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

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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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Is Rapid Growth Always Good?

Entrepreneurs are mostly focused on growing their companies and would like nothing more than rapid growth. Compared to the alternatives, managing growth is a nice “problem” to have.

However, is rapid growth always good for 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 advisors (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 may not be good for them.

Ravi Patel

www.patelcfoservices.com

Published in: on January 23, 2018 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Should You Seek Success?

Success is a journey, not a destination. – Ralph Arbitelle

Entrepreneurs get into business to be their own boss and make money. Most of them want to be successful which seems like a reasonable expectation or goal.

Success has to come to you; you shouldn’t be seeking success!

Being successful is process of achieving your Mission and Vision. One needs to first work on the specific, established, periodic goals of a business and accomplish those well. Meeting goals is a more reasonable short-term objective; while fulfilling your Mission and achieving your Vision are the proper long-term areas of focus.

If you do all that, success is a natural process; you don’t have to seek or strive for it.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on January 9, 2018 at 4:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Assessing Your Assets

Have you ever considered taking an inventory of your “business” at year-end?

What are your really valuable “assets” (not in the accounting sense) and what is the balance that you are carrying at year-end? You might want to prepare a list of such “assets” for assessing where you are, determining what you need to grow such assets, and monitoring progress throughout the year.

An Entrepreneur might consider certain goods and services, pertinent technology, engaged and high-performing employees, key clients, reliable suppliers, valuable advisors, and so on as core “assets” to run a successful business.

Taking inventory of these assets at year-end, and planning on how to increase them in the coming year could be a key component of your annual plan. Measuring your assets at the end of the next year would determine your performance in this area.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

http://www.PatelCFOservices.com

 

Published in: on December 19, 2017 at 4:27 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