Forty Chances, Forty Tax Seasons

I was drawn to reading Howard Buffett’s new book because I am completely intrigued by huge social problems and figuring out ways to solve them.   For Howard, who is a farmer at heart, the challenge is how to tackle world hunger.

One of the stories in the book (which is 40 Chances:  Finding Hope in a Hungry World) has Howard listening to a lecture for farmers on how to improve their yield year after year.  Howard recalls the speaker saying that one farmer, on average, will have a 40-year career from the time they start working the land to the time they retire.  On average it will be 40 harvests and 40 plantings.

That’s 40 times to get the soil just right, to try a new piece of machinery, to try a different seed, to plant a little more shallow or a little more deep, to irrigate a little differently, to get it just right so that the yield will increase.

That’s 40 chances to make improvements and to make a difference.  It doesn’t seem like very much time, does it?

It’s the same thing for tax seasons.  On average, there are only 40 tax seasons to improve our business models, tighten up our profit margins, and serve clients better.

If you’re like most entrepreneurs and started your business about halfway into your career, you may only have 20 chances.   I have 14 left myself, if all goes to plan.

I love this perspective because it brings a tremendous sense of urgency.  It makes it ever so much more precious to make changes that count so we can mold our businesses into ones we love and have dreamed about.

In 2014, we will use up one more of our remaining chances.  How will you use yours?

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year.