It’s been said that uncertainty and change are, ironically, two of the only things that are certain in business. And it takes a particular type of person to thrive in such a volatile environment.
Entrepreneurs and leaders are known to be focused, innovative and highly driven by nature, cultivating their talents in order to propel their business model. But the path to success doesn’t come without its challenges.
In the first few years of business, there will be numerous difficulties and obstacles to overcome. Similarly, long-standing household names are not without their challenges either. If running a business were easy, everyone would be doing it!
It is for this reason that business leaders seldom enjoy the luxury of an undisturbed night’s sleep. Here, we take a look at some of the most worrying challenges keeping business leaders up a night.
1. Skills gaps
The skills gap is apparent across a range of industries and sectors, particularly in the wake of the digitally dependent climate we find ourselves in. The digital world is transient, and because of this constant state of change, it’s increasingly difficult for businesses to manage their recruitment requirements. As more compliant-specific, technical and engineering roles begin to evolve - all of which are reliant on specialist expertise - finding the best fit for the role becomes a greater challenge than ever.
Previously, industries that have been known to struggle with finding the appropriate skills within the UK have preferred to lean on EU labour. In the lead up to Brexit, uncertainty grows over whether we will lose the luxury of being able to select from a wider pool of talent as far as the EU.
2. Business regulations
With business comes regulation. And the laws are fast becoming more stringent. With data protection, shared parental leave and the modernisation of many other regulations, new challenges are posed to HR departments and leaders. GDPR left many of us flustered in the lead up to its commencement. Likewise, we have the addition of new regulations such as the EU Cookie law, Making Tax Digital and environmental legislations. But there’s no need for these to hamper the productivity of the business environment once in place. It is rather about knowing where to seek advice or support in implementing them appropriately that is likely to be the main concern here.
A post-Brexit world can be daunting for SMEs. Such a volatile landscape proceeds the divorce - and its imminence will undoubtedly cause many sleepless nights across our community. It is certainly going to fuel change in the business environment. The Independent reports that only 6% of SMEs feel the government is listening to their concerns over Brexit. Loss of EU labour and as a result, skill shortages, along with increased regulation and the introduction of trade tariffs tend to be among the biggest concerns manifesting since the referendum.
4. Connectivity issues
When it works, technology can improve business functionality, efficiency, productivity and the ability to communicate. However, when not working as it should, connectivity issues, for example, can be an extreme hindrance on the ability to function properly. They stand to lose businesses profit, time and in some cases, customers. Hours are sometimes lost due to staff not being able to operate effectively.
No matter your niche, industry, or product, competition is an inevitability. Competition can pose a threat, or it can be a catalyst to innovation and development - the challenge lies with keeping business in a good enough position to compete effectively.
The internet presents ample opportunity for aspiring business leaders, and the increased accessibility for creating a business means it’s harder for SMEs to stand out. Everyone has access to their own domain and designing their own logo online. This creates a broader level of competition.
Nothing can be more stressful than financial problems. Cashflow problems manifest in many forms; difficulties projecting expenses, accounts payable draining your resources, or a client’s resistance to paying. This puts your business, your employees, and your own salary in a vulnerable position. Having adequate cash reserves means you can meet all of your necessary obligations, but when this becomes problematic, your days and nights can be plagued with worries of when and where that much-deserved cash is going to become tangible.
A business community, driven by ‘Business Togetherness’, is what keeps the Chamber of Commerce alive. We thrive in being able to foster mutually beneficial relationships between our members, and when concerns such as those stated above transcend industry, sector and business type, having a valuable network of like-minded individuals can be the support you need.
What’s more, your local Chamber of Commerce is happy to offer impartial advice on any of the above challenges.