Solution-oriented Culture

Don’t find fault, find a remedy – Henry Ford .

Entrepreneurs could learn a lot from this statement.

In our current blame-rich rather than solution-oriented culture, leaders (mostly political) often seek out whom to accuse of problems rather than find solutions. This behavior sometimes extends to poorly run companies with unhealthy culture and negative management practices.

It is perfectly acceptable for leaders to hold people accountable for their performance. However, it is not wise to continually blame others for problems. Entrepreneurs have to take responsibility for the issues facing their business and teach their managers to do the same.

More importantly, blaming others or even accepting responsibility does not solve the problem. Entrepreneurs need to create a culture where finding solutions or remedies to issues takes precedence over blame. Such a positive culture allows people to readily accept responsibility for decisions without having to face ridicule.

Do the Right Thing by creating a solution-oriented culture in your company and incorporating that in your Mission.

Ravi Patel

Advertisements

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  
Tags: , , , , ,

Entrepreneurial Independence

Nearing the eve of celebrating our nation’s Independence Day, a few thoughts on Entrepreneurial Independence.

Entrepreneurs commence their own businesses primarily for two reasons. They either 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 maintain 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

Published in: on July 2, 2019 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Power of Positive People

It can be lonely for Entrepreneurs when they venture into a new business idea. Most people don’t understand their Vision and stand and watch from the sidelines, if not being critical.

As the company grows, while there are still a lot naysayers, it is important for Entrepreneurs to surround themselves with positive people. Positive people add good vibes and positive energy to any venture. They are generally team-players and also have the motivation to overcome challenges and look at problems as opportunities.

Negative people always find fault in whatever is being asked of them or is being done around them. They always look at ways in which things or ideas will not work instead of finding solutions. They generally sap energy from an organization. These category of constantly negative people are often intelligent, but can be lazy thus finding excuses not to do things.

Entrepreneurs should be careful to distinguish between positive people and  those who are always saying “yes” to them. One can be positive but still question something if it not right. Entrepreneurs would be best served by people who are positive but are not afraid to say “no.”

Ravi Patel

Published in: on June 25, 2019 at 4:06 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , ,

Hire a Veteran

On Memorial Day yesterday, we honored all veterans who sacrificed themselves for giving freedom and liberty to our country and other nations in the world. What could Entrepreneurs do to honor current veterans?

When you hire employees, do you consider veterans? Serving in our armed forces instills discipline, adherence to established processes, teamwork, courage, overcoming adversity and other fine attributes that Entrepreneurs should be seeking from qualified prospects.

Veterans bring with them an intrinsic understanding of how loyalty adds to team proficiency and builds trust in a work environment. For Entrepreneurs looking to make a long-term investment in an employee, veterans often outperform other candidates as proven team players.

Through service, training, and lifestyle, veterans typically have the work ethic that any Entrepreneur would be thrilled to replicate in all of the organization’s employees.

Entrepreneurs should, all things being equal, give preference to veterans who have served our country. You will not be disappointed.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on May 28, 2019 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Secondary Leadership

Entrepreneurs love to do everything themselves as they start and grow their companies. As they build staff, they do delegate operational  responsibilities as required.

However, do they delegate decision-making responsibilities and authority? Is there a clear backup person to whom the growing organization looks to make decisions in the absence of the Entrepreneur? Or, does the company postpone decisions awaiting the return of the Entrepreneur?

It is expected that when the company reaches a certain size, it should be in a position to have a secondary leadership team to run the organization. But what about the period until such a stage is reached?

An Entrepreneur needs to groom a backup person to whom the organization can rely upon and who has the authority to make certain decisions. This allows the Entrepreneur to focus on other issues that may require his/her absence from the business (or even take a vacation!).

Ravi Patel

Published in: on May 21, 2019 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Trusting People

Entrepreneurs like to be in “total” control. It is difficult for them to acknowledge that other people can do as good, if not a better, job than they can.  A few also believe that if they share their ideas with people, someone may steal them and take advantage.

It is all about trust. However, it is less about trusting other people, but more about not trusting themselves enough.

Entrepreneurs do take significant risks in the business sense – that is embark on new ideas, in an uncertain environment, with a not fully developed product or service, no ready customers, lack of adequate funding and so on. They are good at that.

When it comes to relying on other people, their risk-taking is limited. While they may trust family members, it is difficult for beginning Entrepreneurs to trust outsiders. So what is the issue?

In my opinion, the issue is that Entrepreneurs do not have sufficient trust in themselves to identify, train, and coach the right people to delegate key responsibilities. Sometimes loners, people management skills are the least ones they have developed. This often creates a situation where Entrepreneurs end up performing all key tasks and stretching themselves too thin.

Entrepreneurs need to train and then trust themselves to make appropriate people decisions so they can then trust those people to do the things right. The sooner they learn to do that the faster their growth and success.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on May 14, 2019 at 4:48 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,