Informing Clients of Bad News

All Entrepreneurs at one time or another are faced with situations where they might have to share some bad news with clients. What do you do?

If you are faced with a situation where you cannot deliver a product/service to a client per the original scope, there is a quality problem, a delay in performance, cost overruns, and so on; if or when do you communicate this news to the client?

  1. Inform them right away that you are facing a problem situation and the company is actively working on a plan for correction
  2. Communicate the problem situation and the corrective action plan after it has been developed
  3. Do not communicate this to the client until they find out. At that time inform them that you were aware of the problem and were working on the solution.
  4. Never inform the client hoping it will go away. If it surfaces, blame someone else in your company.

The Entrepreneur’s consistent philosophy in addressing the above situation with either one of these or other scenarios determines the long-term relationship with clients and success of the company.

What do you do when faced with such a situation? Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelcfoservices.com

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Recognize your Stars

As you start winding down the year and get into the holiday spirit, it is an ideal time to publicly recognize your key performers.

Employee recognition should be an integral part of your HR initiatives. Recognizing performance fosters better morale, uplifts your employee base, and makes your company a great place to work.

Entrepreneurs should identify key performance areas that need to be recognized. Take care not to limit the criteria to technical performance only – also reward leadership, team work, initiative and  so on . You might want to involve your employees in selecting an award.

A little recognition goes a long way to build employee morale.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Reducing Medical Benefit Costs

Entrepreneurs should always be looking at cost-effective ways of providing medical benefits to employees.

A simple way is to increase the office co-pay amounts on your medical plan and create a self-insured “reimbursement pool” for employees. The savings on monthly premiums might more than offset the reimbursement amounts.

Talk to your insurance broker. Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Financial Implications of the Hiring Process

Hiring the right people is an art, but if not done right it can have significant financial consequence.

Entrepreneurs are sometimes concerned about the costs of a good hiring process – such as recruiting fees, ads, background investigation, reference checks, multiple interviews involving a number of people. While these costs do add up, the financial implications of a poor hiring process are even greater.

Hiring the wrong person not only results in re-incurring some of the search expenses, but it also adds more significant costs such as lost opportunity costs, disruptions and stress in the organization, lost time, wasted training, delay in accomplishing objectives and so on.

Entrepreneurs should beef up the hiring process by investing in upfront procedures and tools to avoid significant future costs of failure.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Honest Feedback for Entrepreneurs

In order to continuously improve themselves and their business operations, Entrepreneurs need honest feedback.

While their other employees may be somewhat reluctant to do so, hiring key management personnel who can provide honest feedback may be quite valuable. Obviously there is a fine balance that senior management employees need to maintain between being perceived as criticizing their boss versus being loyal to the company.

Entrepreneurs need to surround themselves with key neutral advisors who are open to providing honest and realistic feedback to Entrepreneurs. Such advisors could be informal friends and business associates, members of a Mastermind Group, or Board of Directors.

It is of course necessary for Entrepreneurs to be ready to accept such honest feedback.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Keeping Informed of Company Operations

Although I advise Entrepreneurs to let their key managers run their departments within broad operating parameters, it does not mean that the CEOs should be unaware of what is going on.

Entrepreneurs might want to set up a periodic reporting system with their key managers so they can stay informed on the operations of their businesses. Such reporting systems might include a summary of key accomplishments, planned upcoming activities and issues that might require assistance from the CEO.

A periodic reporting system allows Entrepreneurs to keep informed without micro managing their key managers on a daily basis.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Fix Your Credit to Obtain Credit

Although the principle seems too simplistic, I am amazed at the number of Entrepreneurs who get into situations where their personal or business credit affects their ability to obtain lines of credit or loans.

Entrepreneurs start their business ventures through personal funds or credit, hoping to repay themselves from the profits from their companies. However, as they continue to grow, the need for working capital compounds the problems often affecting not only their personal credit but the credit rating for their businesses.

These situations become a vicious cycle where getting out is often very difficult and expensive. Entrepreneurs need to get a handle on their personal and business credit to afford them the opportunity to fund growth for their businesses.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

How Will You Deal With Potential Inflation?

Given the extraordinary and irrational current and planned government spending levels and resulting deficits, it is not abnormal to anticipate severe inflationary pressures on the economy.

If the other anti-inflationary factors do not not kick in over the next few years, Entrepreneurs will be faced with huge inflationary risks for their businesses.

Does you planning process take such inflationary risks into account?  What type of counter measures are you planning? Entrepreneurs may want to be proactive and start now to develop strategies to deal with potential inflation.

Please contact us at Patel CFO Services (www.patelCFOservices.com) if we can assist you in this process.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Are Vacations Mandatory?

Vacations are offered at almost all companies as a benefit to the employees. Employees use this time to spend leisure or social time with their families. Employees can hopefully recharge their batteries to come back to work rejuvenated.

Do you require vacations to be mandatory or can employees use the unutilized vacation time as extra cash compensation? If it is the latter, you might be doing a disservice to your employees. Vacations are meant to be used as a benefit for relaxation and should be used as such.

There is another important internal control feature in requiring mandatory vacations. It allows companies to uncover any irregular activities, if there are any, during the absence of  employees. Entrepreneurs should keep in mind this internal control aspect.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Is Your Banking Relationship Changing?

Entrepreneurs may want to get a pulse of their current banking relationship.

Given the tightening of government control over the banking industry, many banks are required to strengthen their capital:debt ratios. As a result of this, banks are reevaluating credit lines and debt relationships with clients.

Entrepreneurs may want to sit down with their banker and get a sense of what is going on at their bank. It might be prudent to draw up backup plans if Entrepreneurs get a feeling that the banking relationship is about to change.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com