What Drives Your Revenues?

While it is a cliché – in order to help a hungry man for the longer term one teaches him how to fish rather than giving him fish – it is a useful learning idea for Entrepreneurs.

For Entrepreneurs to be successful they should not only focus on increasing revenues, but should more importantly also improve the processes that deliver those revenues.

Entrepreneurs might be able to increase revenues in the short-term by doing it themselves. However, in order for revenues to continue growing for the longer term and through other people, they need to establish and keep on improving the processes that generates such sales.

In order to do so, they first need to understand the processes, improve them as necessary and then ensure they are repeatable with no lapse in quality. Documenting the procedures, training the people and monitoring compliance are necessary to implement robust revenue-generation processes.

Determining the drivers of your revenues is a critical first step in improving and enhancing the revenue stream.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel



Measuring Productivity

Entrepreneurs, do you know if your employees are productive? Or productive enough? Should you? Claiming to have good employees is one thing, but backing it up with data is essential.

Do you establish metrics to measure productivity directly based on your annual company goals?  Are the metrics simple and easily understandable? Do you communicate them effectively to your employees? How often do you post or discuss measured results? Are there periodic meetings to analyze performance and develop methods to improve productivity?

“Doing more with less” is a nice slogan, but proving it with productivity measurement data makes it more meaningful.

If you do measure productivity of your employees and do obtain successful results, have you aligned your reward systems to be in line with productivity improvements?

Improving productivity of your employees is a sure way to deliver more to the bottom line. Are you doing that? If not, why?

Ravi Patel

Setting High Standards

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” – Ray Kroc

Great leaders set high standards for themselves. The growth of McDonald’s was in large part due to the quality, efficiency and customer service standards established by Ray Kroc.

Entrepreneurs too need to set and live by commendable personal standards or a code of conduct for themselves so that they can demonstrate a high level of leadership to inspire their employees. How often have we seen leaders who ask their followers to do one thing while they do something else? How does that provide leadership by example?

If an Entrepreneur desires to set high standards of ethics and performance for their companies, they first need to set for themselves high-reaching standards. However, that is not enough! Entrepreneurs need to then adhere to their established code of conduct and demonstrate via actions their commitment to such uplifting principles.

Leadership in this area is truly by example. If an Entrepreneur establishes a pattern of behavior that meets his/her lofty standards, then it will be easier to set high standards for the company and employees. It helps to inspire people by actions and then demand high standards of excellence and hold their followers accountable.

Ravi Patel


Published in: on February 13, 2018 at 4:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Playbook for Entrepreneurs

With the Super Bowl  on Sunday, the football season is over. It was impossible to miss the coaches on the sidelines with color-coded sheets of possible plays to be called for that game. The head coach with all the assistant coaches spent hours prior to the game analyzing their competitor’s game, strengths and weaknesses, strategies and so on and blended 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


Published in: on February 6, 2018 at 4:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lessons for Entrepreneurs from MLK

Having celebrated his birthday yesterday, it is interesting to review what lessons Entrepreneurs can learn from Martin Luther King (MLK).

Dave Kerpen wrote an article on Inc. on January 19, 2004 listing seven lessons from MLK that are still relevant today. Here is my summary:

  1. Dream big – if you don’t dream big, you can’t achieve significant things
  2. Persuade without power – don’t be a “boss.” but be a leader through the power of persuasion
  3. Give people something to believe in – have passion in your Vision so people are compelled to adopt it
  4. Embrace fear and be courageous anyway– be honest with people about the challenges but have the courage to face them anyway
  5. Get everyone involved – Entrepreneurs can’t do everything themselves. They need to have other people involved to build their company.
  6. Create a sense of urgency – have a bias for action to get ahead of competition
  7. Inspire people – without inspiring leadership it merely becomes a job for your people. Have them motivated to fulfill your Vision.

These are lessons that Entrepreneurs can definitely learn from and adopt.

 Ravi Patel


Published in: on January 16, 2018 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Working Hand in Hand

Leaders lead from being in front of their people – not only in their thinking but also sometimes physically.

However, if Entrepreneurs are always ahead of their people, they might not follow. This could be for many reasons. Entrepreneurs might not have fully convinced employees of the reason for the task at hand; they might have previously seen you in action and are hesitant; or they don’t fully know you yet as they have not seen how you work.

Entrepreneurs might want to lead their people by being and  working side by side with their employees to mitigate these reasons..

Leadership by example can only happen if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and work with your employees in doing tasks that are necessary. That means physically working besides your people rather than isolating yourself.

Leadership does not always mean that you decide and your people follow. Work with your people to tackle issues and develop with them solutions that need to be implemented. Think with them by involving employees in the process.

Situational leadership demands different styles – leading from beside your people is one of them.

Ravi Patel


Perseverance is Neccessary

Perseverance is defined as the steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

How appropriate that an Entrepreneur possess this quality to be successful? Facing difficulty, obstacles, discouragement, setbacks and even failures are nothing new for Entrepreneurs. Frustration due to obstacles is common for all endeavors. The successful Entrepreneurs are those who keep on going and overcome obstacles.

Entrepreneurs who come through even after facing challenges are the ones who have a laser focus on their Mission and can navigate a steady, persistent course without being unduly discouraged. The story about the spider weaving a web despite repeated failures comes to mind.

If you desire to succeed in achieving your Mission, have perseverance! Your people will be inspired and support your efforts.

Ravi Patel


Published in: on November 28, 2017 at 4:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Be Credible

Talking a great game is easy for a lot of people. They convince others that they are successful even though they might not have done anything. Are they credible?

Entrepreneurs should learn from such people how not to conduct themselves.

Whenever speaking about your product, capabilities and skills, be confident and assertive yet understated. Don’t oversell yourself. In any case, don’t lie.

Let your actions speak loudly. Be exceptional in delivering results and let that do the talking for you. People who need to will be more impressed with your results rather than your promises.

Be understated in your talk, but exceptional in your actions to build credibility!

Ravi Patel


Published in: on November 7, 2017 at 4:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Are People Listening?

Do people appear to be hearing you intently, but end up doing something quite contrary or not exactly in line with what you were asking them to do? In all these situations, people are indeed hearing you, but not listening. There is a significant distinction.

The other day I was in a restaurant and asked the waitress for a glass of water without ice. She did bring me the glass of water, but with ice. She heard me say water, but did not listen completely for it to register that I did not want ice.

Entrepreneurs should be aware that what they ask their people may be heard by them, but they might not be listening completely to follow the request correctly. What should Entrepreneurs do? Develop a routine to ask their people to repeat or paraphrase what is being requested of them, especially for significant issues. This allows the Entrepreneur to confirm that the listening process was correct and complete.

Entrepreneurs too should be mindful that they listen to their employees completely and do not fall into the trap of perfunctory hearing. Effective communication is a two-way street!

Ravi Patel


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


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