Being Thankful!

Entrepreneurs have a lot to be thankful 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 advisors 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

www.patelCFOservices.com

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Firing Customers!

Should Entrepreneurs fire their customers?

Some might ask what kind of question is that? Why would someone think of letting go their customers?

While the old saying “the customer is always right” might be taken as gospel, it is not necessarily true that all customers are always ideal for your business.

Entrepreneurs might have to be courageous and exercise their leadership by firing some customers. Who are the likely candidates for a firing list?

Customers who are consistently not profitable for your business are not good for the long term. It is acceptable to have lower profits or losses from a customer over a short period for a potential lucrative strategic relationship. However, if the customer over a longer period continues to be a drain on your profitability, it might be time to let them drop off the list.

Chronic complainers, without legitimate reasons, are very difficult to service and cause undue headaches for your employees. Unless the customer has genuine reasons to be dissatisfied, it is not in the best interest of management to service clients that constantly create irrational demands on your staff.

Entrepreneurs need to develop an excellent reputation for service and customer relations, but if need be it is okay to fire certain problem customers.

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Creating a First Impression

It is often the case where first impressions are more lasting than later interactions. What creates first impressions?

When potential customers, employment applicants, vendors, bankers or other interested parties call or interact with your company, their first impressions matter. How your employees treat them then could be critical for a future relationship.

One can assess the quality of a company by the manners of the people working there.

Companies whose employees treat outsiders (and even fellow employees) with good manners, politeness, caring and concern reflect the values of the organization. Enlightened Entrepreneurs should recognize this and pay as much emphasis on the relationship side of the business as much as the product aspect of the company.

Focusing on managing initial (and then ongoing) interactions with outsiders could be a determinant of future success. Entrepreneurs should Do the Right Things by paying attention to this area of their business.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Are You Providing Value to Your Customers?

Entrepreneurs start businesses as they have new and unique ideas for products and services. Is this enough to make the business successful? Not really.

Success is only achieved if you create or add value.

Value is created when it solves someone’s need or mitigates “pain.” If your product or service does not do that, you are not creating value. One might feel good about developing a new product or service, but if it does not create value in the minds of potential customers, there is no assurance of revenues.

So, when you launch your product or service ask yourself if you are creating or adding value for your potential customers? Are you solving an existing need or a situation causing them “pain.” If not, why should they buy your product or service?

It is possible that sometimes consumers don’t even know they have a need or pain. In that case your product or service has to be marketed such that the consumer first becomes aware of the void and then realizes that your product or service solves a problem that they were not even aware of.

Consistent success occurs only if you create or add value for your customers.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on April 28, 2015 at 4:48 am  Comments (2)  
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Are you Depending on a Few Customers?

When Entrepreneurs start their businesses, they might depend on one or a few clients for most of their revenues. This revenue concentration scenario is understandable for the very early start-up stage of a company.

As revenues grow, the increase hopefully is from having more customers rather than only from additional business with the same clients. Diversification in the source of revenues is a critical factor in the long-term success of the company.

The risks of concentration of revenues from only a few clients or one or two big customers could be huge. If a significant portion of the revenues are derived from, say one customer, it could be devastating for the company if such business was lost, reduced dramatically, or even if there were payment problems with such receivables.

Entrepreneurs, at the appropriate stage in their company’s growth, would be well advised to diversify the sources of revenues such that dependence on a few clients does not end up hurting their business. Businesses sustained by only a few customers might be following the wrong path.

Managing revenue concentration risk is a critical component of Entrepreneurs Doing the Right Things!

Obtaining User Validation

Once Entrepreneurs have ideas, they tend to forge ahead on product or service development at full speed. Is this always a wise course of action? Bias for action is a great attitude, but it needs to tempered with reality.

Obtain validation from potential customers or users before proceeding too far down the path of product or service development.

No matter how brilliant the idea, it is ultimately the customer that will decide if it going to be accepted. If the customer does not buy the product or service, there is no long-term value in the idea. Asking potential users about the idea and its potential features is a great way to validate its further development. Customers might even have thoughts and features that the Entrepreneur might not have considered.

There is always the argument that for a revolutionary idea the potential customer might not even be aware of the need, and it is the task of the developer to educate the users. There is merit in this argument; however, it doesn’t hurt to obtain some initial validation of the feasibility of the idea from potential customers.

A solid product or service development process should require some form of meaningful validation from potential users prior to going too far down the path of detailed design. Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Should you Fire your Customers?

Some might ask what kind of question is that? Why would someone think of firing their customers?

While the old saying “the customer is always right” might be thrown around, it is not necessarily true that all customers are always good for your business.

Entrepreneurs might have to stand up and exercise their leadership by letting some customers go. Which customers are the ones that might be on the firing list?

Customers who are consistently not profitable for your business are not good for the long term. It is acceptable to have lower profits or losses from a customer over a short period for a potential lucrative strategic relationship. However, if the customer over a longer period continues to be a drain on your profitability, it might be time to let them drop off the list.

Chronic complainers, without legitimate reasons, are very difficult to service and cause undue headaches for your employees. Unless the customer has genuine reasons to be dissatisfied, it is not in the best interest of management to service clients that constantly create irrational demands on your staff.

Entrepreneurs need to develop an excellent reputation for service and customer relations, but if need be it is okay to fire certain problem customers.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com