Among my favorite quotes ever is one from Vin Scully, the legendary announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. During a national broadcast, Scully was talking about an injured player who was “listed as day-to-day.” Then he said, “Aren’t we all?”
Your philosophy is as important a part of your business as your product. Why? Because except for a precious few examples, someone else can make your product, or sell your service. You and your business are not indispensable – you are, in fact, always listed as day-to-day.
This may seem like unusual commentary coming from a practitioner of accounting and business consulting – which involves intense planning, forecasting, preparedness, and foresight. We should never overlook those things – they are all essential to long-term business success. Here is where the philosophical part comes in: we all confront risk every single day. You cannot control risk. You can estimate it, plan for it, and mitigate it, but you cannot control risk or avoid it completely.
At CLM, we preach “control” in the form of a continuous loop: Gather your data, analyze it, organize and report it properly, develop a model around it, implement the model, and then use all of that to gather more data, analyze it, report it, refine the model, etc. And it works. For business owners, that kind of control is the key to stepping into the trenches every day with confidence that their business can and will succeed. Fiscal management control is a wonderful thing, but we recognize that it is never perfect. The only aspect of your business (and your life) that you can control perfectly is your philosophy. How do you approach each day when you open the doors, or turn on your laptop?
We can get back to intermediate-and-long-term fiscal management on another day, but this blog post is about the short-term, in the extreme. It is about today. What makes you the best at what you do, today? If you cannot answer that question, then consider why you are doing it. What aspects of your business need improvement in order for you to be the best at what you do, today?
An old banking customer of mine once said a meaningful thing, about his twenty-something son who was just breaking into the family business. He said, “Phil hasn’t yet learned how to play scared. But he will.” I knew what he meant: “playing scared” didn’t refer to fear – it referred to running your business every day with an alertness to the fact that everything is at risk, all the time. And if you get lazy in your philosophy (your understanding of what makes you the best at what you do, today), those risks could overwhelm you.
At CLM, we are privileged to work with some of the finest professionals in their respective industries. Their profits vary, but today we’re not just talking about numbers. We are talking about the things you do that put you, and your business, at the top of the field. Do you know what they are?