Rear view Mirror or Windscreen – Which do you use?

If you drive a car the simple answer is that you use both but mainly the windscreen, so why isn’t that always the case when looking at the performance of a business?

Rear view mirror

The traditional approach for a lot of businesses is to give the books to the accountant at the end of the year, let them prepare the accounts and then wait for them to tell you how much profit or loss you’ve made and how much you need to pay HMRC?

This approach clearly shows you where you have been BUT it doesn’t

  • give you any idea where you are going,
  • what the goals are you are trying to reach – business and personal as they are inextricably linked,
  • how much closer or further away from achieving them you are,
  • what’s in the way to prevent you reaching them ie what’s not working and would you know?

To do that you need to be looking forward – in the analogy using the windscreen.  You will still need to use the mirror – it’s the law and it can provide useful information, but your concentration should be on where you are going not where you’ve been.

The best drivers will always look as far into the future as they can to be able to anticipate what might happen and be preparing for what comes next – the same is also true of all the best businesses.  They will ensure that they have sufficient information to tell them exactly what is happening now, what they expect to happen in the future and react to the information they are receiving to ensure their goals are met.

Put simply, if you don’t look forward how can you miss the obstacles and prevent the crash, know what bends are coming up and adjust your speed so that you can navigate them, or be aware that the traffic has slowed and you may have to slow down or even be able to overtake?

Any accountant should be able to provide the rear view by preparing your accounts – the work is done for them, but it takes more to provide the forward view.  A really good accountant will work with a business and listen to dreams and aspirations, and use their skill to help the client work out how to achieve their dreams from where they are now.

Don’t settle for the rear view mirror, you wouldn’t in your car, start looking forwards to make things happen and start growing your business.