Business Challenge List-Making

It is Project Social time. Thank goodness for my team. Work has been busy. Motivation to blog comes easier when a topic presents itself like the one this week . “Top Challenges Businesses Face Today.”

Being in business for yourself is not for the faint of heart. Especially in these economic times. My point of view on this “challenge” topic is based on running a small business. I suspect I won’t find my list far off large corporate issues and struggles. I also wanted to take a broad stroke perspective, not just from the HR department. Because I feel HR needs to think in broader terms about business in order to understand how to impact it. I believe the list below is enough to bite off.

#1 Government Regulation

#2 Keeping up with Technological Advances

#3 Product Innovation

#4 From the point of view of my customers so it only counts as 1/2: Change Management

Advance and Innovate!

Number two and three are challenges but, they are challenges I love to face head on like a creative project. #2 and #3 are harder to advance in tough economic times. I make lots of lists and plans about how to tackle technology and innovation. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. And the solutions tend to ebb and flow based on cost analysis, employee feedback in the process, style trends and what my customer’s want. Some people might put “sales” as a challenge. But, as an ecommerce and personal selling business, if you are addressing #2 and #3 sales will come if your market audience is targeted enough.

But, do you have the talent pool ready to tackle challenge? Are your employees allowed time to really think about ways to innovate and advance technology? Or are they boxed in by fear of failure or profit loss or non billable, uncompensated time?

Challenge is what makes business fun if you are allowed to “make it work.”

Government Regulations

#1 is a thorn. Government regulation and the ever shifting sands of tax code is a big bad ugly monster. Something must give. The system is not working at all for small businesses that value taking care of their employees and working efficiently. I won’t go into the solution or politics. It is really about how these regulations are made, managed and implemented. Not that we don’t need regulations or taxes. I can certainly address examples of the problem. Healthcare is the other white meat of government scorn. I recently read a quote from Walmart’s President and CEO Lee Scott who admits, “In some of our states, the public health program may actually be a better value – with relatively high income limits to qualify, and low premiums.” [Transcript Lee Scott Speech, 5/4/05] Really? If Walmart can’t deal, then how can my little company deal?

Change Management

#4 is an interesting challenge nugget. I hear businesses complain a lot about change management. When our customers go through change it brings a sense of uncertainly as a vendor. Will they bring “their people” to work with them and let us go? Will their working style mesh with my companies already established, profitable work flow? Will we have to start all over again building confidence in our service? And in some cases we are training the buyer about how our products answer a cultural need in an organization. Will we wrestle with import competition? Can our bottom line continue to price-point compete? (see #2 and #3) I feel our concerns are the EXACT same things going on in the heads of employees when change arrives. And I have seen it handled both well and poorly. All henge on good communications and valuing what everyone brings to the team.

So those are what I see as major challenges businesses face today. My business partner said he would also add finding great employees can be tough. My Project Social partners Dave and Laura also have their list to ponder. Wonder how Dave’s DC trip to the SHRM Leadership Conference has altered his perspective on challenges since this blog topic was chosen? So be sure to check out their posts over at “HR Official” and “Working Girl” I would also love to know if you agree with my challenge list. But, if it is just too heavy then I challenge you to this question.

Which is a Better Way to Cook Bacon?

  • Traditional Pan Fry
  • Pan Fry with Bacon Press
  • Oven Bake
  • Microwave with special plates and tools
  • Grill
  • Buy it Cooked and Re-Heat

All have their challenges and place in the work flow. Cook it! Eat it! Or you will starve. Look for my “Best of the HR Bacon Gifts” listed here in the next few weeks! Just in time for the Holidays! Image source: Bravo TV Project Runway

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4 Responses

  1. Laura Schroeder Says:

    I admit I never until today thought of health care as the ‘other white meat of government scorn.’ But I will from now on. Microwaved bacon is just wrong.

  2. Lyn Says:

    Laura, because I so adore the other white meat and I could not resist the play on political words.

  3. H. R. Official » HR Challenges X 3 Says:

    […] Our topic on this post came largely from Laura. It was supoosed to be on biggest challenges facing HR,  Wel I took it a little broader and made it about the thre biggest challenges in business today.  Partner two Lyn Hoyt has another look at the subject too at the HR Bacon Hut. […]

  4. Dave Ryan Says:

    I like 1 and 4 personally. No matter how they try regulation does not work. Those of us in the private sector struggle with change management though – hmm maybe the government should regulate change management!

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