When I was initially thinking about opening Forward View, I happened to read a devotional centered on Proverbs 24:3. (See the text to the right.) After reading this verse, I copied it to my computer for further contemplation. As Forward View began to take shape, I realized that this Proverb essentially described my ideal business. Let me break it down in detail.
First of all, Proverbs 24:3 notes that it relates to "any enterprise," not just large businesses, religious organizations or family farms. This Proverb provides universal advice, and that guidance is appropriate for any venture, including Forward View. Secondly, the Proverb states that an enterprise is "built by wise planning." I think the entire Forward View team is dedicated to effective planning. We don't jump into much of anything without having looked ahead. There are very rare occasions when a sudden opportunity or business risk requires an immediate decision, but, 99% of the time, we've taken time to map out future projects, new research methods and fresh strategies. Thus far, Forward View has been built by (hopefully) wise planning.
Proverbs 24:3 also says that an enterprise "becomes strong through common sense." In our complex consulting and research projects, I can admittedly become too immersed in data, math and technology to focus on common sense. That's a mistake because common sense is terribly lacking in business, particularly on Wall Street. (Ask a child if you can squeeze junk together and suddenly have gold. "No!" he/she will yell. Believe it or not, that child has just identified the problem with the collateralized debt obligations that sank the economy in 2007–8.) It's very easy to become overloaded by information in the 21st century, but this Proverb reminds us to step back and ask ourselves, "Does this make sense?" Forward View team members do a great job of using common sense to solve problems, especially when I don't.
Finally, let's focus on the last section of this Proverb, which declares that any enterprise "profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts." Notice that the final word is "facts," not "popular opinion" or "generally-held beliefs." To keep abreast of the facts, Forward View team members gather information from trustworthy sources and engage in our own research. We use facts when creating relevant content for client websites and in our equity research reports. Our willingness to track down information and develop novel sources of facts is, I believe, one of Forward View's greatest strengths. You'd be amazed at how much competitors rely on guessing!
In closing, Forward View was developed to satisfy Proverbs 24:3. We're not perfect, but, overall, I think we successfully follow the Proverb's key elements and words of wisdom. The verse is just as appropriate today as it was 2,000+ years ago!