April 26, 2019

The Power of Courage

The Power of Courage

One thing that many of Marcum’s clients have in common is that they’re risk-takers. When you run an entrepreneurial company, there’s no way to keep growing your business without taking some chances. Even if you do plenty of due diligence, there’s no way to know if expanding into a new market, rolling out a new product, making an acquisition, or hiring a key executive will work out as planned until you actually execute on your plans.

But playing it safe isn’t a viable alternative. If you don’t take any chances, you’ll accomplish nothing. Meanwhile, bolder competitors will get ahead of you.

What leaders need to do on a daily basis is summon their courage and go for it, a topic Brené Brown (who has made a career out of understanding risk and encouraging the rest of us to embrace it) often hits on in her books and speeches. If you like her work, it’s worth checking out Brené Brown: The Call to Courage, a documentary that’s now streaming on Netflix.

One of Brown’s best pieces of advice is to choose courage over comfort. It’s easy in business to default to what’s worked for you in the past, but we’ve all got to evolve as entrepreneurs and keep reinventing what we do at our companies to stay relevant. This isn’t optional in today’s marketplace. It’s absolutely necessary for survival.

Risk-taking is part and parcel of Marcum’s business. Last year, as regular readers of this column know, we brought our team to 250 partners and more than 1,800 associates through a series of mergers – including the largest in the Firm’s history, with Raffa, P.C., in Washington, D.C. We do plenty of homework to prepare before a merger takes place, but joining forces with another firm always comes with some surprises. Still, we believe that the benefits of growing our footprint and expanding our service portfolio brings benefits for our clients that far outweigh any uncertainties for our business.

We’re also constantly measuring our business against the backdrop of a changing accounting industry, and recalibrating how to stay relevant to our clients and remain on the growth track. For example, some years ago Marcum became the first national accounting firm to establish a practice dedicated to the highly specialized needs of modern families and LGBTQ individuals. More recently, we were among the first (if not the actual first) national firms to create a dedicated practice serving the cannabis industry. Whatever your thoughts on it are, the industry is here to stay. This is a place the “Big 4” accounting firms have not been willing to go, due to the regulatory complexity surrounding this industry. Marcum recognized an emerging need and was willing to take the risk, and that has put us at the forefront of what is sure to become a new growth industry in the U.S. economy.

As you may know, outside of Marcum I wear a different hat, as a producer of the “Jason Bourne” films. Success in Hollywood is never a given, but, for a die-hard movie lover like me, nothing beats the thrill of seeing a great project make it to the box office. Stay tuned in the coming months for an announcement of my expansion into TV – it’s all very exciting.

If you’re weighing calculated risks of your own, I encourage you to reach out to your Marcum professional. As risk-takers ourselves, we understand other risk-takers well. Many of our clients ask us to act as a second set of eyes and ears when they are planning a major project, to help them think through the strategic planning and to be sure they haven’t overlooked any critical details.

Even carefully calculated risks don’t always work out perfectly, of course, and sometimes critics will be lurking – but as leaders, we can’t let armchair quarterbacks steer our decisions. You don’t want to look back later and wish your company had been more assertive about leading its market. When you have a passion for growing your company, you’ll find a way to overcome obstacles and learn from anything that went wrong. But if you do make a mistake (which we all do), admit it, admit it quickly and figure out how to either fix it or mitigate potential damages.

We’re here to make it easier to jump into your next big pursuit by helping you think your plans through from start to finish – well ahead of time. Achieving big things takes courage, as Brown articulates so well, but it never hurts to have the right advisors on your side.