What are the biggest challenges businesses face today, was the question posed to members of the Business Exposure Group at a recent meeting, and below are the 10 most pressing concerns.
According to the CBI change is the new normal.
Growing revenue is the top challenge for businesses employing 5-30 employees. Hiring employees is the biggest challenge for businesses with 30-50 employees and government regulations becomes the biggest issue for business with 50 or more employees.
What are the 10 big challenges for SME’s.
- Uncertainty about customer trends – does this lead to short term focus, and does it make you feel vulnerable?
- Financial Management – cash flow. Larger customers are imposing long payment terms, so how are you addressing this?
- Monitoring performance – are KPI’s as good as they sound even though they compare historical information or are there better ways.
- Recruiting the right talent – employee working flexibility is important to retain good staff, but increasingly stress in the workplace is a real challenge in small businesses when staff have to be able to multi-task.
- Technology – it should be outsourced to reduce demand on administrators, but is investment in technology an asset or a handicap. Distinguishing which technology will attain the highest return in terms of time and investment is a problem. The big issue is, is the IT fit for purpose.
- Information overload. There are now big digital challenges for meeting the expectations of customers, together with finding and keeping people who can digitally transform a company that delivers a bespoke customer experience.
- Customer Service – what is the right level, are customers’ expectations too high? Managing the relationship is key
- Maintaining reputation – there is genuine concern about reputation management with easy access to social media and particular concern about cyber security disrupting the day to day functionality of the business.
- Knowing when to embrace change is a worry and knowing how to balance quality with growth. Businesses are stocking less and relying on a lean supply chains, but is this clever or does it open up crippling disruptions.
- Regulations and compliance are becoming more and more demanding of staff time
Everyone was in agreement that running a business is getting harder and is forever challenging, but all were motivated about the challenges and were ready to face them head on.