Every year it amazes me how tax time seems to creep up on all of us. The reverse sentiment is at play when we realize that summer has decided to make its way through the cold winters. Instead of playing on a beach or taking a sunset cruise, we realize that it’s time to pay the tax man, yet again.
Experts and mental health professionals regularly discuss seasonal depression. We have also heard about many soldiers coming back from combat with PTSD. Let me be abundantly clear, taxes are not the same thing as risking your life for your country’s freedom. Even the strongest soldier would agree (because I have asked quite a few) that the Internal Revenue Service scares the hell out of the majority of American taxpayers.
Think about it for a moment, our military goes into battle with intense strategy, strength, and tools to identify, neutralize, and defeat any threat that our nation faces. Now, if you’re in business, you should start to operate as if you are the General. It is up to you if your team pushes forward, achieves that sales goal, or, at the very least, takes home the paycheck they need to feed their family.
These radical thoughts are things I use to provoke my mind into new ideas. These topics have become regular discussions with friends and family. In the last year or so, this idea of being my own business’s General is an idea I have learned to embrace. I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on your business and decide if you are going to be a General or, sadly, be defeated. After all, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, about 20% of small businesses fail in the first year. You can be a statistic or you can be the other 80%.
Stick with me because I have yet another reference to put this in perspective. When a couple is at the altar and saying their vows, do they truly know what life will present them with? When you hire your first employee, do you expect them to be with you for the rest of their professional life? In the relationships that I have seen succeed, and there are very few, I see couples that reaffirm their vows, officially and unofficially, to the person that was standing with them at the altar. They do it again during another chapter of their lives, and so forth. People change, people evolve – and so does your business.
We started with the idea of taxes and ended up in this place of the evolution of our company. If you were to tell my Father that he would have a remote bookkeeper and payroll expert managing his Connecticut-based business from Florida a decade ago, he would have laughed in your face. “I can handle it,” he would say.
Guess what? He probably could have. How well could he have done it though? As I’m sure you have read and seen before, my Father is a Master Electrician and taught me my initial fundamentals on what it meant to be a businessperson. Was he always right? Absolutely not. Does he realize when something needs adaptation and change? With resistance, but, yes.
Going full circle, each company has a series of evolutions. We start with the young ambitious professional who is ready to kick the world’s ass. We move on through hiring the first employee, making your first million in sales, and the like. Imagine if you had the knowledge you have learned over the years coupled with the technology and resources available from day one – well, you’d likely not be reading this article.
As I see it business boils down to the following:
- To succeed, it all starts with ambition and a great idea.
- Going into business means going into battle with a fluid economy and we must be prepared for the ups and downs.
- Celebrate your accomplishments while learning from your mistakes.
- Run your business as if you had a boss and/or board to answer to.
- Create and cultivate a great team of professionals.
If you are reading this having a realization that you may have dismissed some ideas or people that put you out of your comfort zone, you are not alone. This is so common it’s scary. We’ve agreed that we go into battle with all the necessary gear needed to survive. Why not go into the boardroom with the same mentality? This is your business; don’t you want to see it survive too?
Being tax time, you may be putting on your defenses because you weren’t prepared. You either totally ignored it or you figured that someone was handling it. At the end of the day, that is your responsibility. That responsibility means that if you are the smartest person in the room, you have failed. That blatant failure is a result of you limiting yourself to your own ideas.
Now, if you are the specialist in your trade and/or industry, how the hell are you going to tell me that you are also the specialist of all the other things that make up a company — accounting, marketing, sales, human resources, and the list goes on. In this piece, I wanted to focus on the numbers because, well, it’s what I do.
If today you aren't able to tell me roughly what your gross receipts were last year, or, if that loan you received was paid-in-full, then you need to stop in your tracks because you are lost my friend. This is not meant to instill fear. It is meant to be a wake up call before it’s too late. Hire the right people around you to make sure that you are ready for anything and everything that comes your way.
I’ll be talking more about this in my next podcast episode, The Business Battlefield, found wherever you listen to Podcasts. I encourage you to join the conversation and let us know about you and your business. Further, if there’s anything our team can do to better arm you, please reach out.
Thanks for reading and, as always, thank you for being the best part of Digisist.
Christopher M. Calkins Jr. is the owner of Digisist, a bookkeeping and payroll firm servicing clients in the United States. Chris also works with business owners to guide them through building better and more efficient workflows that promote growth. You may contact Chris and his team by visiting his website: digisist.com.