Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed

The writer of this blog Ravi Patel, President and CEO, Patel CFO Services was interviewed by Fred Arnold on his show “Out of the Rough” on SCVTV, Santa Clarita, CA.

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Published in: on September 14, 2012 at 5:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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About C-Level Reflections

Ravi Patel has over 35 years general, financial and operational management experience in C-Level executive positions with multi-sized companies in diverse industries.

Having substantial experience in leading and consulting with entrepreneurial companies, Ravi utilizes this blog to share useful management thoughts to hopefully assist Entrepreneurs in growing their companies.

Ravi is the President and CEO of Patel CFO Services (www.PatelCFOServices.com) that provides financial and entrepreneurial consulting services .  He can be reached at Ravi.Patel@PatelCFOServices.com

Published in: on April 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Don’t Stress Over Control

New Entrepreneurs like to maintain control.

However, understanding and managing their sphere of “control” and not stressing out over it is crucial in growing their businesses.

When Entrepreneurs start their businesses, they prefer to have total control over everything that goes on in their organization. All decisions must be made by them and nothing can be done without their say so.

As the business grows, the Entrepreneur is reluctantly forced to give up some control and delegate tasks to others. He or she still wants to know what happened. When successful, the Entrepreneur has to transfer responsibilities to a secondary level of leadership. In that stage he or she cannot keep track of all details.

At every stage of the growth of the company, the Entrepreneur reduces his/her sphere of direct control. This is very difficult for most Entrepreneurs, especially in the first business venture.

Building a stong secondary leadership team, guiding and mentoring the team, and periodically monitoring their accomplishments towards specific objectives and the overall Mission will reduce the anxiety of the Entrepreneur. If the Entrepreneur cannot learn to reduce his/her sphere of control, it will create stress that might be detrimental.

When things fall outside your sphere of direct control (to lower levels of the organization), resist the temptation to wrest such control or stress about it. Focus on the bigger picture and Mission.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on October 10, 2017 at 4:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Reducing Employee Turnover

An entrepreneurial company must hire good employees to grow the business.

But, hiring good employees is not enough – lowering your turnover rate for such employees is even more important. What are you doing to decrease your turnover rate for good employees?

Hiring good employees is merely the first step. Giving them an effective orientation and training them continually to improve their skills and abilities is also required.

Reducing the employee turnover rate requires creating an environment where your employees can align themselves with the culture and feel comfortable and stimulated to contribute.

Motivating them with financial rewards commensurate with performance is necessary, but you also need to provide a challenging platform for them to contribute significantly and feel a sense of satisfaction.

Find creative ways to retain your good employees – it is not only an asset for your organization but also will also reduce employee turnover costs.

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on October 3, 2017 at 4:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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Knowing Your Weaknesses

As Clint Eastwood famously remarked in one of his movies, “… a man has to know his limitations,” should you know the weaknesses in your business?

The obvious answer is “yes.” More importantly, how do you find out your weaknesses?

Entrepreneurs can do honest assessments and perform an in-depth, critical reviews. They could involve the management team in this process and have them openly, without fear of recrimination, list each area of weakness in the business. Have each manager of a functional area review not only his/her own area, but also other functions in the company.

Entrepreneurs can also solicit frank feedback from the Board of Directors and mentors regarding the areas that need improvement. Such feedback is more likely to be objective depending upon their relationship with the Entrepreneurs.

The truest assessment of your weaknesses will come from competitors if you can obtain such information. Competitors analyze the business of their rivals very carefully to develop strategies to compete not only against their strengths but also to exploit their weaknesses. If you can find a way to gain analysis of your weaknesses performed by your competitors, it would be very useful in your strategic planning process.

Something to ponder ….

Ravi Patel

http://www.PatelCFOServices.com

Published in: on September 26, 2017 at 4:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Have a Playbook

With the football season is in full swing, it is impossible to miss the coaches on the sidelines with a color-coded sheet of possible plays to be called for that game. The head coach with all the assistant coaches spend hours prior to the game analyzing their competitor’s game, strengths and weaknesses, strategies and so on and blend it with their own team’s core competencies to create a game-plan for winning. Disciplined coaches with a good playbook are generally winners.

Entrepreneurs, do you have similar “playbook” for major strategic actions to be used against, in or with competitors, marketplace, economy, opportunities, employees and so on? Have you worked with your key leadership team to develop such a playbook?

Winning on the field, analogous to the marketplace, requires a lot of planning, analysis, strategizing to come up with the ideal game-plan for success. A playbook for winning a football game is similar to one required for succeeding in business.

Create a playbook for your business and ensure that you call the right play for the situation. Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

http://www.PatelCFOServices.com

Viewing Labor “Costs”

Having celebrated Labor Day yesterday, a question for Entrepreneurs – how do you view your labor costs (employees)?

Are they a cost of doing business for you as they decrease your bottom line? When cutting expenses, is that the first thing you think of reducing?

For large labor intensive operations, this might be the case. However, Entrepreneurs might want to view this differently.

If you train your people properly and motivate them adequately, your employees could actually improve your bottom line by increasing revenues, improving productivity or even reducing costs.. View your employees as assets – invest in them to get better results.

It takes a different mindset to get the best out of your people. If you think of them as labor and an expense, then chances are that you don’t always get the most out of them.

Do the Right Things! Invest in your people and help them add to your bottom line.

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on September 5, 2017 at 4:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Demand Progress, Not Perfection

How often have you heard someone say “I am perfectionist.” It might sound good, but it is not helpful for Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are generally impatient and need to see the fruits of their invention right away. If they wait to perfect it, they get bored and move on to something else. The market will not wait either – getting it to the market first is the name of the game.

As Entrepreneurs grow their business, they should be striving for measurable progress on established goals rather than perfection at a point in time. Sustained progress in the right direction is desirable than perfecting some aspect of the product, process or service without overall forward movement.

An idea that is ninety percent complete and implemented is better than something that is not put into practice as it waits to be perfected.

While perfection might be appropriate for artists and scientists, Entrepreneurs need to be progress driven! Show leadership by demanding progress from your employees instead of perfection.

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Survival of the Fittest

Entrepreneurs can learn from the law of the jungle – “survival of the fittest.”

Entrepreneurs must find ways to survive in any economy and business climate. Having the best product or service, superior management, strong processes and so on are not the only things necessary for survival.

Imagine the cheetah – the fastest animal on earth. However if not alert, a lion or other predator will devour the cheetah. Being fast would not help then.

Having the best of everything is not sufficient for Entrepreneurs. Survival requires being alert, adaptive and quick to react to the changing circumstances. Relying on one’s past successes is not adequate for survival in the future.

Being fittest in this environment does not necessarily mean being the best. It requires having “street-smarts” to navigate through these troubling times.

Are you fit enough to survive?

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

 

Published in: on August 22, 2017 at 3:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rapid Growth Isn’t For Everyone

Entrepreneurs are mostly focused on growing their companies and would like nothing more than rapid growth. However, is rapid growth good for all Entrepreneurs? Not necessarily.

Being ready for and managing rapid growth requires tremendous preparation and infrastructure. In addition to unique product and services and a solid management team, items such as adequate facilities, reliable IT infrastructure, communication systems, developed business processes, working capital lines of credit, access to growth capital, a group of professional advisers (lawyers, accountants, etc.), an industry advisory group or Board, and so on must be in place.

Most Entrepreneurs have a few of these things in place as they expand, but reach a crisis point when certain required elements are not readily available or in place.

While rapid growth is desirable, Entrepreneurs must ensure that they have in place the requirements to manage such growth . Otherwise, rapid growth might not be good for them.

Ravi Patel

www.patelcfoservices.com

Published in: on August 15, 2017 at 3:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Developing a Management Team

Without having the benefit of an experienced, professional, and cohesive senior management team when they start and grow their companies, Entrepreneurs in order to expand and be successful in the long term must build a capable management team.

Blending in-house, on-the-job trained leaders complemented by key, experienced outside professionals (hired over a period), provide the Entrepreneurs the most cost-effective team. Identifying in-house personnel and training them to be managers should be the Entrepreneur’s focus once day-to-day operations have been delegated. Assessing the gaps in leadership, determining the management needs and recruiting appropriate outside leaders becomes the next step.

Having a management team in place is not enough. Entrepreneurs continually need to develop teamwork and cohesion to make the executives more effective for the long term. Entrepreneurs should find ways to train, motivate and reward the management team in a way that facilitates a group that can successfully grow the company, and allow the Founder/Entrepreneur to pursue other ventures.

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Taking Care of Employees First

“Charity begins at home” means that you should take care of family and people close to you before you worry about helping others.

Does this apply to Entrepreneurs and business?

Most Entrepreneurs and small business owners have a desire to be generous to causes they believe in. That is after all giving back to the community they work and live in.

However, it is important to first take care of matters close to business and then outside. This entails making sure you first address the well-being of your employees. Ensure that your employees are compensated commensurate with their performance, have comprehensive benefits, opportunity to learn and develop their skills,  and well-defined path for advancement.

Giving to charity and noble causes is great, but if you don’t take care of your employees first you might not be paying homage to the “charity begins at home” philosophy.

If you help others without first taking care of your employees, it might be at the latter’s expense and they might resent that. On the other hand, if you take care of your employees first, they might be motivated to join in and participate and contribute to your charitable causes.

Something to think about!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on August 1, 2017 at 4:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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