Finding your Weaknesses

As a part of the strategic planning process, it is important for Entrepreneurs  to do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis on their business and develop strategies for each area.

How do you find out your weaknesses?

The Entrepreneur can do an honest assessment and perform an in-depth, critical review. He/She 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.

The Entrepreneur 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 the relationship with the Entrepreneur.

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


Published in: on January 29, 2013 at 4:58 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Earning Respect

Business leaders might accept not being loved, but they would definitely like to be respected. Entrepreneurs are no different.

Respect though is earned not by the title of a leader’s position, but by his or her actions, behavior, and consistency of decisions. Business leaders have to prove themselves to their employees to earn respect.

One’s position allows you to command and direct subordinates to do certain things. Having their respect will make them more willing and happier to carry out their tasks for you. In the long term, earning the respect of your employees builds lasting loyalty.

So as business leaders and Entrepreneurs do what is necessary to gain respect by how you treat people, make decisions, and carry yourself. If you respect your people, they in turn will do the same.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Data for Management Decisions

Companies install sophisticated financial systems to manage the growth in number of transactions processed. How relevant are such systems for management decision-making? Have you analyzed that?

In addition to managing operations, are financial systems in your company primarily for accounting purposes – reporting and compliance? Or, do they produce meaningful data for management decisions?

Historical data for reporting captures results at a point in time, and even then such data is not always timely for current decisions. What is necessary is data for meaningful analysis (customer, market, revenues, costs, expenses, margins and so on) that facilitates appropriate decisions and action by management.

If financial systems do not produce useful data in managing your business, you need to review such systems and make changes such that meaningful information is produced  on a timely basis to allow more appropriate management decisions.

Ravi Patel


Published in: on January 15, 2013 at 4:08 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Should Everything be In-house?

Outsourcing manufacturing and services, especially to foreign countries, has become taboo. However, Entrepreneurs might want to seriously consider outsourcing certain services as a business strategy.

In the current economic climate as entrepreneurs grow their businesses curtailing or minimizing overhead is important. The philosophy of doing everything in house might need to be reconsidered.

As a means of cutting fixed costs and making them more variable, Entrepreneurs need to look at the benefits of outsourcing in-house services such as payroll, marketing, training, human resources, IT, design, engineering and project management. Outsource expertise in these areas may be more cost effective than developing competencies in house.

So the next time you think about creating a function or expertise in house, ask yourself if you would be better off outsourcing such services.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on January 8, 2013 at 5:17 am  Leave a Comment  

New Year Resolutions for Entrepreneurs

It is the time of the year when we all make resolutions for the New Year. I offer for Entrepreneurs three simple resolutions that I have read along the way.

Hire Great People– Although obvious, it would tremendously benefit Entrepreneurs to always hire great people. Good people are not necessarily ones who have the best technical skills; but are also team players, have relevant experience, sustained loyalty, great work ethic and values, are quick learners and possess tremendous interpersonal and communication skills.

Make Money Consistently – Again, quite obvious. However, Entrepreneurs need to be creative in developing new ways to increase Revenues and curtail or maintain costs. In essence the goal of your business is to make money consistently. How much money you want to make is totally determined by your Financial Targets.

Have Lots of Fun– this is the most important resolution you can make. Having fun while running your business should be the goal of each Entrepreneur. If you have fun, your people will enjoy working with you and making money will be a joyful process.

Wish you all the very best in 2013!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on January 2, 2013 at 4:59 am  Leave a Comment