Create a Playbook for your Business

The football season is here. It is hard 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 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, similar 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

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Published in: on September 18, 2018 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Viewing “Labor Costs” in Business

Post Labor Day, 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

Published in: on September 5, 2018 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Create a Strong Foundation

Watching a tree sway with the gusty winds brings forth a business analogy.

To survive strong winds, a tall, growing tree needs to have a strong foundation (deep roots) combined with the flexibility to sway with the gusts instead of being rigid.

Similarly Entrepreneurs need to build a solid foundation to combat competition, market and regulatory forces and changing economic environment. Absent a solid foundation a business might not be able to grow significantly. It would be akin to building a castle on sand.

What are some of the key ingredients to build a strong foundation? It starts with a system to deliver quality products and services repeatedly and consistently. In order to do that one needs a competent and dedicated team of employees and management utilizing robust business processes and procedures. A superior customer service mentality coupled with continuous innovation and improvement adds to the mix.

Just as a tree cannot remain rigid to survive gusty winds, a company must be nimble and flexible to adapt to the changing environment and customer needs to grow the business.

With such a foundation and flexibility not only survival but also significant growth is possible. Have you created a solid foundation for growth?

Ravi Patel

Invest in the Right Things

Businesses require investments. Entrepreneurs are aware of the capital necessary to start a business – whether it is for working capital, machinery, equipment, or so on.

As the business grows more investment might be needed. Are Entrepreneurs investing in the right things? If Entrepreneurs only think of investment in material things, it might be short-sighted.

Long term success requires investment also in softer areas of the business. For example, in order to have consistent results it is necessary to invest in developing robust business processes (not necessarily computer systems). This takes time and resources, but it is a wise investment.

Entrepreneurs need to make similar investment in their people. Identify the key potential people in your organization and invest in them. Urge them to improve their skills, train them in functional areas, and take a risk by giving them projects and assignments that challenge them. Investing in your people, just like other assets, will pay off in the long term.

Entrepreneurs need to identify all areas of their business to determine if they have invested wisely in such areas to generate superior returns.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on August 7, 2018 at 4:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Independence for Entrepreneurs

As we are about to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, a few thoughts on Entrepreneurial Independence.

Entrepreneurs start their own businesses primarily for two reasons. They either believe that they have a better product or service, or they do not want to work for anyone else. The latter is born out of a desire of having their own independence.

As they grow their companies, Entrepreneurs lose their independence because they cannot effectively manage their businesses and/or get into a financial bind. In such cases someone else has to come to lead the company or exercise financial control (through investors or lenders), depriving Entrepreneurs of their independence.

How can Entrepreneurs maintain their independence?

First, understand one’s limitation in managing the business and build an effective management team to adequately complement the Entrepreneur. An enlightened Entrepreneur might even have to hire a CEO or COO to lead the operations of the company while the Entrepreneur focuses on his/her core strengths.

Second, pay attention to the financial strength of the company. Manage the growth and cash flows effectively such that lines of credit and borrowing are sufficient so as not to dilute equity. Even if equity capital needs to be raised, go for it when the value of the company is high enough so that the Entrepreneur can retain the majority stake.

Entrepreneurs can maintain their independence, but they have to work at it.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Build a Solid Foundation for Growth

Watching a tree sway with gusty winds creates a business analogy in my mind.

To survive wind gusts, a tall, growing tree needs to have a strong foundation (deep roots) combined with the flexibility to sway with the gusts instead of being rigid.

Similarly an Entrepreneur needs to build a solid foundation to combat competition, market and regulatory forces and an uncertain economic environment. Without a solid foundation a business might not be able to grow significantly. It would be akin to building a castle on sand.

What are some of the key ingredients to build a strong foundation? It starts with a system to deliver quality products and services repeatedly and consistently. In order to do that one needs a competent and dedicated team of employees and management utilizing robust business processes and procedures. A superior customer service mentality coupled with continuous innovation and improvement adds to the mix.

Just as a tree cannot remain rigid to survive gusty winds, a company must be nimble and flexible to adapt to the changing environment and customer needs to grow the business.

With such a foundation and flexibility not only survival but also significant growth is possible. Have you built a solid foundation for growth?

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on April 3, 2018 at 4:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Think Strategically

Entrepreneurs like to get their hands dirty and are involved in doing stuff. This is as a result of their expertise, desire and passion.

What happens as their company grows? They cannot be only involved in “doing,” they have to focus on strategy.

An analogy would be that of an entrepreneur who is an expert in building a widget. He/she can spend enough time on developing and building the perfect widget. However, at some point the focus should be on developing a strategy of how to market and sell the widgets, building lots of widgets at a low cost, creating the organization to build and sell widgets, opening new locations, and so on.

Entrepreneurs have to shift their role from “doing” to “strategizing” in order to get to the next level.

Ravi Patel

 

Published in: on March 13, 2018 at 4:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Defining Success

When Entrepreneurs start and build businesses, their definition of success is most often that of  “making lots of money.” When they reach their desired level of this definition of success, then what? What about the process of reaching there? Is success only about making money? Not really!

Success is not only about making money or attaining wealth. Long term success should be judged by the degree to which you are enjoying health, love of family,  friendships, balance in life, and internal peace.

Evaluate your self-improvement, the number of people you have mentored, the lives in which you have made a difference, and the communities that you have benefitted to gauge your true level of success.

Making lots of money of course, does help in reaching the road to success.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on March 6, 2018 at 4:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Assessing Risk

Risk is inherent in any business, but more so for companies started by Entrepreneurs.

Have you taken the time to analyze your business from a risk point of view? What are the areas that pose the highest risk to your company? How do you manage or mitigate such risks?

Entrepreneurs should take time periodically to critically examine the various risks that affect your operations. There should be a formal process to analyze and prioritize each risk category and develop plans to mitigate or eliminate such risks.

While such analysis takes time away from your normal business responsibilites, it creates a critical area for failure in the event you do not manage such major risks.

Entrepreneurs – Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

 

Published in: on February 20, 2018 at 4:44 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

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on February 6, 2018 at 4:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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