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

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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

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

Resisting Temptation to Blame Others

Don’t find fault, find a remedy – Henry Ford . Entrepreneurs could learn a lot from this statement.

In a blame-rich rather than solution-oriented culture, leaders (mostly political) often seek out whom to accuse of problems rather than finding solutions. This sometimes extends to poorly run companies with unhealthy culture and negative management practices.

In reality, it should be acceptable for leaders to hold people accountable for their performance. However, it is not wise to continually blame others for problems. Entrepreneurs have to take responsibility for the issues facing their business and teach their managers to do the same.

More importantly, blaming others or even accepting responsibility does not solve the problem. Entrepreneurs need to create a culture where finding solutions or remedies to issues takes precedence over blame. Such a positive culture allows people to readily accept responsibility for decisions without having to face ridicule.

Do the Right Thing by creating a solution-oriented culture in your company and incorporating that in your Mission.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Adding Value as a Performance Indicator

While most traditional ways focus on actual performance against expectations or against established goals to rate employee performance, here is a different perspective.

Entrepreneurs should put employees into three categories – those who add direct value to your business, those that are neutral or add indirect value, and those that reduce company value.

Pay special attention to the first category by training and motivating them so that they continue to add value. Have a strong retention program for these individuals so that they don’t leave your organizations.

Deal immediately with people who reduce the value of your company. These are the bad apples that need to be removed from the company as soon as possible.

The people who are neutral as far as their contribution to company value need to be either moved to the category of employees that add value by training, or red-circled if they are providing a support function to the first category of employees. If there is a chance that they would reduce the value to your company, they need to be transitioned out.

Rating employee performance based on impact on company value and dealing with them appropriately will go a long way in building the value of your company.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Accepting Mistakes

Great inventions were inspired by mistakes. Entrepreneurs like everyone else make mistakes, so their tolerance towards their employees making mistakes is expected.

Entrepreneurs should create a business culture that does not penalize people from thinking outside the box and making mistakes. An organization cannot grow if no one takes risks just to avoid making mistakes.

Making mistakes is acceptable if it is during the process of trying new methods or ideas. However, it is essential to learn from these mistakes and prevent future occurrences. People should grow by learning from their mistakes.

If an employee keeps on making the same mistake again and again despite training, coaching and direction, then that situation is not acceptable. It is no longer is a process of learning and ultimately hurts the organization.

Making a mistake is acceptable. Not learning from that mistake is bad; making the same mistake repeatedly is worse.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on June 6, 2017 at 4:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Make Your Employees Think

Entrepreneurs start businesses because they have new, innovative ideas as a result of “thinking outside the box.” They identify under served niches in the marketplace and find unique ways to fulfill unmet or unrecognized needs.

Do Entrepreneurs, once they start and grow the business, foster the culture of “Thinking Outside the Box” in their employees?

The reason for the Entrepreneur’s original initiative due to creative thinking is also applicable to his/her organization. If the culture of the company is one of innovation and finding unique ways of doing things better and faster, it will promote not only continued success for the company but also tremendous job satisfaction for the employees.

Entrepreneurs should be careful not to create a control-oriented impression that “Thinking Outside the Box” is only meant for them. It gives a feeling of “Do what I say, not what I do.”

Empower your employees and let them come up with creative ways to perform their jobs better and improve processes in the company. Entrepreneurs for this employee performance management philosophy should also think outside the box !

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelcfoservices.com

 

 

Published in: on April 25, 2017 at 4:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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