Create a Strong Foundation

Watching a tree sway with the gusty winds brings forth a business analogy.

To survive strong winds, 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 Entrepreneurs need to build a solid foundation to combat competition, market and regulatory forces and changing economic environment. Absent 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 created a solid foundation for growth?

Ravi Patel

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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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Is Rapid Growth Always Good?

Entrepreneurs are mostly focused on growing their companies and would like nothing more than rapid growth. Compared to the alternatives, managing growth is a nice “problem” to have.

However, is rapid growth always good for Entrepreneurs? Not necessarily.

Being ready for and managing rapid growth requires tremendous preparation and infrastructure. In addition to unique product and services and a solid management team, items such as adequate facilities, reliable IT infrastructure, communication systems, developed business processes, working capital lines of credit, access to growth capital, a group of professional advisors (lawyers, accountants, etc.), an industry advisory group or Board, and so on must be in place.

Most Entrepreneurs have a few of these things in place as they expand, but reach a crisis point when certain required elements are not readily available or in place.

While rapid growth is desirable, Entrepreneurs must ensure that they have in place the requirements to manage such growth . Otherwise, rapid growth may not be good for them.

Ravi Patel

www.patelcfoservices.com

Published in: on January 23, 2018 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rapid Growth Isn’t For Everyone

Entrepreneurs are mostly focused on growing their companies and would like nothing more than rapid growth. However, is rapid growth good for all Entrepreneurs? Not necessarily.

Being ready for and managing rapid growth requires tremendous preparation and infrastructure. In addition to unique product and services and a solid management team, items such as adequate facilities, reliable IT infrastructure, communication systems, developed business processes, working capital lines of credit, access to growth capital, a group of professional advisers (lawyers, accountants, etc.), an industry advisory group or Board, and so on must be in place.

Most Entrepreneurs have a few of these things in place as they expand, but reach a crisis point when certain required elements are not readily available or in place.

While rapid growth is desirable, Entrepreneurs must ensure that they have in place the requirements to manage such growth . Otherwise, rapid growth might not be good for them.

Ravi Patel

www.patelcfoservices.com

Published in: on August 15, 2017 at 3:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Stand Still Once in a While

“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 traveller 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 traveller assessing whether he/she has adequate supplies and fuel).

Make adjustments as necessary and then continue your efforts to grow. Standing still once in a while is good for you!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on May 16, 2017 at 4:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Growing Pains

Almost all those in business would welcome growth. However, not managing it could cause growing pains. In reality, managing growth successfully requires thought and is really hard work.

Hiring employees rapidly might indicate that a business is growing. However, if the infrastructure to support the integration of these new employees in the company has not increased simultaneously, it could cause a painful situation for both management and the new employees. Unaccounted or unforeseen indirect costs, such as payroll taxes, benefits and insurance, could adversely impact cash flow. Rapid employment growth might also attract government scrutiny for compliance of labor regulations.

Rapid growth in sales orders is a great thing. Do you have the ability to deliver those orders on time and maintain quality? Do you have an adequate customer service function to handle potential issues?

Fast growth in revenues creates an increase in receivables (unless you are fortunate to have a cash-only business). Do you have sufficient working capital or access to funds to accommodate such an increase or even delays in collections?

While growth is desirable, Entrepreneurs need to manage it carefully to avoid or significantly mitigate the accompanying pains.

Ravi Patel

www.patefCFOservices.com

Growing But Not Managing

Most people love growth in their business. However, managing growth could be painful especially if it is rapid. In fact, managing growth successfully requires thought and is really hard work.

Adding employees quickly might indicate your business is growing. Has the infrastructure to support the integration of these new employees in the company increased simultaneously? If not, it creates a painful situation for both management and the new employees. Unaccounted or unforeseen indirect costs, such as payroll taxes, benefits and insurance, could adversely impact cash flow. Rapid employment growth might also attract government scrutiny for compliance of labor regulations.

Fast growth in sales orders is a great thing. Do you have the ability to deliver those orders on time and maintain quality. Do you have an adequate customer service function to handle potential issues?

Rapid growth in revenues also means an increase in receivables (unless you are fortunate to have a cash-only business). Do you have sufficient working capital or access to funds to accommodate such an increase or even delays in collections?

While growth is exciting, Entrepreneurs need to manage it carefully to avoid or significantly mitigate the accompanying pains. Leadership requires Doing the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patefCFOservices.com

Published in: on March 15, 2016 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Doing the Right Things

Entrepreneurs need to focus on doing the right things for growth. In general, who is right should not matter as much as doing what is right.

Could this actually work in practice?

If the Entrepreneur has created a culture of favoritism and is partial to employees whom he/she likes, then who is right will take precedence. Employees will try to prove they are right to win favors with the Entrepreneur and might even try to put others down. Not a healthy environment for growth!

On the other hand, if the Entrepreneur has established a culture of teamwork, sharing and continuous improvement, then doing what is right will prevail. There will be more emphasis on doing the proper things for the company rather than establishing who is right. In this case it becomes a win-win situation!

What would Entrepreneurs rather have?

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Being Right is Not Important

In entrepreneurial companies it is  is critical to do the Right Things for growth. Thus, who is right should not matter as much as doing what is right.

Does this actually work in practice?

If the Entrepreneur has created a culture of favoritism and is partial to employees whom he/she likes, then who is right will take precedence. Employees will try to prove they are right to win favors with the Entrepreneur and might even try to put others down. This is not a healthy environment!

However, if the Entrepreneur has established a culture of teamwork and continuous improvement, then what is right will prevail. There will be more emphasis on doing the right things for the company rather than establishing who is right. In this case it becomes a win-win situation!

What would you as an Entrepreneur rather have?

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on August 4, 2015 at 4:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Are You Managing Growth?

“To climb steep hills requires slow pace at first.” – William Shakespeare

Starting a new business and helping it grow is akin to climbing a steep hill. If you climb too fast you could run out of energy and might not get to the top; a slow pace is required at first to build up strength and stamina to reach the peak.

Entrepreneurs too need to pace their growth. At first one needs to move slowly to ensure that all the building blocks (fully developed product or service, employees, backroom systems and processes, etc.) of the business are in place. If one starts running without these fundamentals, one might not be able to get too far.

Starting with a slower pace also ensures that you have time to make sure everything is working as intended. If corrective actions are required, you have time to fix the problems before you get too far down the road.

Once the structure is in place and you have warmed up, you can gradually increase the pace of growth as your building blocks are strong and the business has stamina.

Pace yourself in business to climb to newer heights.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com