Does Your Business Have Weaknesses?

The obvious answer is “yes.” More importantly, how do you find out your weaknesses?

The Entrepreneur can do an honest assessment and perform an in-depth, critical review. He/She could involve the management team in this process and have them openly, without fear of recrimination, list each area of weakness in the business. Have each manager of a functional area review not only his/her own area, but also other functions in the company.

The Entrepreneur can also solicit frank feedback from the Board of Directors and mentors regarding the areas that need improvement. Such feedback is more likely to be objective depending upon the relationship with the Entrepreneur.

The truest assessment of your weaknesses will come from competitors if you can obtain such information. Competitors analyze the business of their rivals very carefully to develop strategies to compete not only against their strengths but also to exploit their weaknesses. If you can find a way to gain analysis of your weaknesses performed by your competitors, it would be very useful in your strategic planning process.

Something to ponder ….

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

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Prepare for Growth

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

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on April 15, 2014 at 5:10 am  Comments (3)  
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Succession Planning

Entrepreneurs might not find the phrase “succession planning” in their vocabulary. While Entrepreneurs do not or might not want to think about succession in the sense that they are “retiring” from the business, finding a replacement is something to ponder about.

As an Entrepreneur starts and develops one business, the spirit of innovation does not end. He or she might find new ideas for ventures that might not fit within the mission of the current business. In that case the Entrepreneurs might have to start one or more companies.

In order for the Entrepreneur to focus on his/her entrepreneurial passion, the current business would require a capable leader to run the existing company. This is the type of “succession” planning the Entrepreneur should be thinking about.

If one wants to grow multiple businesses, then “succession” planning is critical for an Entrepreneur.

Ravi Patel

 

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 5:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Living to Fight Another Day

Entrepreneurs go through day-to-day crisis situations when building their companies while facing economic and governmental uncertainties in the market place.

Each day seems like a fight to survive so you can live for one more. This takes a lot of strain and toll on the Entrepreneurs and key employees. Some cannot bear the pressure and give up. The fighters bravely battle on and their persistence eventually pays off.

While crises face all Entrepreneurs, the ability to not only manage them when they happen, but also to reduce their frequency will allow the Entrepreneurs to “live” instead of “fight.”

Anticipating negative events and potential threats, planning to mitigate them, and implementing warning systems to alert you well in advance of the crisis will allow you to live more and fight less.

One cannot eliminate the occurrence of a crisis, but how well you learn to manage it will reduce the stress and allow you to live freely.

Ravi Patel

 

New Beginning

As you take on 2010, it is time to take a “Balance Sheet Review” of your business; not the true accounting numbers kind, but philosophically similar.

Entrepreneurs should evaluate their “assets” in the business – products/services, people, customers, processes, etc. This should establish the strengths of your business to either build upon or further improve in 2010.

A determination of your “liabilities” will give you an idea of the weaknesses that need to be focused on in 2010. These “liabilities” need to be mitigated or converted to “assets” so that you can utilize them for success during the year.

By performing a “Balance Sheet Review,” Entrepreneurs can set their priorities and goals for 2010 – a new beginning!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Having a Playbook

In the midst of the football season, it is impossible to miss the coaches on the sidelines with a color-coded sheet of possible plays to be called for that game. The head coach with all the assistant coaches spend hours prior to the game analyzing their competitor’s game, strengths and weaknesses, strategies and so on and blend it with their own team’s core competencies to create a game-plan for winning.

Entrepreneurs, do you have similar “playbook” for major strategic actions to be used against, in or with competitors, marketplace, economy, opportunities, employees and so on?

Winning on the field, analogous to the marketplace, requires a lot of planning, analysis, strategizing to come up with the ideal game-plan for success. A playbook for winning a football game is similar to one required for succeeding in business.

Create a playbook for your business. Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Financial Analysis versus Instinct

Entrepreneurs by their nature are risk takers and successful because they rely on their gut intincts to do innovative things.

As the capital needs of their businesses grow, they have to attract investors who often demand financial analyses for major projects or ventures.

There has to be a fine balance between decisions made on instinct and ones based on financial analysis. While the “entrepreneurial” spirit in decision making is important, the need for solid analysis should not be overlooked.

Entrepreneurs should optimize decision-making by achieving a proper balance between instinct and analysis.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Are You Really on Vacation?

Entrepreneurs need to take vacations as we have previously discussed (Entrepreneurs and Vacations).

However, are you as an Entrepreneur really on vacation when you take the time off to go somewhere? Most often, Entrepreneurs are so tied up in their businesses that they take their laptops and phones with them on vacation. They feel the need to check email messages and receive and make phone calls related to work. This is no vacation in the real sense.

Entrepreneurs should build an organization that is self-functioning in the short term and can survive without the Entrepreneur/CEO. Key management should be able to run day to day operations and make important decisions without having to check in with the Entreprenuer. When on vacation, Entreprenurs should only allow a single manager to contact them if there is a dire emergency.

Build a strong organization. Take a real vacation. Do the Right Things!

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