Reality Check

Entrepreneurs come up with new ideas to start businesses to make a difference. Their passion can be ignited only if they dream big.

However, Entrepreneurs should first see things as they currently are before visualizing what they could be.

Taking an assessment of the situation as it currently stands is critical before embarking on a dream. A reality check, often with advice of trusted confidants, helps to bring facts into the situation. Ignoring the current state of affairs and only imagining where you could be might pose a problem if not dealt with correctly.

It is not wrong to dream, but in order to achieve one’s Vision it is necessary to start from facts as they are now and then chart a realistic plan to get where you visualize your end point. Depending upon the current situation, the path might be easy, difficult or not possible at all. Ignoring the difficulty of the path is not rational.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

http://www.patelCFOservices.com

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Published in: on April 1, 2014 at 5:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Being Successful

 

Entrepreneurs get into business to be their own boss and make money. Most of them want to be successful. Is that an unreasonable expectation or goal?

Success has to come to you; you shouldn’t be seeking success!

Success is a journey, not a destination. – Ralph Arbitelle

Being successful is process of achieving your Mission and Vision. One needs to first work on the specific, established, periodic goals of a business and accomplish those well. Meeting goals is a more reasonable short-term objective; while fulfilling your Mission and achieving your Vision are the proper long-term areas of focus.

If you do all that, success is a natural process; you don’t have to seek or strive for it.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

 

Published in: on January 28, 2014 at 5:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Relinquishing Control

“Don’t let go too soon and don’t hang on too long.” – Mitch Albom. Quite useful advice for Entrepreneurs.

It is always a delicate balance as to when an Entrepreneur needs to let go and delegate responsibility of his/her business to someone else. If one leaves too early, the Mission and Vision might remain unaccomplished. On the other hand, hanging on too long might jeopardize long-term success.

Leaving the business to pursue other ventures is all dependent on to whom the Entrepreneur is relinquishing control. If the Entrepreneur has built up a strong leadership team and a solid foundation to accomplish the Mission, delegating responsibility to run the business to a competent CEO is prudent. However, if the leadership team and the new CEO are not seasoned and well-developed, the Entrepreneur risks a lot by leaving too soon.

Hanging on too long can be an issue also. If the business has grown beyond the capability of the Entrepreneur to successfully run it, it might be damaging to hang on to power. A new CEO is then necessary. Alternatively, if the Entrepreneur has recruited a solid leadership team and a likely CEO and trained them, hanging on will be demotivating to the capable successor CEO and the  team as they cannot show off their potential.

If the Entrepreneur runs the business on his/her own without a secondary leadership team and wants to continue doing so, he/she does not face the question of leaving too early or hanging on. But is that continued retention of control achieving the Mission and Vision of the business?

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

A Different Perspective

Flying at 35,000 feet above the earth gives you a different perspective than one from the ground. Check out this image  Have you taken that type of view of your business?

Entrepreneurs very often get involved in the day-to-day operations of their business and sometimes get too close to it. Using the often-cited saying, they are into looking at the trees rather than the forest.

Using a similar analogy, being on the ground only gives you a one-dimensional perspective of what is going on in your business. One needs to fly at a higher altitude and get a macro view of what is happening in the company and to all its stakeholders.

Taking a break and viewing the business from different perspectives, either as a forest or from 35,000 feet above the earth, would be helpful to Entrepreneurial leaders in better visualizing where they are, and where they need to be going. Are you doing that? Are you moving towards fulfilling your Vision and Mission?

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Vision with Execution

“Vision without execution is a daydream. Execution without vision is a nightmare” – Japanese Proverb. How appropriate is this wisdom for Entrepreneurs?

Many people with good ideas keep on dreaming of making it big. But they don’t (or can’t) as they do not put their ideas into practice. Not executing your vision gets you nowhere except in your dreams.

Action-oriented people rush to do things, but are they doing the right things? If you don’t have a plan or vision, what are you executing? It is like driving fast, but not knowing your destination. How can you get there and even if you do, is that the correct destination?

A successful Entrepreneur combines a realistic Vision with proper execution to reach his/her goal. Having the proper balance between the two and synchronizing the efforts of your actions to the purpose of your Mission is necessary for success.

Don’t dream of doing things; Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

 

Published in: on July 10, 2012 at 5:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Silver Lining

As the cliché goes, ‘there is a silver lining behind every cloud.” So it is for business and Entrepreneurs.

A new or growing business faces challenges, obstacles and failures. If you choose to focus only on these “clouds,” you could get easily discouraged. But, every failure is a lesson and an opportunity.

There must be something positive in the fundamentals of your business that lurks behind the clouds – the silver lining. These could be your product or service, people, competitive advantage, clients, vendors and so on. Find it.

Entrepreneurs need to focus on their Vision and Mission and the positive aspects of their business. There was a reason that you started your business. Aspire to look for the silver lining behind the clouds and there is sure to be sunshine in the near future.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

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

www.patelCFOservices.com

False Expectations

Entrepreneurs get into business with an idea that they hope to develop into something really big.

As they put 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

 

Completing the Balance Sheet

In a previous blog, I suggested that Entrepreneurs “take an inventory” of their businesses.

Taking inventory identifies the “assets” of your Balance Sheet  (not in the technical accounting sense, but similar). In order to complete the “Balance Sheet,” you also need to focus on your “liabilities.”

What are the areas in your business that are weak and need to be improved? What technologies and processes need to be beefed up before they cause serious problems? Do you have employees or managers that need to be discarded because they are becoming liabilities? Do a few of your clients and suppliers pose issues that account for most of your time for resolution?

Taking a true assessment of your “liabilities” and coming up with plans to address those will definitely strengthen your “Balance Sheet” to acheive your Vision and Mission.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

 

Broad versus Niche Market Strategy

Entrepreneurs start with a great idea and build a company to commercialize that. When the going gets tough they attempt to add new products and services to meet cash flow needs. If they try to do that consistently, they end up having a market strategy that caters to a broad market. Is this always good?

Walking into or driving through In-N-Out Burger, one can marvel at their simple model. They focus on a few items in their menu and do a great job of delivering quality to their clients. It is no wonder there are long lines for their offerings. This is a great example of adopting a niche market strategy.

Entrepreneurs need to seriously review their vision and mission to determine what is the most appropriate market strategy for them. Is it better to offer product/services to a broad or niche market?

If one can target a niche market and serve it very well, it offers a competitive advantage that might be beneficial in terms of premium pricing. If you are cost-effective in your offerings, you might be able to compete well with a broader market strategy.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel