Viewing Labor “Costs”

Having celebrated Labor Day yesterday, 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

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

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Published in: on September 5, 2017 at 4:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Demand Progress, Not Perfection

How often have you heard someone say “I am perfectionist.” It might sound good, but it is not helpful for Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are generally impatient and need to see the fruits of their invention right away. If they wait to perfect it, they get bored and move on to something else. The market will not wait either – getting it to the market first is the name of the game.

As Entrepreneurs grow their business, they should be striving for measurable progress on established goals rather than perfection at a point in time. Sustained progress in the right direction is desirable than perfecting some aspect of the product, process or service without overall forward movement.

An idea that is ninety percent complete and implemented is better than something that is not put into practice as it waits to be perfected.

While perfection might be appropriate for artists and scientists, Entrepreneurs need to be progress driven! Show leadership by demanding progress from your employees instead of perfection.

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

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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Rapid Growth Isn’t For Everyone

Entrepreneurs are mostly focused on growing their companies and would like nothing more than rapid growth. However, is rapid growth good for all 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 advisers (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 might not be good for them.

Ravi Patel

www.patelcfoservices.com

Published in: on August 15, 2017 at 3:56 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

Taking Care of Employees First

“Charity begins at home” means that you should take care of family and people close to you before you worry about helping others.

Does this apply to Entrepreneurs and business?

Most Entrepreneurs and small business owners have a desire to be generous to causes they believe in. That is after all giving back to the community they work and live in.

However, it is important to first take care of matters close to business and then outside. This entails making sure you first address the well-being of your employees. Ensure that your employees are compensated commensurate with their performance, have comprehensive benefits, opportunity to learn and develop their skills,  and well-defined path for advancement.

Giving to charity and noble causes is great, but if you don’t take care of your employees first you might not be paying homage to the “charity begins at home” philosophy.

If you help others without first taking care of your employees, it might be at the latter’s expense and they might resent that. On the other hand, if you take care of your employees first, they might be motivated to join in and participate and contribute to your charitable causes.

Something to think about!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on August 1, 2017 at 4:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Determination

A quality that is essential for Entrepreneurs is determination – firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.

How appropriate that an Entrepreneur possess this quality to be successful. Facing difficulty, obstacles, discouragement, setbacks and even failures are nothing new for Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs who come through even after facing challenges are the ones who have a laser focus on their Mission and can navigate a steady, persistent course without being unduly discouraged. The story about the spider weaving a web despite repeated failures comes to mind.

If you desire to succeed in achieving your Vision and Mission, have determination!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on July 25, 2017 at 4:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Seeing What People Could Be

“A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are.” – Ara Parasheghian.

Like good coaches, Entrepreneurs have to find the potential in their people. When hiring, don’t merely evaluate the current skills and experience of the applicant. Rather, determine what the person can become with proper coaching and training.

Given the right coaching, raw talent can be molded to perform at exceptional levels in any organization. The problem for Entrepreneurs is that they mostly focus on short-term needs and do not have a long-term vision for human resource acquisition and management.

When a sculptor views a stone, he/she is evaluating whether it could be transformed into a thing of beauty. Similarly a land developer sees beyond the empty expanse of land and has a vision of what a housing community or golf course it could become.

Entrepreneurial leaders have a great vision of what their idea or product could become. They need to use a similar vision towards their people and see their potential rather than what they are right now.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on July 18, 2017 at 4:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Facing Facts

Facts can be cruel. They could pour cold water over an Entrepreneur’s vision and path to imagined success. Entrepreneurs, especially hard-headed ones without wise counsel, forge ahead regardless of reality.

One might not like the facts but can’t ignore them!

It would be unwise for Entrepreneurs to ignore facts. Facts present a true portrayal of the situation and not taking them into account in your action plans could be critical. Entrepreneurs sometimes have a vision fixed in their mind and if anything detracts from that scenario, they tend to discount it if not completely ignore it.

Use facts to bolster your plans. Facts rather than assumptions build a robust case for you . It is not wrong to make reasonable, calculated assumptions when facts are not available. If the available facts don’t fit your case, it would be devastating to ignore them and use your assumptions.

Use facts, and if they pose a challenge to your plans build in options to address such situations. That would a wiser course of action than ignoring the facts altogether.

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on July 11, 2017 at 4:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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Maintain Independence

After celebrating our nation’s Independence Day yesterday, a few thoughts on how Entrepreneurs could maintain their independence.

Entrepreneurs start their own businesses because they 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 retain 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

Published in: on July 5, 2017 at 4:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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