As many of you know, 30 June will be my final day at the desk at BMO. While I’m excited about retirement and what the future holds, I have also found myself reflecting on some of the lessons I have learnt about business during my 30 years as an accountant and business advisor.
To succeed in business…
You need passion: Most importantly, you won’t succeed if you don’t have passion. You need to wake up every morning and just love what you do. If you don’t have the spark, you won’t get the fireworks.
You have to have a plan: There’s a Chinese proverb that says ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.’ If you don’t have a plan, it’s not too late to work on one. Plans can change, and you’ll adapt along the way, but you need to know what direction you’re headed. One of the great thrills of being an accountant has been working with clients helping plan their future.
Work hard: The hard work that goes into being successful is usually overshadowed by people putting it down to good luck and great timing. Don’t forget ‘It takes 20 years to be an overnight success’. I’m honoured to have worked with some many dedicated people during my career. The partners at BMO have been working alongside me for over 20 years. They know how to knuckle down and work hard and are dedicated to achieving the best results for our clients.
Treat people right: I was raised to be courteous and respectful and it’s something that’s been very important to me in raising our four boys and as an employer. The simplest way is to use people’s names, take a genuine interest in people and treat them with kindness. It’s something I emphasise over and over at BMO and I know the team will continue this long after I sail off into the sunset.
You’re always learning: I love listening to experts, reading business blogs, going to conferences or attending webinars, as I think you can always find ways to improve. Never assume you know it all. There is always something new to learn.
Get involved in your community: Whether it was Council, Chamber, sporting clubs, or just going to the pub on a Friday night, I would not be where I am today without getting out and meeting people and getting involved in the community. Whatever you give to your community, you’ll get it back in spades.
As this will be my last column for the BMO Business Centre Down to Business page, I would like to thank everyone at BMO, my wife Jenny, my clients, family and friends. I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with Jenny, my four sons and maybe a few extra rounds on the golf course. A new chapter begins.