Offer Payment Plans for Securing a Deal

In this economy securing a deal is of paramount interest to companies. The major roadblock, if technical issues and price are not factors, is how to pay for the deal.

Entrepreneurs can remove this roadblock by being creative in offering practical  payment plans. If your margins are adequate, offering scheduled level payments or forms of declining or increasing payments over a period might be enough to secure the deal.

Long term clients with good credit history are always good candidates for creative financing for continued business.

Ravi Patel

Board Presentations by your Management Team

As Entrepreneurs develop their management teams, it might be useful to have key members make formal presentations to your Board of Directors or Board of Advisors.

Making presentations in the functional areas of their responsibility or regarding a major project that they are managing not only provides the management team an opportunity to prepare for and shine in front of the Board, but allows the Board to learn useful information about the company and assess key officers.

The preparation sharpens the communication skills of the members of the management team and allows them a real opportunity to interact meaningfully with the Board. Then the Entrepreneur can then sit back with pride and watch the benefits of developing  a good management team.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Financial Implications of the Hiring Process

Hiring the right people is an art, but if not done right it can have significant financial consequence.

Entrepreneurs are sometimes concerned about the costs of a good hiring process – such as recruiting fees, ads, background investigation, reference checks, multiple interviews involving a number of people. While these costs do add up, the financial implications of a poor hiring process are even greater.

Hiring the wrong person not only results in re-incurring some of the search expenses, but it also adds more significant costs such as lost opportunity costs, disruptions and stress in the organization, lost time, wasted training, delay in accomplishing objectives and so on.

Entrepreneurs should beef up the hiring process by investing in upfront procedures and tools to avoid significant future costs of failure.

Ravi Patel

Planning for Potential Tax Hikes

Successful Entrepreneurs are going to be faced with potential tax increases if the current administration continues to propose and pass various programs that require huge government spending.

Other than groaning about those prospects, how are you planning to deal with that possibility?

It is time to meet with your tax planner and develop strategies to mitigate the impact of higher taxes. Planning now can save you taxes later. Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Riding versus Walking on a Golf Course – Lessons for Entrepreneurs

This is not a philosophical discussion on whether a golfer should walk or ride in a cart to play a round of golf. Rather, it is the continuation of applying golfing analogies to business (see A Golfing Analogy for Entrepreneurs, More Golfing Analogies for Entrepreneurs).

When you ride a cart while playing golf you breeze from hole to hole without really understanding the golf course. However, when you walk the course, you get a sense of the course layout, the conditions of the fairways, the contours and slopes, the strategic placement of bunkers and hazards. Walking gives you a better feel for proper course navigation.

Similarly for Entrepreneurs, it is important to know your customers and employees. Take the time to “walk” with them instead of breezing by while “riding.”

When you are with key customers, resist the temptation to just have quick lunches or drinks; try to spend quality time with them to understand their business issues and how you can assist them. Get a feel of their operating environment and the factors affecting their business success.

For key employees, instead of a cursory greeting, get to know them and understand factors affecting their performance. Find out by being with them in their operating environment how things can be improved.

Practice management by “walking” instead of “riding!”

Ravi Patel

Are You Really on Vacation?

Entrepreneurs need to take vacations as we have previously discussed (Entrepreneurs and Vacations).

However, are you as an Entrepreneur really on vacation when you take the time off to go somewhere? Most often, Entrepreneurs are so tied up in their businesses that they take their laptops and phones with them on vacation. They feel the need to check email messages and receive and make phone calls related to work. This is no vacation in the real sense.

Entrepreneurs should build an organization that is self-functioning in the short term and can survive without the Entrepreneur/CEO. Key management should be able to run day to day operations and make important decisions without having to check in with the Entreprenuer. When on vacation, Entreprenurs should only allow a single manager to contact them if there is a dire emergency.

Build a strong organization. Take a real vacation. Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Honest Feedback for Entrepreneurs

In order to continuously improve themselves and their business operations, Entrepreneurs need honest feedback.

While their other employees may be somewhat reluctant to do so, hiring key management personnel who can provide honest feedback may be quite valuable. Obviously there is a fine balance that senior management employees need to maintain between being perceived as criticizing their boss versus being loyal to the company.

Entrepreneurs need to surround themselves with key neutral advisors who are open to providing honest and realistic feedback to Entrepreneurs. Such advisors could be informal friends and business associates, members of a Mastermind Group, or Board of Directors.

It is of course necessary for Entrepreneurs to be ready to accept such honest feedback.

Ravi Patel

Keeping Informed of Company Operations

Although I advise Entrepreneurs to let their key managers run their departments within broad operating parameters, it does not mean that the CEOs should be unaware of what is going on.

Entrepreneurs might want to set up a periodic reporting system with their key managers so they can stay informed on the operations of their businesses. Such reporting systems might include a summary of key accomplishments, planned upcoming activities and issues that might require assistance from the CEO.

A periodic reporting system allows Entrepreneurs to keep informed without micro managing their key managers on a daily basis.

Ravi Patel

Fix Your Credit to Obtain Credit

Although the principle seems too simplistic, I am amazed at the number of Entrepreneurs who get into situations where their personal or business credit affects their ability to obtain lines of credit or loans.

Entrepreneurs start their business ventures through personal funds or credit, hoping to repay themselves from the profits from their companies. However, as they continue to grow, the need for working capital compounds the problems often affecting not only their personal credit but the credit rating for their businesses.

These situations become a vicious cycle where getting out is often very difficult and expensive. Entrepreneurs need to get a handle on their personal and business credit to afford them the opportunity to fund growth for their businesses.

Ravi Patel