Let Learning Happen from Mistakes

Starting Entrepreneurs often exercise strong control where virtually all decisions are made by them. Entrepreneurs are not yet ready to delegate responsibility and trust their people with decision-making authority. Entrepreneurs do not want their people to make mistakes.

That is not the way to develop people and grow the company. Entrepreneurs have to be willing to allow their people to learn how to make good decisions on their own. This may result in a few mistakes, but let those be learning experiences rather than creating an environment of fear to make decisions.

Entrepreneurs should let their people make mistakes and learn from those situations. There is nothing wrong in having checks and balances to prevent unchecked major mistakes hurting the organization.

Managing a growing company is similar to watching a child learn to walk. Parents allow their children to fall so that they can get up and learn to walk. Entrepreneurs need to do the same.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

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Published in: on May 8, 2018 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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From Doing to Thinking

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 thinking.

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 “thinking” in order to get to the next level.

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on May 1, 2018 at 4:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Learning from Conductors

Entrepreneurs can learn some lessons from great conductors. Leading a successful company is like conducting a symphony.

An enchanting performance by a symphony involves perfect teamwork. A great symphony involves accomplished musicians playing their specialty instruments at a world-class level, while the conductor guides them on a common score with tempo to produce melodious music.

A great company should have experienced and qualified functional leaders guided by a CEO who leads them to the accomplishment of a vision around a well-defined mission. The Entrepreneur/CEO is like a conductor leading the orchestra by gently waving the proverbial baton.

Like a wonderful musical performance, achieving significant milestones towards a vision can be a pleasing melody.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on April 24, 2018 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Having Too Many Cooks

You might have heard of the common saying “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Is this always true in an Entrepreneurial company? Not really.

For any major project, such as new product/service development, IT hardware/software selection or implementation, or building expansion, it is critical to have input from multiple sources to come up with the best specification for the new project. This type of diligence up front ensures that most ideas are considered and there is no critical issue of “second-guessing’ later on. The specification should not be a hodgepodge of ideas, but a solid framework that takes into account (though not necessarily includes) different viewpoints.

Once the project specification is defined, there should be minimal changes and the project management should be delegated to responsible staff without micromanaging by “too many cooks.”

Entrepreneurs need to know when to have too many cooks involved in a project, and when not to.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Dealing With Crisis Situations

 

Everyone occasionally faces a crisis situation or perceived irregularities in their business. Entrepreneurs are no exception. How they deal with the crisis and potential negative perceptions separates calm, professional leaders from all others.

Some suggestions for Entrepreneurs:

  • Never overreact to situations where there is employee dissatisfaction, customer, or vendor complaints. Analyze the situation calmly before taking proper corrective action, instead of taking hurried actions due to external pressure.
  • If you do have a serious situation, do not create a smokescreen and divert attention away from it to hide the real problem.
  • Do not focus on the small or minor issues in managing your companies; focus on the larger or macro issues for greater impact. Let your management team manage the details.
  • If you need to make a statement or message regarding any irregularities in your company, do it for significant issues not trivial ones. If you mostly emphasize minor matters, your employees are going to be dismissive of such gestures.
  • Be sensitive to the message that you send with your actions. For example, if you are being austere or are having cost reduction programs, do not have bonuses or spending that is contrary to the current environment in your company. Having incentives is not inappropriate, but make sure that they are related to the right objectives and are perceived positively.
  • When you are borrowing a lot of money, do not spend it on bonuses or management extravagance.

While the above sound obvious, sometimes we tend to lose sight of reality and the negative perceptions that are created.

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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Strive for Incremental Progress

Saying “I am perfectionist” might sound good, but it is not helpful for Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are generally impatient. They need to see the fruits of their innovation right away. If they wait to perfect it, they might 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, incremental progress on established goals rather than perfection at a point in time. Sustained progress, even in small measures, 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

What Drives Your Revenues?

While it is a cliché – in order to help a hungry man for the longer term one teaches him how to fish rather than giving him fish – it is a useful learning idea for Entrepreneurs.

For Entrepreneurs to be successful they should not only focus on increasing revenues, but should more importantly also improve the processes that deliver those revenues.

Entrepreneurs might be able to increase revenues in the short-term by doing it themselves. However, in order for revenues to continue growing for the longer term and through other people, they need to establish and keep on improving the processes that generates such sales.

In order to do so, they first need to understand the processes, improve them as necessary and then ensure they are repeatable with no lapse in quality. Documenting the procedures, training the people and monitoring compliance are necessary to implement robust revenue-generation processes.

Determining the drivers of your revenues is a critical first step in improving and enhancing the revenue stream.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

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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