Find Your Business Prana: An interview With Marsha Evans, Founder Of Prana Partners, LLC
By Dana Lee
Prana is a healing word. It refers to the constant flow of vital life-force energy. Bhāvani Silvia Maki talks about prana in The Yogi’s Roadmap, “. . . we trust that all life is pulling for us, and letting go of resistance, we allow ourselves to be carried by its current. . . it is an experience of confluence. . . in which we ride the inner pulse and rhythm of spanda," or the Sacred Tremor of the Heart. Prana is most often regarded as existing primarily in the individual realm of corporal and spiritual life, however; one's entrepreneurial business spirit is also brightly born through a sacred tremor of the heart as well, and the quality of that vibration shines best on both a macro and micro level when prana balance flows freely.
Many small to mid-size companies start out with a mighty spark of the heart, but quickly find their light flickering in a dark labyrinth of accounting, finance, and tax concerns. It's hard to be an expert at everything and do the right thing for others while building a viable business that reflects one's dream. Prana Partners, LLC was created by Marsha Evans to extend a warm steady hand and heart through the darkness to offer a rich panel of cross-functional professionals for an ever changing world. We caught up with Marsha to ask her about Prana Partners, LLC, and what sacred spark of her heart inspired her to create it.
Tell us about the genesis of Prana Partners; tell us about you!
I’ve wanted my own company since I was in my 20s. I’ve always had the ability to see both the forest and the trees. In my professional work life, I've always felt I could do more. I had a brutally rough year in 2014 that nearly floored me, complete with a number of life-changing losses, so, in May 2015 I decided to step away from all of my business clients and take some time off. It was having the gift of months of meditation, introspection, and solitary time that brought me to a place of knowing what I wanted to reach out into the world on a business level and create something life giving and unique.
What was your inspiration to create Prana Partners?
Beginning in the late 90s there was a shift in the employer/employee relationship. Wages began the persistent stagnation we still see today, benefits were cut, layoffs – seemingly random and harsh – became the norm, and money moved to the top of the food chain. The result has been three-fold – less trust between management and employees, more people working harder to make ends meet, and a culture of job-hopping which is an expensive proposition to an employer. I wanted to start a company that is built on an attitude of grace and abundance. Anyone who has worked the numbers can tell you there is enough for everyone to be content – from the smallest companies to the largest. It’s about finding the ways to make that happen and it can be done in your priority approach to the financials. I wanted to create a company that helped employers to be employee centric without feeling that they were losing. I want to help them create both a sense and a reality of abundance for themselves and for their employees as well.
What makes Prana Partners unique?
We are a collaborative of highly skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable professionals. We represent backgrounds in professional services, the service industry, real estate, construction, manufacturing, etc. We provide our clients with whatever level of accounting services they need, including tax services and tax planning. Our team has been specifically developed to support each others strengths and fill in each others weaknesses. I like to say when you bring in one Prana Partner financial professional, you have 16 of us sitting right behind them.
What do you want the readers of SF Yoga Mag to know about Prana Partners that isn't on the website?
We were conscious of life balance when creating Prana Partners. We wanted a team that could compartmentalize their work and their life outside of work – thus the “remote” work model which allows team members to do highly focused work without distraction leading to a 90% increase in productivity over those working in a financial capacity in an office. Increased productivity means work finished faster which leads to less stress, rarely being overworked, and allows for a healthier lifestyle. Our professionals are willing and able to be on site when needed, and/or work remotely so that businesses can utilize valuable office space for other activities. Our professionals have been carefully screened to make sure they are able to deliver superiorly focused and dependable services in a manner that makes everyone feel the ease of business flow.
SF Yoga Mag is interested in community, culture, and consciousness raising. How do these issues radiate uniquely within Prana Partners, and how does a Prana Partner employee help to deliver these qualities to clients?
I’ve spent years building my own consciousness as to how a work space functions, specifically where there are blockages, unhappiness, unnecessary drama. When I built my team, I chose each person based on skill set, education, years and type of experience. More importantly, I set our “weed out” questions to be focused on consciousness and culture. We hired for compassion, for holistic approach, and for a no-drama approach to work and company culture. Our people are about no drama.
What is it like to engage with Prana Partners? What sort of businesses are you seeking to engage with?
We’re looking to work with small to mid-sized businesses that are hoping to work with a company like ours with sharp, forward-thinking accounting professionals. We’re looking for companies with conscious leadership. We have the ability to help grow companies, do turn-around work, or to join an already thriving team and add value. We are a bunch of accounting geeks. We like order and organization. We know our business so we know how to step into yours. I like to say we provide flow – we step into a client business and smoothly absorb your needs. We fully partner with each client to make sure they are getting the information and the results they need.
How do you yourself deal with entrepreneurial life? What or who helps you to be at your best in your life?
Entrepreneurial life enlivens me! Having something that is mine, where I’m driving the train is invigorating. Being able to make the choices, to have the responsibility and to know that I’ll get to see the clear results of my own decisions is the absolute best. I have two people who drive me to be better on a daily basis. My nephew Luke and my men-tee Darrell. I work very hard at helping them learn to direct their lives and when you do that, you find that you have to be more accountable to your own life. I’ve made major changes because of my work with these two.
What was the biggest obstacle to overcome with regard to deciding to build a new business?
Fear. Deep overwhelming fear . . . I think feeling this and learning to move through the thick honey of fear with ease and purpose has given me tools for helping other entrepreneurs do the same thing.
We are living in rapidly changing times politically and globally, how can a Prana Partner help to smooth out business adaptation to such changes?
As with any good accounting firm we stay up on technology and trends. We address multi-state clients through a team of experienced telecommuters. As for accounting, accounting is accounting. It's the numbers and how you use them. Trends may change but old-fashioned GAAP-driven accounting will always be the foundation of every business. And that's what we provide to our clients - old fashioned, by the numbers, hands on, looking at the detail accounting. It’s important to be a part of the world you live in. It’s also important to be aware of what you contribute to that world. All too often we blame others for what’s going on in the world and use it as an excuse to not be the best person we can be. It’s the trickle down of pain – I have pain so I cause you pain so you cause others pain. We all have suffering to varying degrees. That suffering can hobble us or it can push us to self-awareness. I believe it has to push us to self-awareness and to action. Going forward, we will be living in times of constant and increasingly fast change. Over-stimulation, over informed, and leadership by fear. Prana Partners is here to help navigate a path forward that mitigates unnecessary suffering for everyone and encourages a lasting flow of success.
Prana Partners seeks to help small and mid-size businesses experience a lasting flow of abundance originating from the sacred spark of the heart. Here is Prana by the numbers and how you can learn more:
1. Prana Partners has sixteen team members ranging from bookkeepers to senior accountants to controllers to CFOs.
2. The Prana Partners team includes three CPAs, multiple MBAs, and an Enrolled Agent with the IRS.
3. The average years of experience among the team is 20+.
4. All Prana people have an accounting education background.
5. Prana work is sometimes done remotely, but go on site to companies on an as-needed basis.
6. Prana Partners are located in San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Seattle, Eastern Washington, and Albuquerque.