence of the accountant as an advisor and strategic partner in their clients’ businesses.

However, we may find ourselves needing to go up into crow again…looking forward, not down. Not being scared to fall on our face a few times along the way. As a leader in business you will find running a business is not the same as you would have done it 5 or 10 years ago…well, really, even last year! Doing business the way you have always done is not what is going to take you into the future. The future is accessible information to make real-time decisions in your business, creating an environment of flexibility, employing rapid marketing and change is constant. It’s time to look up and take hold of the opportunity.

The challenge is - how do you see the future? How can you re-imagine your business and employ technology to change how you do things today? Blow apart your existing processes. Set them in the past. Embrace the technology that is out there and determine what can make your business more streamlined, more flexible, collaborative and successful. Don’t try to use new technology in the same way you used technology 10 years ago. Understand the most important needs of your business and find the technology and professionals that will help you achieve your goals.

Find a way to look forward and fly into crow without falling down on your mat. If you do fall, get back up and try again!