Motorcycles and bookkeeping might not seem like they go hand in hand but I promise they do. After I left the consulting world and started Officeheads, I began to look for my next big thrill: vintage motorcycle racing. I had graduated from my alabaster Vespa and after a lot of encouragement, began to learn more and more about motorcycles. When I started to take off on the track, so did my business.
Believe it or not, these two worlds of my professional and personal life are a lot alike. Let’s review the 5 gears and dive into each of them in greater detail.
- The right tools
- The right team
- The right process
- Know your history
- Plan for the future
1) Have the right TOOLS
On the track, my primary tool is my motorcycle. But if the tank isn’t topped off, it’s going to run out of gas. If it’s making strange noises, I’m going to be thinking more about my bike and not about where I’m going. If there isn’t enough air in the tires, that bike isn’t going to perform at top speed.
In the same sense, your business needs to have the right tools and equipment. For finances that means choosing the programs and applications that align with your operations and run efficiently for the tasks at hand. Choosing your tools ensures that you are getting what you need to be successful and confident that they aren’t breaking. To get the most out of these tools, you also have to customize and personalize them so they work for you. Not every stock motorcycle will work for everyone so you need to ensure your machine is custom fit for you and your business.
2) Get the right TEAM that has your back
I love motorcycles, but…do I know how to properly maintain one? No!
I have to hire great mechanics who love to maintain motorcycles and can practically tune them up in their sleep. They will ensure everything is perfect, and I don’t have to worry if they will do their job. In finance, you can have the right financial engine but you also need the right pit crew maintaining that financial engine for you too, such as a bookkeeper, accountant, CFO, CEO and CPA.
In the motorcycle racing side of my life, I can turn to my pit crew that includes a trainer, mentor, mechanic and teacher for guidance. That’s a great team to have in my corner. In addition to them, I can also ask my fellow racers, “Hey, I’m about to take my bike onto a new track – what’s that track been like for you?”
It’s no different for the business side of life in which I can frequently bounce ideas off of fellow business owners and ask them how they’ve overcome certain challenges that I might be facing today. An inner circle you’ve come to know and trust can serve as an invaluable extension of your team.
3) Make sure you have the right PROCESS
If I’m riding on a track, it would probably be a smart move for me to check out the track map so I know how to navigate the course in front of me. If the track is a brand-new one, I’ll go on what’s called a “track walk,” so I can check out the turns up close and see if there’s any oil or grit on the track. At this phase, I also want to know what my “body English” on the bike feels like, especially as I go into a series of turns on the track with it.
So I have to know my bike, my skills and the track – if I can align all of those things just right, I’m ready to race the track with confidence because that’s the right process. In a setting like this, being practiced, aware and present is absolutely crucial because if you aren’t, it’s lethal.
In your business, think about your version of the track map and how important it is to have a real process you can follow that tells you what to do when, why and how. Are you just going to leap into your daily operations without knowing where you’re headed and how to get there? If so, that’s a danger to yourself, your people and your clients.
4) Know your HISTORY
In the financial world, knowing your history requires you to be able to effectively read your reports and make plans accordingly from that information. It reminds me of what happens when I’m done with a race where I’m reviewing what I did right, what I did wrong and analyzing what I could have done better. And of course, once I absorb all of that, it’s time to practice, practice, practice!
5) Plan for the FUTURE
Taking all of this valuable information into account, I can now apply it to the future. In a motorcycle setting, I can take this knowledge I’ve obtained and use it for the next race. I have the right bike, it’s well-maintained, I’ve walked the track, I know how to go faster thanks to my recent practicing and I feel confident in my abilities. It’s true whether I’m doing land speed racing and trying to break a record or road racing where I’m trying to improve upon my minutes per lap to get faster.
As you plan for your next race, inevitably you’re going to have to face other players– your competition. In the business world, you can have plenty of competition. If you ignore these competitors, you could be leaving yourself open to being passed by someone, when they are moving fast, it can take you by surprise.
Now, is it safe to say that you’ve got all 5 gears of your Financial Engine revved up and humming along as smoothly as a motorcycle gliding along the track? Probably not – and that’s OK because that’s what we’re here for at Officeheads. Whether you need a higher level of maintenance to these 5 areas or some minor adjustments (or you don’t even know where those adjustments need to be made and to what extent), there’s nothing quite like having a real partner looking out for your company’s financial well-being. Book your free consultation with Officeheads and let’s ride together toward bigger and better things on the horizon.