Invest Wisely

Businesses require investments. Entrepreneurs are aware of the capital necessary to start a business – whether it is for working capital, machinery, equipment, or so on.

As the business grows more investment might be needed. If the Entrepreneur only thinks of investment in material things, it might be short-sighted.

Long term success requires investment in softer areas of the business. For example, in order to have consistent results it is necessary to invest in developing robust business processes (not necessarily computer systems). This takes time and resources, but it is a wise investment.

Entrepreneurs need to make similar investment in their people. Identify the key potential people in your organization and invest in them. Urge them to improve their skills, train them in functional areas, and take a risk by giving them projects and assignments that challenge them. Investing in your people, just like other assets, will pay off in the long term.

Entrepreneurs need to identify all areas of their business to determine if they have invested appropriately in such areas to make them generate superior returns.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on February 11, 2020 at 7:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Engage Your People

Recruiting and hiring good employees is not enough for Entrepreneurs.

After new employees start work, on-boarding, orientation and making them aware of the company’s Vision, Mission and culture should be a standard part of any hiring process. How many Entrepreneurs do that?

Even if you have a robust on-boarding process, what do you do to keep your people actively engaged in your company?

Entrepreneurs don’t treat working in their company as a “job.” They need to develop that sense of spirit in their employees. People should feel closely attached to the Mission of the company such that they view their job in a macro sense – as having a direct impact on fulfilling the Mission rather than just completing assigned tasks.

Offering material rewards for accomplishments works for a while. What is more important is the emotional engagement of employees in the company such that they personally identify themselves with the company’s success (and failures). Finding ways to engage employees in a meaningful way should be a key objective for Entrepreneurs.

Engaged employees are generally happy and productive. Involve them in your in your company.

Ravi Patel

Verify What You Trust

As Entrepreneurs start building a solid leadership team for growth, they have to rely on and trust their key management personnel. But is that enough to ensure superior performance and growth?

While trusting the leadership to do the right thing, the Entrepreneur must also oversee the building of management reporting systems that independently verify the progress made by the company in established metrics. Such systems should have checks and balances to ensure that verification can be relied upon.

Trust is essential, but verification is paramount for long-term success. This is similar to a previous post on whether you should depend on people or processes. Trust is people based; verification is process based.

Entrepreneurs, trust your people but do have verification systems in place.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on July 23, 2019 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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Firing People

Is firing people wrong? Depending on the circumstances firing a person or a group of employees might be necessary for an Entrepreneur.

A continually poor performer in any enterprise becomes a liability to the other team members and the organization. If there is no change in the employee’s performance after repeated attempts to improve it, it would be wise to part company. Similarly if a third-party service provider does not consistently provide excellent service there is cause for firing that provider.

In a broader sense, for the survival of a company and a majority of its employees if a few employees have to be let go (after all other options have been exhausted), it is most often the right thing to do. As Spock used to say in Star Trek, .. for the survival of the many, a few have to suffer.”

Firing people for spite, revenge, uneconomic, or irrational reasons is never appropriate, but letting go of people for the right rationale is not necessarily wrong.

Ravi Patel

What Could MLK Teach Entrepreneurs?

The nation celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday yesterday. It is interesting to review what lessons Entrepreneurs can learn from Martin Luther King (MLK).

Dave Kerpen wrote an article on Inc. on January 19, 2004 listing seven lessons from MLK that are still relevant today. Here is my summary:

  1. Dream big – if you don’t dream big, you can’t achieve significant things
  2. Persuade without power – don’t be a “boss.” but be a leader through the power of persuasion
  3. Give people something to believe in – have passion in your Vision so people are compelled to adopt it
  4. Embrace fear and be courageous anyway– be honest with people about the challenges but have the courage to face them anyway
  5. Get everyone involved – Entrepreneurs can’t do everything themselves. They need to have other people involved to build their company.
  6. Create a sense of urgency – have a bias for action to get ahead of competition
  7. Inspire people – without inspiring leadership it merely becomes a job for your people. Have them motivated to fulfill your Vision.

These are lessons that Entrepreneurs can definitely learn from and adopt.

 Ravi Patel

Hiring Smarter People

Entrepreneurs must hire people to grow their companies. What kind of management leaders do they hire? Who should they hire? Is that appropriate?

In order to keep costs down, there might be a tendency to recruit lower-cost managers who might require a lot of supervision. Is this keeping costs down in the long run? Is the Entrepreneur’s time well spent in managing such managers?

Entrepreneurs should not be afraid to hire people smarter than they are. Hiring smarter people might be tough on the ego and wallet, but in the long run the company will be much better for it. In fact, hiring smarter people will provide the opportunity to not only learn from them, but also allow the Entrepreneur to focus more time and energy on his/her areas of strength.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on October 23, 2018 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Invest in the Right Things

Businesses require investments. Entrepreneurs are aware of the capital necessary to start a business – whether it is for working capital, machinery, equipment, or so on.

As the business grows more investment might be needed. Are Entrepreneurs investing in the right things? If Entrepreneurs only think of investment in material things, it might be short-sighted.

Long term success requires investment also in softer areas of the business. For example, in order to have consistent results it is necessary to invest in developing robust business processes (not necessarily computer systems). This takes time and resources, but it is a wise investment.

Entrepreneurs need to make similar investment in their people. Identify the key potential people in your organization and invest in them. Urge them to improve their skills, train them in functional areas, and take a risk by giving them projects and assignments that challenge them. Investing in your people, just like other assets, will pay off in the long term.

Entrepreneurs need to identify all areas of their business to determine if they have invested wisely in such areas to generate superior returns.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on August 7, 2018 at 4:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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