Matching Thoughts with Action

Many people dream up big ideas and constantly broadcast their thoughts. Very few people put their thoughts into actions.

Actions represent visible expressions of your thoughts. Make sure they are in sync.

Entrepreneurs are in the category of people who actually go about realizing their dreams by building on their ideas and actually making them work. They launch companies and develop and sell their products and services, all started by their thoughts

But, they need to do that as business leaders too when dealing with their stakeholders. Match what you promise your stakeholders with specific action. If you ask your employees to do something, you should too should be setting an example in that regard. Don’t expect people to blindly take your word for it if you do not actually do something concrete in that aspect.

As they say, actions speak louder than words – they actually do!

Ravi Patel

Sharing During the Holidays

In a previous post on “Balanced Life for Entrepreneurs” I had mentioned that one of the four corners of a balanced life is the communities that you live in and conduct business.

Some Entrepreneurs dedicate a significant amount of time in civic, charitable and community activities. This effort is commendable. For some, it is part of their Mission and Vision.

For others, it might make sense to establish some type of focus on giving and sharing. What better time to start than around these holidays. In addition to your individual efforts in this area, you might want to lead your business and employees in community activities. Not only will that inspire your employees, but it will reflect your company’s s desire to share and give in the community that you belong to.

Happy Holidays!

Ravi Patel

“I Need Help”

These three words are so misunderstood, especially by Entrepreneurs.

Asking for assistance is sometimes incorrectly perceived by Entrepreneurs as a weakness in leadership or deficiency. Or as, it is too expensive to ask for help. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

It is widely accepted that Entrepreneurs initially start businesses because of unique, innovative ideas – not because they are professional chief executives. It is not fair to expect that Entrepreneurs are well versed in all major functional areas of a business. Asking for help in areas that are not their strength is not a sign of weakness.

In fact, soliciting assistance at the right time is rational and could save Entrepreneurs time, people resources, and money in the long term. As a strategy, Entrepreneurs may want to create a Mastermind Group of advisors whom they can ask for help at any time.

Asking for help at the right time is smart business.

Ravi Patel

Winners Adjust, Losers Complain

A recent Twitter post by Ed DeCosta – “Complain not about the wind. Adjust your sails.” offers great business advice for Entrepreneurs.

In this troubled economic times and uncertainty, it is very easy to complain about all the things that are preventing Entrepreneurs from succeeding. Some of the issues faced by Entrepreneurs including cash shortages, employee layoffs and poor morale, unsustainable overhead and fixed expenses, misaligned ratios of variable expenses to revenues, customer and product/service issues, high debt levels and so on are ripe topics for complaining.

Losers will take this opportunity to complain and find excuses to rationalize their failure, just as a poor sailor frets about the winds.

Winning Entrepreneurs and leaders, instead, adjust their sails to move forward on a steady course. Finding ways to increase cash flow; having employee work-sharing programs and non-monetary motivational programs to boost morale; reducing overhead and fixed expenses; realigning ratios of variable expenses to revenues, customer partnerships and product/service improvement initiatives; and restructuring high debt loads are all positive ways to adjust the sails.

What would you rather do? Complain about the winds or adjust your sails. Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Be Thankful

Entrepreneurs have a lot to be thankful for!

First and foremost are our country and the free market system that allow Entrepreneurs the opportunity to create and grow businesses and prosper.

Employees are the backbone of companies and Entrepreneurs should be thankful for the dedication, loyalty and hard work put forth by their people to make businesses successful.

No business can sustain itself without customers and clients. Be thankful to your sources of revenue for putting their trust in you to provide services and products.

Entrepreneurs should also appreciate their suppliers and service providers who continue to supply essential goods and services to sustain their businesses.

Shareholders and financiers who have invested in your abilities to grow the business and provide a return on their capital should be high on the list of people to whom Entrepreneurs are grateful.

Do not forget to appreciate your gratitude to your business advisors who provide a sounding board for you to share ideas and seek advice.

Lastly, the community that you operate your businesses in should be appreciated also.

So on this Thanksgiving, I encourage Entrepreneurs to express their gratitude to the above stakeholders in your companies.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on November 21, 2011 at 5:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Unmanaged Growth Can Be Painful

Most people would 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 business growth. 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 unforseen 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

Reinforcing your Vision and Mission

Entrepreneurs – have you developed a Vision and Mission for your company? If so, that’s a great step one.

If not, you need to work on that. Since a lot of articles exist on how to develop a Vision and Mission Statement, I am not going to go into that here.

Having a defined Vision and Mission for your business is not enough. Communicating that to your leadership team and employees is crucial in order to obtain wide acceptance. The Vision and Mission that you developed is only a starting point, not the end.

Most Entrepreneurs, once aware of the need to do so, are diligent about developing their Mission and Vision. They even go through a formal process of publicizing it on their website and brochures and communicating it to their employees.

However, how often is the Mission reinforced to your stakeholders, especially your employees? If infrequently or none at all, there is a strong possibility that your overall business direction will be forgotten when your employees are deeply focusing on their daily tasks. Your Vision has to be their guiding principle too!

Reinforcing your Vision and Mission frequently is a necessary leadership step to ensure that the direction that your company should be moving towards is not forgotten.

Ravi Patel