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

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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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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

Balancing Past, Present and Future

Sometimes Entrepreneurs blend the past, present and future as they attempt to stay afloat and on course.

For some, the past has a painful memory of struggles, mistakes and even failures. Entrepreneurs must selectively forget the past and only retain useful lessons to prevent similar errors. Dwelling in the past is counterproductive and drains energy away from current pursuits.

Worrying too much about the future is not good either. One needs to have a plan for the future, but constantly evaluating all current actions against what might happen in the future is not helpful.

Managing the present, by using lessons of the past, will create the future.

Entrepreneurs need to devote most of their energy to manage the present. Create the foundation, processes and effective teams to deliver current performance. Unless you can have a strong present, you might not even make it to the future.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

 

Published in: on May 23, 2017 at 4:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Stand Still Once in a While

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb

Entrepreneurs do not have a problem of standing still. Rather, they are always on the move and wanting to grow – albeit too fast!

While the proverb emphasizes the point that one needs to keep on growing rather than standing still, Entrepreneurs sometimes need to stand still. Why and when is that appropriate?

Similar to a traveller stopping once in a while to get his/her bearings and ensuring they are headed in the right direction, Entrepreneurs need to do the same for their business. Instead of charging ahead with full steam all the time, stop, step back, and evaluate whether you are on the right path towards your Mission. Do you have the necessary infrastructure and leadership team to continue down the correct path (like a traveller assessing whether he/she has adequate supplies and fuel).

Make adjustments as necessary and then continue your efforts to grow. Standing still once in a while is good for you!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on May 16, 2017 at 4:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Invest Wisely, Entrepreneurs!

No, this is not a blog on personal financial investing. Rather, it is for investments in your company.

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

As the business grows more investment is necessary. If the Entrepreneur only thinks of investment in material things, it might be too short-sighted.

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

Entrepreneurs need to make similar investment in their employees. 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 make them generate superior returns.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on March 28, 2017 at 4:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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What Drives Your Business?

Do Entrepreneurs know what drives their business? What are your key drivers?

In one company’s conference room, there were framed posters depicting the company’s key drivers. It was very clear to ascertain the company’s focus on quality, people, financial commitment and so on. The company must have communicated to their employees these drivers and also displayed the posters in prominent work areas.

Entrepreneurs should think about developing, in addition to the Vision and Mission, key drivers in various areas of the company and communicating them to their employees. Building a company culture starts with educating the employees on and then continually reinforcing the focus towards these key drivers.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Dealing with Change

The country and its business environment is going through transformation. How should Entrepreneurs deal with this change?

A simple saying –  “Complain not about the wind. Adjust your sails.” – offers great business advice for Entrepreneurs in these times.

It is very easy to complain about all the things that are preventing Entrepreneurs from succeeding. Some of the issues faced by Entrepreneurs including cash shortages, employee layoffs and poor morale, unsustainable overhead and fixed expenses, misaligned ratios of variable expenses to revenues, customer and product/service issues, high debt levels, government regulations, high tax rates and so on are ripe topics for complaining.

Losers will take this opportunity to complain and find excuses to rationalize their failure, just as a poor sailor frets about the winds.

Winning Entrepreneurs and leaders, instead, adjust their sails to move forward on a steady course. Finding ways to increase cash flow; having employee work-sharing programs and non-monetary motivational programs to boost morale; reducing overhead and fixed expenses; realigning ratios of variable expenses to revenues, customer partnerships and product/service improvement initiatives; and restructuring high debt loads are all positive ways to adjust the sails.

What would you rather do? Complain about the winds or adjust your sails. Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on January 31, 2017 at 4:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Growing Pains

Almost all those in business would welcome growth. However, not managing it could cause growing pains. In reality, managing growth successfully requires thought and is really hard work.

Hiring employees rapidly might indicate that a business is growing. However, if the infrastructure to support the integration of these new employees in the company has not increased simultaneously, it could cause a painful situation for both management and the new employees. Unaccounted or unforeseen indirect costs, such as payroll taxes, benefits and insurance, could adversely impact cash flow. Rapid employment growth might also attract government scrutiny for compliance of labor regulations.

Rapid growth in sales orders is a great thing. Do you have the ability to deliver those orders on time and maintain quality? Do you have an adequate customer service function to handle potential issues?

Fast growth in revenues creates an increase in receivables (unless you are fortunate to have a cash-only business). Do you have sufficient working capital or access to funds to accommodate such an increase or even delays in collections?

While growth is desirable, Entrepreneurs need to manage it carefully to avoid or significantly mitigate the accompanying pains.

Ravi Patel

www.patefCFOservices.com

Starting with Realistic Expectations

As you start 2017, be realistic in your expectations.

As they start to work on their 2017 Plan, they have certain expectations of how the year will fare with revenues and income that the business would generate.

Entrepreneurs have an existing team and have expectations regarding their performance. Similarly they expect clients or customers, vendors, other stakeholders will work with them in certain ways in 2017.

Entrepreneurs need to be careful about not having false expectations or hopeful wishes when they embark on 2017. All expectations need to be realistic, rational, and take into consideration factors beyond the Entrepreneur’s control.

Having false expectations leads to unachievable dreams and disappointment. Moderate your expectations to be realistic, so that when your expectations are exceeded one has a reason to be jubilant.

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on January 4, 2017 at 4:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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