Lessons from Music

There are a number of similarities between creating melodious music and Entrepreneurs developing a fine-tuned business.

Creating a melody requires the correct musical notes. While a spectrum of notes is available to all, picking the right notes to create a musical piece is critical. One or more wrong notes and the resulting music is noticeably out of tune.  Similarly in business, an Entrepreneur has access to various resources – markets, clients, management team, employees, facilities, investors, suppliers, advisors and so on. Creating the right blend of these resources, just like selecting the appropriate notes, will allow the development of a beautifully functioning business. A wrong choice or decision here and there ruins the musical piece or a well-oiled business machine.

Playing only the correct musical notes does not make a melody; the notes have to be played to the appropriate beat. The business activities of a growing organization have to be running at the right pace. You cannot have some parts of the company forging ahead while others are lagging. Moving towards the goal at a managed pace leads to success.

Entrepreneurs do not have to be musicians, but applying lessons of music might help them in successfully growing their businesses.

Ravi Patel

Invest Wisely

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. If the Entrepreneur only thinks of investment in material things, it might be short-sighted.

Long term success requires investment 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 appropriately in such areas to make them generate superior returns.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on February 11, 2020 at 7:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Firing without Aiming

Some Entrepreneurs are passionate and innovative with a bias for action.

While a seasoned executive will take a calm, thought-out approach to decision-making, akin to “Ready, Aim, then Fire,” some Entrepreneurs like to make quick decisions rather than deliberate for very long. They jokingly call this approach “Fire, Aim and then worry about whether you are Ready or have correctly Aimed or not.”

Who is right? Entrepreneurs need to carefully blend both styles of decision-making depending on the situation at hand or surround themselves with advisors who can complement the Entrepreneur’s decision-making style. No one style is always correct!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on December 17, 2019 at 6:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Will You Survive?

The law of the jungle “survival of the fittest” also applies to Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs must find ways to survive in a competitive 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.

Similarly, having the best of everything is not enough 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 mean being the best. It requires having “street-smarts” to navigate competitive and economic challenges.

Are you fit enough to survive?

Ravi Patel

Published in: on October 29, 2019 at 7:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Realistic Expectations

Entrepreneurs get into business to develop an idea into something really big.

While putting together their Business Plan, they have certain expectations of how this idea will be commercialized and the Revenues and Income that the business model would generate.

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

Entrepreneurs need to be careful about not having false expectations or hopeful wishes when they develop their Vision and Mission. All expectations need to be realistic, rational, and take into consideration the 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

Published in: on July 9, 2019 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Stand Still Sometimes

“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 traveler 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 traveler assessing whether he/she has adequate supplies and fuel)?

The best time to stand still is when Entrepreneurs are not working in their business. Stand back and evaluate. Make adjustments as necessary and then continue your efforts to grow.

Standing still once in a while is good for you!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on June 18, 2019 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Making a Business Out of Your Idea

Technologically savvy Entrepreneurs start their business as they might have a unique product or application. Their understanding of their technology and their belief in the breadth of its superiority over competitors might make them think that success could be a slam dunk.

Entrepreneurs might start out by thinking that way, but their success really depends upon understanding the “business” of their technology.

No one ever became rich by building a better mouse-trap; rather, it is getting that product to the marketplace at a reasonable cost and convincing customers to buy it that leads to success. A tremendous amount of business thinking, planning and execution goes into making an idea a winner.

Answers to questions such as:

  • can the product be made cost-effectively with consistent quality on a mass scale,
  • can the technology be protected from competitors,
  • can it be delivered to the consumer over a wide territory and on time,
  • can it be marketed and sold effectively

and many more are necessary to make a sustainable business out on an idea.

Have you really thought about how to make a business out of your unique technological idea?

Ravi Patel

Published in: on June 11, 2019 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Taking Care of the Present

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment” – Buddha

“Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future; concentrate the mind on the present moment” – Buddha

For Entrepreneurs the past, present and future sometimes all blends together as they try to stay afloat and on course.

The past is often a painful memory of struggles, mistakes and even failures. Entrepreneurs must selectively forget the past and only retain useful lessons to prevent the same 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

Published in: on June 4, 2019 at 4:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Who After You?

Entrepreneurs might not find the phrase “succession planning” in their vocabulary. While Entrepreneurs do not or might not want to think about succession in the sense that they are “retiring” from the business, finding a replacement is something to ponder about.

As an Entrepreneur starts and develops one business, the spirit of innovation does not end. He or she might find new ideas for ventures that might not fit within the mission of the current business. In that case the Entrepreneurs might have to start one or more companies.

In order for the Entrepreneur to focus on his/her entrepreneurial passion, the current business would require a capable leader to run the existing company. This is the type of “succession” planning the Entrepreneur should be thinking about.

If one wants to grow multiple businesses, then “succession” planning is critical for an Entrepreneur.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on April 23, 2019 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Simplifying Your Business Plan

A “Business Plan” doesn’t have to be a thick document with graphs, projections and glossy visuals. Entrepreneurs need not worry!

A business plan is conceptual. It should be crisp and to the point. Including lots of words (and graphs, spreadsheets, visuals) on paper isn’t necessary.

What should this simple business plan include:

  • What are you doing? Describe your product or service in simple , non-technical terms
  • Why are you doing this? Is there a need in the market place? What is the size of the market or need? What share do you expect to get? Are there competitors? Why are you better? What challenges/barriers are there? Do you have proprietary technology?
  • How and where are you going to do this? Describe your organization to design, manufacture/provide, deliver/distribute your offering. What are your selling channels and how will you reach your potential customers?
  • Whom do you have to support you? Review your management team and key personnel
  • What are the economics? How will you make money and how long will it take? How much do you need and how much will you make? How realistic are your numbers?

This is it – plain and simple. If you have thought through all these questions you are almost there. Practice your pitch and perfect it. Now put it in a nice, readable, short presentation and you are done.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on April 2, 2019 at 4:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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