Being an Effective Manager

Various books and articles about management focus on each aspect of management and discuss skills to master these areas.

Here is my take – Effective management is all about making it easier for employees to perform their jobs to achieve the established goals.

It is the manager’s job to make his/her employees successful. An effective manager works on eliminating obstacles that impede their employees from reaching their goals, and providing the required resources and tools.

Poor managers bent on too much control, in fact, create obstacles for their employees. They create processes that make the jobs of their employees more complicated and difficult.

Entrepreneurs, which manager should you be?

Ravi Patel

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Starting the New Year

As you start the New Year, it is time to perform a “Balance Sheet Review” of your business; not in the accounting sense, but philosophically similar.

Entrepreneurs should evaluate their “assets” in the business – products/services, people, customers, vendors, processes, and so on. These should establish the strengths of your business to either build upon or further improve in 2019.

A determination of your “liabilities” will give you an idea of the weaknesses that need to be focused on in 2019. These “liabilities” need to be mitigated or converted to “assets” so that you can utilize them for success during the year.

By performing a “Balance Sheet Review,” Entrepreneurs can set their priorities and goals for 2019 – a new beginning!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on January 2, 2019 at 4:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Improve from Status Quo

The normal convention is that if things are not broken, do not fix them. Well, challenge the norm! Entrepreneurs are good at doing that for new ideas.

If things are not broken, they are also status quo. Things that are stagnant are not necessarily desirable. Seek ways to improve the status quo. Find different ways of doing things to make them better.

In an environment when things are slow, review things that are not broken with an eye to make them better. It may serve you well when the economy picks up and you might not have time to review your operations.

Ravi Patel

Use Technology to Improve Productivity

When faced with a tight financial situation, many Entrepreneurs focus on cutting costs. While this is an essential strategy for survival, you might also want to include productivity improvement as a tactic. Doing more with less people also helps your overall goal to increase profitability.

Technology plays a useful role in providing tools to increase productivity. If you have a strong manual process to accomplish tasks, it may be a candidate for using technology to increase productivity.

In last week’s post I had discussed business process reviews for continuous improvement. Technology can not only improve the quality of your process, but also the efficiency and thereby the productivity of the business process.

Incorporating technology wisely and economically can increase productivity and quality of your operations.

Ravi Patel

Enhancing Key Business Processes

Do you know the key business processes in your company? What are you doing to monitor the performance in these processes? Do you have systems to review these key business processes periodically and improve them?

As Entrepreneurs grow their companies, the emphasis should not only be on generating revenues, but it should also include improving the processes that deliver those revenues.

Total Quality Management emphasizes documenting your critical business processes; developing key metrics; measuring and posting these metrics; and continually improving the processes.

Entrepreneurs will then benefit from the enhanced quality and efficiency of their business processes.

Ravi Patel

Pay Attention to Fundamentals

What if your business shows good trends, but the fundamentals are poor? You  feel great in the short term, but the future might be bleak.

As an example, your sales may be on the upward trend, but if the fundamentals for your business – quality of product/service, delivery times, customer service, and so on are weak, how long will your sales continue to grow? What if your sales are growing, but your margins are rapidly declining? Is that really a good trend?

Entrepreneurs should not be fooled by short-term trends in their businesses, but focus on ensuring that the fundamentals are sound and going in the right direction. Determine the key drivers of your business and concentrate on fixing and enhancing these fundamentals to grow your company for the long term.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 27, 2018 at 4:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Gratitude

Entrepreneurs have a lot to be grateful for!

First and foremost are our country and the free market system that allow Entrepreneurs the opportunity to create and grow businesses and prosper.

Employees are the backbone of companies and Entrepreneurs should be thankful for the dedication, loyalty and hard work put forth by their people to make businesses successful.

No business can sustain itself without customers and clients. Be thankful to your sources of revenue for putting their trust in you to provide services and products.

Entrepreneurs should also appreciate their suppliers and service providers who continue to supply essential goods and services to sustain their businesses.

Shareholders and financiers who have invested in your abilities to grow the business and provide a return on their capital should be high on the list of people to whom Entrepreneurs are grateful.

Do not forget to appreciate your gratitude to your business advisers who provide a sounding board for you to share ideas and seek advice.

Lastly, the community that you operate your businesses in should be appreciated also.

So on this Thanksgiving, I encourage Entrepreneurs to express their gratitude to the above stakeholders in your companies.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 20, 2018 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Are you a Good Delegator?

Entrepreneurs might believe they are super-human, but they cannot do everything themselves in their companies. Thus, they have to assign projects, goals, and objectives, or collectively tasks to various individuals.

Once you delegate, do you have a good system of tracking those tasks? If so, that is a step in the right direction. If not, you need to get a system or process that works for you.

But, more importantly, do you follow-up on the assigned tasks? Do you have a system to track the progress on the various items? Do you have a reminder system?

Assigning tasks is not enough. Proper delegation requires monitoring the progress on completion status of these tasks with regular follow-up. Otherwise you are sending a message to the employees that you are not going to hold them accountable.

While some employees will take the initiative to report on the progress of the assigned tasks, you need to have a system to hold all people accountable.

Follow up is critical for effective delegation. If you can’t be a good delegator, don’t always expect results.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 13, 2018 at 4:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Reduce Control

For Entrepreneurs managing their level of “control” is crucial in growing their businesses.

When Entrepreneurs start their businesses, they feel like they need to have total control over everything that goes on in their organization. All decisions are made by them and nothing can be done without their say so. That is too much control.

However, as the business grows, Entrepreneurs are forced to give up some control and delegate tasks to others. They still want to know what happened. When successful, Entrepreneurs should transfer responsibilities to a secondary level of leadership. In that stage they cannot keep track of all details.

At every stage of the growth of the company, Entrepreneurs reduce their sphere of direct control. This is very difficult for most Entrepreneurs, especially if it is their first business venture.

Building a strong secondary leadership team, guiding and mentoring the team, and periodically monitoring their accomplishments towards specific objectives and the overall Mission will reduce the anxiety of Entrepreneurs. If  Entrepreneurs cannot learn to reduce their sphere of control, it will create stress that might be detrimental.

When things fall outside your sphere of direct control (to lower levels of the organization), resist the temptation to wrest such control or stress about it. Focus on the bigger picture.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 6, 2018 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Simpler the Better

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein.

When Entrepreneurs are asked to describe their product or service, they sometimes go into great details to explain how something works. In their opinion, the more complex it sounds the more important the idea.

It is actually the opposite. The simpler the description of your product or idea, the easier it is to understand. If a potential investor can grasp your idea immediately, their interest is perked and they might listen to more. If you lose them with complexity, their attention span is over.

This is also true for all stakeholders. Entrepreneurs should make their message simple when communicating change. Simple messages get accepted a lot faster than complex ones.

As Einstein notes, it is possible that Entrepreneurs don’t understand the product, service or idea well enough to explain in simple terms. If so, it is time to go back to the drawing board and learn what you are trying to explain so you can make it simpler to communicate.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on October 30, 2018 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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