Business Challenges

Key business challenges, companies have to expect and overpower today.

Taking On Business Challenges

Company businesses and its business management, running a company is a big challenge. Moreover, the different sectors have their own specific requirements. But let us initially concentrate on the uniform and recurring business challenges.

Challenges are part of doing business. It's a well-known saying. Real optimists claim that they only know challenges instead of problems. Perhaps correct and relevant. More important is to anticipate challenges constructively and promptly before they become a problem.

The top management of companies often states that they already know all their challenges and are preventing (future) obstacles. However, in our interim management and business consulting practise, we notice that operational management does not always justify this assertion.

In addition, business operations are becoming increasingly complex. Companies are grappling with constant changes, from strengthening economic activity in emerging markets, increasing competition and new laws and regulations. And innovation in products and services, new technology and the battle for talent make the situation even more intense.

Some limit their business challenge to just; make more profit, possibly supplemented with more turnover and more customers. A further addition could be; under pleasant conditions and a good work/life balance.

In our view, business challenges are linked to the essence of entrepreneurship. For us, managing companies and doing business consists of three aspects aimed at

- assurance of business continuity
- position improvement
- increase in business value.

Facing, anticipating and overcoming obstacles excellently and strikingly is what sets a good company apart from others in the market.

Business Challenges Quick Scan

In practice, we use the list of common business challenges below as a quick scan for an order intake. An assessment of the company status and the effectiveness of the business operations according to the aspects mentioned above. This includes the motivations, intended objectives, and priorities set concerning the planning.
Such a quick scan gives
- understanding of the company situation (obviously with respect for management/staff, past, culture and circumstances)
- value judgement
- the blind spots
- improvement potential
- issues
and for any interim management and business consulting assignments
- agreement of the point of departure
- input for a cost-benefit analysis
- basis for formulating the assignment/tasks
- support for the implementation

List Of 40 Key Business Challenges

Business challenges companies have to expect and overpower today

** Strategic Business Challenges
Risks And Uncertainty
Adapting Change
Effective Business Planning
Growth Threatens Quality

** Management Business Challenges
Compromising Business leaders
Pressure to meet demands
Problem solving
Strategic leadership
Tiredness and loss of attention
Managing Time
Doubting yourself and the business
Work with the best mentors and advisors
Poor Communication
Life/Work Balance

** Financial Business Challenges
Adequate funding and sufficient working capital
Financial management
Monitoring Business Performance
Cash Management
Budgets not well spent
High overhead costs
Using Business For Personal Finances

** Marketing Business Challenges
Compile A Profitable Marketing Mix
Increasing Brand Awareness & Reputation
Current Market Information
Maximize Lead Generation
Understand and beat the competition
Make Marketing Measurable

** Sales Business Challenges
Get and keep profitable customers
Customer dependency
Negotiate for a satisfying order sale
Add New Sales Channels

** Human Resources Business Challenges
Attitude and skills sets
Qualitative and Flexible Staffing
Develop and Retain Top Talent

** Several Other Business Challenges
Compliance Management
The Right Record Systems

Strategic Business Challenges

Risks And Uncertainty

Understanding and being able to forecast trends is an integral part of being successful as a company. It is vital to a change in strategic directions or a changing economic climate, but not every CEO has the predictive powers of business leaders. Business planning, adjustments to the strategy and investments are far-reaching matters with an impact and always with variable risk. Potential missteps must be avoided, and dangers must be limited. In addition to insight and business expertise, it is expected that the management is prepared and can cope with future uncertainties.

Adapting Change

In line with the above, respond promptly to future developments, opportunities and threats. Don't change because it is a trend and for the sake of change, but to stay profitable and competitive. Note; not all change is better. Sometimes, we have to let go of the old ways of doing things to keep relevant in a changing world. However, it will be a challenge to adapt well to change, and the company that succeeds in doing so has a considerable advantage and ensures continuity. Flexibility (use of potential), willingness to change and effectuation of changes are nowadays indispensable success factors for a company.

Effective Business Planning

There's a wide variety of different plan options to consider depending on the current business situation. Adjusting plans make sense at different times based on changed insights. Do not stick to - set in stones - principles, objectives and implementation plans, but remain realistic and open-minded. Therefore, review the business plans, determine what works and pays off, and develop contingency plans if things don't go as planned. Business plans remain a challenge for many companies; sometimes, plans are entirely missing, are of poor quality, are not used as a living and guiding document, and are just the result of an annually recurring event. The business strategy has to support growth (not just turnover and profit) and needs to evolve as the business grows. Be careful with growth and especially with new business ideas. As management, you should ask yourself if growth and new business are realistic and fit the company's strengths and vision of the direction the business is going. Keep in mind that every new development brings with it changing risks and requires the necessary resources.

Growth Threatens Quality

Growth doesn't always mean success. Growth often means new business challenges to overcome. When that happens, it's essential to see if the growth issues still match the benefits or whether it's time to take another step forward, one with less risk but with greater potential for success. Growth to scale up, at some point, will include sacrifices such as f.e. reorganization of the organization and tasks, deployment of resources etc. With growth, often with the stretching of productivity, there is a threat at the costs of the overall quality and the customer experience. There is a high chance of an imbalance, especially if the growth happens abruptly. Project companies with fluctuating order utilization often suffer from this. To guarantee quality and not jeopardize customer satisfaction, a planned gradual but stable growth, with timely provisions, is recommended.

Management Business Challenges

Compromising Business Leaders

Founder or managing director dependence is a common problem in many companies. It can stem from the founder not being able to let go of certain decisions and responsibilities, and it's often because they, as founder and owner, feel they need to control everything. Owners could block business growth by making the company highly dependent on themselves, but by doing this; they make the company also highly vulnerable. At a specific company size, founders and business owners should be conductors and ensure that their employees and business partners are working well together. Train and support people and give them more operating freedom with clear responsibilities. Depending on the character and appropriate role of the management, an unstable and conflicting situation can arise that hinders solid business operations and cooperation. In short, even the manner of leadership and management must be subordinate to the company interest.

Pressure to meet demands

Top management always, partly depending on the results and the situation, operate under high time pressure. They need to focus, set priorities, and sometimes have to make decisions that they try to avoid. But, managing business pressures requires an attitude and skills that most people can't learn or develop, and there is a need for experience. By taking the right actions, a company is more likely to perform better and survive in the long term in any type of adversity. Proven experience in a turbulent environment of a management team will also thrive to become better leaders and managers. Experience is an advantage to survive as a company and ensure continuity by generating good performance over time.


Running a business requires constant attention to the broad outline and being open to the defining details. Top leaders can switch between these extremes but recognize the importance of getting the correct information for decision making. They understand in business, there are always new challenges and (minor?) emergencies that urgently need to be resolved. But they are also convinced that troubleshooting should not be their personal time-consuming day job. In addition to a possible leading role in solving major problems, they build a foundation of the business organization. The challenge and solution of business problem solving is to hire capable managers who are instructed and able to solve those day-to-day problems.

Strategic leadership.

Strategic leadership is the role of a leader who is focused on the organization's vision and mission. To define the overall roadmap into actionable items delegates the goals to responsible team members, unites the team and motivates each team member. Instruct and monitor progress both short-term and in the long term. Strategic leadership is the culmination of business operations, encompassing both management skills and all other vital business areas. It covers generating business needs through a commercial spirit of recognizing trends, developing new conceptual ideas, finding promising business opportunities and execution. Besides determining direction, strategic leadership is team building, respecting valuable opinions, knowledge and skills, assigning tasks to achieve improvements and growth. Effective leadership also ensures that the company has the resources and the team is adequately equipped to achieve planned success.

Tiredness and loss of attention

Board of directors must have exceptional interpersonal skills and strong leadership skills. A strong leader is willing to put in extra time and effort to instruct and improve the performance of the management and core team. However, many directors and entrepreneurs have such a busy schedule that they are overloaded and have little to no time for friends, family, and hobbies. No chance to relax for workaholics carries both personal and business risks. Fatigue reduces productivity and sharpness, which can lead to hasty decisions. When people get tired, so do directors; they often find it difficult to think, they become forgetful, grumpy, less organized, and pay less attention to what needs to be done.

The evolution of a company can be an uphill, expensive battle. However, personal sacrifices can become disproportionately heavy as a business grows, and it's up to the director/owner to find a steady, sustainable pace. Excessive work pressure can lead to loss of attention and interest, which ultimately jeopardizes commitment due to the imbalance. Proven entrepreneurs and board members are driven by the realization of their vision and generally not money. If the resources are available, they can, to a certain extent, organize their own roles and leave certain matters to other appointed experts.

Managing Time

Allocating time on the right priorities and being effective is vital. This is a substantiated problem for nearly any industry. Don't forget that a successful company is more than just a product or service. It's a well-oiled machine of people, processes and technology to deliver goals. If any part of the machine breaks, it's time to bring in the mechanics. If employees are productive and efficient, their productivity will maximize the potential of every one of them. Clear set instructions and tasks within a time frame and a deadline clarify the responsibilities.

On the other hand, top management has its contours, but within that, a great deal of freedom to prioritize and organize the work itself. Time pressure, the scope and (periodic) variations in workload, ad hoc matters and unfinished planned work, and delegation and escape behaviour have an impact. Working effectively as a director is achieving the right and most important results within the given time.

Doubting yourself and the business

Doubts happens to everyone sometimes. Considerations such as; "If we had known this before!" or "Isn't this challenge too big for us?" or "Am I doing this right?" or "How are we going to solve this again?" are quite common. Self-doubt is normal, and most executives and entrepreneurs will face it, especially early in their careers or in a new business or position. It's hard to overcome a doubtful mind, but can be overpowered through clear inspiration, perseverance, possible help from a mentor, and support from others. This requires a positive approach to concern analysis and frankness. Assuming that adversity makes us stronger and a permanent focus on the chosen track until proven otherwise is a recommended starting point for overcoming doubts.

Work with the best mentors and advisors.

It is hard to find the right advisors and mentors and build a good relationship based on mutual trust. Friendly acquaintances, supervisory or independent directors can also guide business operations. It is crucial to ensure that they have the required knowledge and consciously assume the role as envisaged. In addition to knowledge, respect and trust, reflection with the associated opening to weaknesses is a challenging requirement that can be confronting for the parties involved. However, it is not about personal damage or incompetence but business continuity and development and continuity.

Poor Communication

One of the main critical business challenges is communication issues. If absent, deficient or counterproductive communication is not addressed, communication problems can quickly lead to disastrous effects on an organization. The determining factors in communication for sending and interpreting a message, informing and changing behaviour are very extensive.

To communicate means to exchange information between two or more people. There are two critical moments in communication where things can go wrong:
1. when transferring the information
2. upon receipt (interpretation) of the information.

When communication goes wrong when transferring information, there is 'noise' or interference on the line. Understand the determining factors for good communication, which are;
- Valuable; the message must be relevant and worthwhile to take precedence over all other information.
- Clear; sincere, keep it short, present effectively with the right choice of words, repeat the core but remain explicit and with a focus (omitting unnecessary and unimportant matters)
- Interaction; know the audience/receiver, react to what you see, hear and feel (signs of body posture, reactions and emotions), the actual adjustment of sending strategy for an improved result.
- Intensity; words loaded with emotions are powerful; the receiver not only receives the information but also feels it.

The recipients' behavioural determinants are
- Resistance; expressed through aversion, scepticism, mistrust, laxity
- Values; acceptance if in high line with own self-image
- Automatic reactions and unconscious associations
- Emotions, feelings such as fear (threat), joy or surprise
- Social environment, influence, perception, norms
- Physical environment such as obstacles or assistance guidance, rewards or other stimulating matters.

Managing a business or organization and especially communicating about this is not easy; it requires attention to detail and all processes to achieve the desired results. Managers must have a deep understanding of how their organization functions and how they must communicate to be influential leaders. As indicated, communication is of great importance; if possible, everything is decisive. Certainly in situations such as transferring strategy, policy changes or in a business crisis.

Life/Work Balance

Bearing ultimate corporate responsibility creates obligations and prioritization and will undoubtedly affect personal affairs. This is fine as long as they don't come to rule personal life entirely and cause problems in personal relationships.

Remember to maintain balance in life by taking time for yourself. Your business will be an important part of your life, but it can't always be the only thing. Sometimes the business requires all attention and working hours that will deter even the notorious workaholic, but this may not always and continues to be the case.

Too often, business leaders sacrifice their health. By working late and putting themselves completely in their work, they often put themselves out of commission for their family and personal well-being. Or they take home the worries and bad moods at home and create some fiction. On the other hand, as a business leader, one must also have a home situation that understands and can deal - within reason - with such a state of affairs. It can become extremely tragic if conflicts arise with the family back home, which will obviously cost a lot of care and energy. Business leaders cannot afford that such concerns are affecting running the business efficiently and effectively. It is almost a condition to perform commercially, but directors need to have the genuine skill to discover and maintain a good balance between work and personal life.

Financial Business Challenges

Adequate funding and sufficient working capital

There is a lot of cash needed to start and run a business, and for sure, today's business is more complex than ever. Overwhelmed by decisions to be made and the few options regarding financing, companies are already very pleased that they have sufficient capital at their disposal. The costs and conditions of the funding are often taken for granted. But there are also increasingly different kinds of funding available today. There's bank loans, family/friend loans, venture capital, crowdfunding, leasing and other ways to fund a business. Funding has an enormous impact on the business operations and the ability to expand the business. Some funding options work well for the company, and others might not. Combine and evaluate the options on requirements, conditions, costs and consider the possibilities.

Financial management

Many business owners and CEOs are driven by strategy and sales. They can create revolutionary new products, disruptive marketing concepts, and exceptional services. But most business owners and CEOs are great at executing their vision, and finance is not their priority. It shouldn't be possible, but many companies do not have the knowledge of the latest financial regulations, the possibilities and impossibilities. Apply deductions, reduce taxes, formal reporting and financial engineering to improve the company's revenues, its financial position and solve financial problems.

Some companies have a financial system with flaws, poor accounting with data full of gaps and an unclear origin, not up-to-date data and sometimes even lacks consistent and complete periodic reporting. Failure to prioritize will result in undesired postponement or incorrect decisions in a timely and necessary adjustment of budgets, forecasts and the associated corrective actions.

In addition to financial management knowledge, companies must have good financial management information and must attach measures to any deviations. Most small and medium-sized businesses do not usually need a full-time CFO. Still, they may benefit from hiring a financial consultant who can help the management whenever the need arises.

Monitoring Business Performance

Somewhat in line with the above, using meaningful performance indicators and reporting is critical for any business. Most people are familiar with the term "performance management." This term refers to the collection of activities related to measuring, monitoring, and improving the performance of employees, teams, and the business as a whole. It involves a broad range of tools and practices to support the implementation of effective, timely, and accurate performance measures. The most common performance measures relate to financial performance, but organizations are increasingly using other organisational performance measures and leadership effectiveness.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be used to understand the growth and progress of the business. They can be tracked and measured against the company goals and objectives. Without any monitoring or reporting system, a company is not manageable and is a lame duck.

Cash Management

Financial planning is a common shortcoming; it is lacking or insufficiently anticipated. Cash flow issues are the main worries of many businesses. They can be caused by insufficient funding, losses or faulty business operations. The latter include late payments from clients, unexpected significant outgoings, and debts that won't wait to be paid. Certainly, the larger necessary payments such as major creditors, taxes, interest and repayments to financiers and salaries can, if cash reserves are insufficient, cause stagnations and dilemmas. A direct consequence of inadequate cash reserves always leads to unrest, disrupted relationships, loss of mutual trust and productivity, increasing costs. If no suitable solution is found, it will go into an almost irreversible downward spiral.

Budgets are not well spent.

It is proven; not having and keeping a budget will only lead to more debt and financial responsibilities than a company can handle. Developing a budget will help to plan for the future, but it will also give a tool for analyzing expenditures and the ability to change direction when needed.

Budgets keep business owners and CEOs focused on the work that will keep the company afloat and running smoothly to manage it into a successful and profitable business.

With a positive cash flow, far more money is available as the needs; it seems to be a danger or contest to delay rewards. Unnecessary rewards, mainly personal wishes and unnecessary spending, do just increase operating costs. Business budgets must always be based on really necessary costs about the return and an optimum thereof. We notice that a sliding scale arises over time in reasonably successful companies, and costs increase that have a motive other than generating revenue or return for the company; the so-called (personal?) gifts or 'vested' rights.

High overhead costs

Before we mentioned, budgets and overhead costs will determine a large part of the budget. Often excessive overheads have driven a company in an irreversible loss-making position and do go simply burst.

Direct costs are usually the most significant problem, and savings are generally limited. Perhaps higher productivity, different technology or a differentiating design can increase the margin and the added value. But we can qualify this as intelligent entrepreneurship. Usually, it's the overhead that kills the business. To avoid this, focus and tailor the company to the customers' needs and what they are willing to pay. Determine what is needed, valuable and desirable and optimize the margin. Although a marketing issue, the cost point of view is highly crucial to find out what the customers want.

Using Business For Personal Finances

Using business finances for personal expenses needs to be avoided but is quite common in family businesses. Keeping those separate is a critical rule to follow. For any business owner who wants to keep their company successful, it's essential to maintain the separation between personal and business funds. It's also really important to have a system for keeping track of cash flow to ensure that it is going where it should. Internal auditors will see this as a big red flag. It's not the first time something like this has happened, where the financial booking was also partly executed or cannot be traced anymore.

Marketing Business Challenges

Compile A Profitable Marketing Mix

Translate marketing strategy into marketing tactics so that a company can immediately proceed to concrete actions and implement the strategy efficiently; that is the objective of the marketing mix. The most commonly used method to fill in that marketing mix is the method of the 4Ps: Product, Price, Place (= distribution), and Promotion (for 7Ps add; people, process, and physical evidence).

It is essential that the interpretation of the separate marketing instruments Ps is coordinated. The sub-areas of the marketing mix have mutual interaction and dependence. It is fundamental to make a good combination between these different Ps so that they reinforce each other. Therein lies an enormous task which, in our view, determines the entire business operations and the operating result. However, many companies, especially SMEs, fail to pay attention to the marketing mix or take decisions that do not fit within the assumed marketing mix. We notice that it is precisely those companies that are still disdainful about marketing or want to save time and costs that fail. They believe that they can quickly formulate and implement a winning marketing mix themselves. Again as mentioned, a marketing mix is all-determining for any type of business.

Some other common marketing mistakes are;
- Not doing research,
- Not formulating target customers (not specifically but broadly),
- Wrong business location,
- Not offering benefits that solve customer problems,
- Not using innovative promotion channels,
- Not prioritizing customer retention,
- Lack of marketing budget, etc.

Increasing Brand Awareness & Reputation

When brand awareness is high among your target group, it's easier for them to understand, recall and become familiar with that brand. As a result, the brand is more likely to come up when potential customers research and make purchasing decisions.

A positive brand reputation is vital in today's highly competitive market, and is positioned as a brand with a positive reputation is critical for success.

Protecting and maintaining a positive brand reputation increases customer loyalty, builds confidence in the market and helps position the business and its products and services. With strategic brand reputation management tactics, a company can easily improve its reputation and boost its sales.

However, nowadays and especially due to the influence of social media, brands can also easily be discredited on a large scale in poor communication and missteps. Protection of brand, brand rights and risks analyses are hot topics and are standard onboard meetings agenda's as threats increase and consequences are disastrous.

Current Market Information

Although many believe, market research is not only needed when launching a new business, product or service. It's something to be done periodically to ensure the company is in line with the customers and their thinking. Business conditions change continuously, so conduct continuous market research to get the most up-to-date information for business and its potential success. Businesses must avoid making business decisions based on outdated information; it's essential to regularly review business plans, financial forecasts and especially marketing information.

Improvement, growth and success require up-to-date knowledge of the customer base, potential target group, competition, trends, innovations, market developments and the recognition of opportunities and threats. Talk to customers and ask for desired improvements. Test new products and, if desired, engage market research agencies. And don't forget your employees, because they can be an inexhaustible valuable source of information and ideas.

Laborious? Yes, but necessary. Wrong business decisions due to misinformation cost more. A tip; organize the marketing activities to collect market information regularly and make it accessible for business decision-making.

Maximize Lead Generation

Lead generation is indispensable for a successful company. Lead generation is contacting the target group, gathering information, and ensuring an increase in new customers. Generating leads to convert them to customers ensures the natural growth of your company. Leads arising from promotional campaigns and advertisements, online subscriptions, networks, referrals, requests for information (brochures, specifications, etc.), collaboration with other parties is extremely effective and should be a prominent task of the marketing department. Lead generation is an ongoing continuous process and requires an inventive approach. This is where the first business challenge lies, as it is often the tedious and final marketing item.

Another point is that a method of lead scoring with the associated targets is often missing. The emphasis is on quantity and, to a lesser extent,, quality and maturity (conversion stages, lead nurturing). Furthermore, the lead generation of the marketing must run synchronously, coordinated with the cold acquisition and follow-up of the qualified leads by the sales. Cooperation between the departments to improve the lead generation and the qualified leads to serve customers better and maximize sales results. A primary task that nevertheless turns out to be a difficult one in practice.

Understand and beat the competition

Don't let the business difficulties and competition discourage the company and initiatives. Be honest, recognize the possibilities, know your strengths but also the limitations. Distinctiveness compared to the competition requires thoughtful implementation. Don't be afraid to go to extremes. Be committed and passionate, get the best return.

Some companies accept the competition others aim to destroy the competition. Know the competitors' positions, their intentions, their strengths and weaknesses, their attitude towards the competition, and which weapons they want to use to this end. Determine how to beat the competition to achieve growth with a bigger and better customer base. Only if such a marketing approach is known within the company ranks and acted upon, will the company profile be strengthened and lead to an improved profitable proposition.

Make Marketing Measurable

Marketing is mainly about obtaining, organizing and measuring data. It is not surprising that we also want to measure marketing from that point of view and should use the right KPIs, key performance indicators for this. A lack of clarity and consistency leaves companies and departments operating teams in a chaotic environment. A lack of direction, a strategy and a clear focus will not lead to a fast, measurable and predictable process and predictable outcomes. These are the predictable outcomes that we strive for in marketing; the conversion of leads to sales concerning the made costs and sales revenues. Knowing these elements, studying these tests and outcomes is the core of marketing which in consumer marketing is the foundation for business initiatives. Indeed not an indisputable fact in the business-to-business segment. Even though the marketing orientation has been installed and practiced, there is the challenge of developing the processes in obtaining and interpreting the data. One possibility to monitor this development is to divide the timeline into different milestones with indicators to be determined.

Sales Business Challenges

Get and keep profitable customers

If you want to find customers who will buy the products, it is best to focus on a niche. Distinctiveness and a large market share is the motto. Marketing and sales must convey this convincingly to potential customers and convey how they benefit from the offer. Providing a need that meets customer expectations is critical. Creating a need, recognizing buying signals, selecting and understanding the customers' reason for buying. Building, expanding and maintaining a customer base. Recognizing customer value as some customers will contribute more to the bottom line than others. If these crucial steps have been completed and are anchored in the business, the energy can attract new customers from the most profitable segment. Careful differentiation in the customer approach should lead to increased sales in both volume and profitability. Many sales managers see it as a dilemma and are only focused on a single objective. But the pressure to excel in sales is a complex target of optimizing sales in both quantity and quantity while retaining the better existing customers and acquiring promising new customers.

Customer dependency

If only one or a few customers generate a large part, say >60%, of the annual turnover, that is a risk. The company is simply too dependent on these few customers. If you want to diversify your customer base, it can be difficult.

The customers who pay well and on time are worth more than others, those with a lower margin, poor payment behaviour, complex (order costs increasing) and less creditworthiness. Therefore, concentrate on the good customers and try to phase out the lesser customers by replacing them with new, more profitable customers.

It is an inconvenient process to improve a customer base. On the one hand, it addresses a customer about 'less attractiveness and its shortcomings', obtaining better conditions with the risk of losing a customer. On the other hand, the turnover will also be necessary, putting even more pressure to acquire new customers. Reducing customer dependency and ensuring that the company can make choices should be a goal of every company. However, practice shows that a large part of the companies is solely concerned with generating turnover.

Negotiate for a satisfying order sale

We cannot emphasize it enough, but in sales, it is all about quality and quantity. In sales, we sometimes see flight behaviour and wasted time with so-called potential customers who will not meet a qualitative and quantitative turnover either now or in the long term.

Next is recognizing the prospect's need and convincing him of the benefits of doing business with our company. As a salesman, you must know the value of the product or service and understand the mindset of a prospect and how they will estimate the total cost of selling the product or service. Total cost because a proposition is more than the product price.

Sales negotiation to obtain orders where the involved parties feel comfortable with the outcome. Making attractive deals for everyone is a challenge in itself. Negotiating price and conditions that can be met and that remain attractive is a skill to make trade-offs and convert them into tactics constantly. Leading the prospect to a purchase decision.

In addition to the internal guidelines, sales must also be viewed as developments in the market. New competitors enter the market almost every day, which means that the existing solutions and products' market position and competitive advantage must be maintained. If not, only price reductions can be implemented, and margins will evaporate. When lowering prices, it will have to be considered whether it is worth the margin loss in terms of lost potential sales.

Add New Sales Channels

A sales channel is the "road" or route that companies use to market their products and/or services to customers.

SMEs can use more than one sales channel but usually only have one or two. These are generally insufficient and risky for the intended turnover.

Of course, there are digital sales channels; website/webshop, social media, email, newsletter, sales platforms, comparison sites, web advertisements, affiliate marketing, SEO etc. which the marketing department usually manages.

The company's sales must be ready to attend trade shows, organize events, develop partnerships, set up demonstration/showroom, meet the right people and develop enough other initiatives to close multiple leads. In short, laborious work, and if you don't take the initiative and are prepared and make the right contacts, there may not even be any leads to close.

New sales channels mean investing, and if results with such channels are disappointing, it means a loss and lost time to achieve the sales goals.

Whether or not hiring a call centre, cold calling remains and can efficiently boost sales. A determining condition is not only the quality of the telephone approach but especially the addresses. Or even better, first, make a connection via LinkedIn and then contact us personally by telephone.

Human Resources Business Challenges

Attitude and skills sets.

In addition to the market, the culture of a company, attitude and skills, is to a large extent determined by style of management and leadership. The management and especially entrepreneurs are the driving force behind the creation and growth of companies. Often the type of result-driven, inflexible go-getters. Proponents of organizational development. But unfortunately, they can also hinder the personal development of employees. After all, personal development will provide not only added value but also internal friction. Think about; internal formal and informal hierarchy, available promotion possibilities, career planning or impending departure.

The necessary skills associated with running a business can vary by stage of the enterprise or particular situation. Starting, professionalizing, expanding, reorganizing requires a different skill set. Everyone has certain areas where we are stronger than others. Powerful and skilled leaders distinguish themselves by shaping a diverse and complementary management team in balance and respect for everyone's role and the company.

However, many leaders are tempted to hire talented, less critical like-minded people. Such a team of harmonious allies will often not be the most potent management for the company's business challenges.

Management shifts according to size and phase of the company from an operational role to increasingly delegating, directing and monitoring the effects of individual management tasks and decisions.

This can be a bottleneck for personal ambitions or interests, qualities and company vision. If such an imbalance is to be expected or occurs, it will immediately damage the mutual trust of a team. In the company's interests, the other management team members should discuss such signals in consultation with supervisory directors or advisers. Practical measures and solutions will have to be taken to prevent a more significant decline and guarantee the company's decisiveness.

We could place this subject under 'management business challenges', but given the guiding, supervisory and in principle also coordinating role of HRM, we have chosen to place this dilemma under human resources business challenges.

Qualitative and Flexible Staffing

Finding quality employees can be a challenge. Certainly, suppose there is no large recruitment budget. In such a case, recruitment problems occur when the urgency is high (not anticipated in time?), the primary and secondary conditions seem less attractive, there is a lot of competition in the labour market with only a limited supply.

Application procedures are time-consuming and should be highly professional. After all, the quality of the personnel is an important factor for the success of a company.

Often a good personal contact and mutual enthusiasm is the decisive factor. This needs to be followed by an honest and open conversation regarding mutual expectations. Giving the wrong impression will have the opposite effect.

Getting to scale is challenging, and building in a degree of flexibility for capacity is the ultimate. Having a flexible layer and the possibility to hire expertise temporarily, when necessary, are groundbreaking objectives. It simplifies operational management and leads to less stress with variable and increasing workloads. With a permanent decrease of the work, one can efficiently reduce the personnel file to the desired and necessary occupation.

Develop And Retain Top Talent

Employee retention is quickly becoming an important differentiator. A company's ability to retain talent, especially in tight labour markets, has profound implications for its ability to operate at high levels without the disruption associated with turnover.

It is challenging for HRM and managers to propagate a recognizable policy and define actions that develop staff efforts.

- Get excellent salary, benefits, retirement plans and days off
- Plan a tailor-made introduction and onboarding program for new employees
- Create an individual career and development plan
- Make the performance and development of both the department and the individual staff member measurable
- Create an environment where your employees feel proud to be part, an asset to the business
- Provide regular feedback and informative update on business developments, expectations and results
- Explain clearly the expectations and objectives of their role within the company
- Create an open and fair working environment, direct to a cultural fit
- Offer diversity, offers opportunities outside of the current job
- Provide opportunities for growth and learning, and let your employees know there are possibilities within the company
- Give constructive feedback in real-time, not just only at the annual reviews
- Provides opportunities to develop hard skills through external studies and on-the-job training so that new learned skills can be applied in practice
- Identify and develop job-related soft skills.
- Implement interdepartmental training programs.
- Recognize and reward good work
- No non-engagement; take action if the results of the agreements reached are not achieved.

In outstanding business operations, only developing and retaining a personnel plan will be insufficient. Indeed, there must also be a succession plan for the replacement of key positions within a company. Internal promotions, external recruitment or the temporary hiring of interim professionals can offer solutions to fill those open vacancies.

Several Other Business Challenges

Compliance Management

Compliance management is the process of meeting obligations within a company and its business. There are both legal requirements and non-legal requirements.

In practice, we see that many companies view compliance management with a too limited scope or secure it in a fragmented way. There is often a lack of insights and knowledge to oversee the entire range, keep obligations up to date, and secure the whole organisation complies.

Compliance management is much more advanced than just complying with laws and regulations. Companies also have to deal with all kinds of requirements from stakeholders, certificates and quality marks, and their own company rules and codes of conduct, for example, in corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. Making good choices and setting the right priorities is therefore undoubtedly important.

Properly guaranteeing compliance with laws and regulations is essential because:
- The government monitors compliance with laws and regulations
- It is a requirement from, for example, permits, standards and certification, etc.
- The management and staff want to avoid risks
- Sustainable and socially responsible by stakeholders and the public is almost an imposed requirement.

The company's management can only declare with conviction that compliance with all its obligations is under control if it is also demonstrably and systematically worked on it. These days are challenging times in which developments and innovations follow each other at an ever-faster pace. There is more transparency and supervision due to recent incidents, continuously increasing influences of national and international market forces and regulations, etc. In practice, compliance management is now often fragmented into departments, disciplines and responsibilities. As mentioned, there is often a lack of insight, overview, knowledge or capacity to be sure that the entire organization is in compliance. Managing to meet all requirements and anticipate developments in a timely manner is becoming increasingly difficult for many businesses and organizations.


The pace and possibilities of technological developments mean that every top leader must keep a close eye on the future. Effects on current and future strategy include developing products and markets and changing processes to remain competitive or by taking advantage of new technologies.

Technological developments in the coming decades will go further than digital administration and innovations driven by the internet and can mean a lot in these fields related to production and logistics. Significant trends and applications include
- The digital workplace, further development and increase thereof, for remote and hybrid working
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and data in the cloud
- Hyperautomation; upgrading existing automated processes through combined implementation and coherence recognition instead of just the single input.
- Virtual assistance, sparring partner and helpdesk
- Mobility such as self-driving cars and accessible infrastructure
- Robots the machine that can perceive, think and act for information provision, production and services or logistics transport
- Unconventional materials, with improved properties for specific and new applications, including self-cleaning materials, for example, for the construction industry
- Resource mining and growing food in space
- 3D printing, engineered objects, parts, constructions of mortar (of a combination of) plastics, stone, wood and fabrics
- Drones for camera images, sensor data and delivery services
- Payment method, less use of cash, wireless and online payment systems, escrow services
- Green energy generation, storage and transport, and battery technology
- Using superintelligence, such as for simulation, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), deep learning
- Data centres with for the massive increase in storage, processing and transport and exchange
- Quantum computing, not use bits 0 and 1 to store information, quantum algorithms do speed up by using qubits, as each qubit will have two bits
- Biotechnology, gene technology and human augmentation, everything that grows and flourishes, developing and improving biological processes (food, pharma etc.), as well as the mental and physical improvements of the human body
- Increasing cyber and data security with new intelligent devices and methods, prevention of attacks and intrusions
- Screening and rating of content to fight fake news and scams
- Blockchain, a distributed public ledger of registration of transactions to replace "trusted third parties" (the banks, institutes, regulators and notaries, etc.)

Top management will have to recognize that there are also risks associated with technological developments in addition to the benefits. Without being exhaustive, getting into a competitive market too early, or not at all, or too late can lead to a loss of competitiveness.

As a rule, technological developments lead to
- Faster communication, responding faster to positive and negative developments
- Increased efficiency and productivity
- Reduced costs and increased profit margins
- Possible internal resistance/rebellion is a resistance to change
- Huge need for staff training
- Adopt the technology too early or too late
- Risk of wrong technology choice
- High-cost and high-risk implementation and/or mitigation risks
- Democratization of technology, easier access for all
- New entrants to the maker movement (collected knowledge from a crowd, who build functionally and at minimal product costs)
- More transparency and available management information for business operations
- Enhanced security (in the long run)
- Lagging regulations
- General disadvantages, threats and social Impacts of technological change
- General threat of disclosure of privacy data

It is wise, even necessary, to include a chapter in the strategic business plan on technology, position, trends, opportunities and threats and the related actions for the short, medium and long term.