Community spotlight: Getting to Know John Dowling, Founder of Ballast Group


Please tell us about your business, how you got started and why?
Ballast Group is a CPA firm that provides fractional CFO services, advisory services, and coaching. The firm was founded with a desire to help organizations go beyond their horizon. We do this in large part by turning numbers into knowledge- we can tie most any facet of the business to financial results. We are objective advisers that provide both insight and foresight to avoid and solve cash problems and create cash opportunities. We are strategic thinkers and problem solvers who bring a level of expertise and calm to help provide owners and executives sleep better at night. We work with start-ups, growing companies, mature companies and turn-arounds. I began the CPA firm a number of years ago with a different focus, and as my clients evolved, I found I really liked focusing on this type of service. I really enjoy the being able to have a deep impact on a small businesses and their owners.

What does your typical day look like as an entrepreneur?
There really is no typical day, but a typical week includes business development and fulfilling client service. This always includes: reading, research, writing, connecting with others, analyzing operational data and accounting information. Coffee meetings are frequent, and
are my favorite way to connect with others.

What are ways that you develop yourself outside of the work environment?
I try to develop myself by acquiring knowledge and tools to progress in each role I fulfill in my life. Some of my roles are client service, business partner, parent, spouse, friend and individual. To be better in these roles, I do a lot of reading and continuous education and
speaking with others on a broad base of topics from business strategy, to marketing, to operations, to technology, to brain development and culture. I also need to get out into nature and do things like fly fish, which I find to be meditative.

If you could go back 5 years, what advice would you tell your younger self?
Consistently try to build capacity in all aspects of your life. Create vision/mission/values for the family to help live more intentionally. We did this earlier this year, and it would’ve been very helpful five years ago. Life is better when you exercise, eat well, play, and rest regularly.

What are 2 goals you are setting for yourself personally or in your business that you hope to achieve in the next 5 years?
My big business goal is to build out several teams of bright people allowing me to transition my role from operator to the owner end of the spectrum – and create an employee ownership program to spread the spoils. I’ve planned this out with the end goal of my business providing me with both more time and money than it does today, while being able to continue focusing on client service.

What is the most courageous thing you have done in your life?
I’m not sure that I’ve ever done anything truly courageous. I’ve always been an independent person and taken my own path. While it’s not always easy or popular, it has worked well for me so far.

If you want to chat with John, you can find him in the Sunnyside Meeting Room at Enterprise Coworking RiNo every Tuesday for his Invaluable Hour!