Are You Prepared?

Boy Scouts used to have a motto – “Be Prepared.” The idea was to teach the scouts to always be prepared for almost any situation.

Should Entrepreneurs adopt that motto in their businesses?

Develop a philosophy to always be prepared for foreseen and, hopefully, some unknown situations. Does your company wait until absolutely necessary to prepare for financial year-end, tax returns, regulatory or customer audits, quarterly returns, and so on?

If so, you are not prepared. Being prepared for these situations allows you to analyze problems beforehand and fix them ahead of the deadlines. There is less stress on your personnel and of course the Entrepreneur.

Implement a system of preparing for known events ahead of time so you are prepared. Having that type of discipline may allow you to also be ready for unforeseen situations.

Ravi Patel

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Published in: on January 15, 2019 at 4:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Starting the New Year

As you start the New Year, it is time to perform a “Balance Sheet Review” of your business; not in the accounting sense, but philosophically similar.

Entrepreneurs should evaluate their “assets” in the business – products/services, people, customers, vendors, processes, and so on. These should establish the strengths of your business to either build upon or further improve in 2019.

A determination of your “liabilities” will give you an idea of the weaknesses that need to be focused on in 2019. These “liabilities” need to be mitigated or converted to “assets” so that you can utilize them for success during the year.

By performing a “Balance Sheet Review,” Entrepreneurs can set their priorities and goals for 2019 – a new beginning!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on January 2, 2019 at 4:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Improve from Status Quo

The normal convention is that if things are not broken, do not fix them. Well, challenge the norm! Entrepreneurs are good at doing that for new ideas.

If things are not broken, they are also status quo. Things that are stagnant are not necessarily desirable. Seek ways to improve the status quo. Find different ways of doing things to make them better.

In an environment when things are slow, review things that are not broken with an eye to make them better. It may serve you well when the economy picks up and you might not have time to review your operations.

Ravi Patel

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

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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