Many challenges are quite common, occurring in all business types. One study found that
many SME’s fail due to a lack of inspirational leadership, ordinary management, and poor
planning. Within a business, a leader creates the vision and strategy, and managers create
goals and lead the team toward the vision objectives.
For decades, the dominant view of business strategy was based on Michael Porter’s ideas
about competitive advantage, that the key to long-term success was to dominate the value
chain by maximising bargaining power in transactions. A new model has since developed
based on ‘connection’, to be seen as purposeful rather than predatory.
So, whatever the chosen strategy, where are the principal Risks and Challenges?
1. Prepare for Different Stages in Business
Every stage has its own challenges and lessons. In the entrepreneurial/start-up stage,
the founder has high energy, drive, and enthusiasm. As it moves to maturity, usually
around five to eight years, the energy wanes and attention is directed to issues of
scaling a business, such as processes and detailed planning. Founders need to become
more of a CEO and steer rather than drive.
2. Get Staffing Right
Hiring and retaining staff is always a challenge, founders tend to quickly hire even if the
needed skills may be doubtful. Know what you need in a few (four to five) key attributes
expected of candidates, hire those with values and who will support the business
culture, stay in touch in their probation period to deter likely counter offers in this
competitive labour market.
3. Know there will be Highs and Lows
Prepare for both, consider appropriate scenarios, even “good, bad, getting-by” as a
start, and refine later for particular strategies or market situations. Focus on the
positives, leave the negatives at the door, your behaviour and tone affects everyone.
4. Find Support
Running a business is lonely, so seek help and good advice where possible. Realise
you’re not the first with a particular challenge, avoid making invalid assumptions and
getting stuck on just one course when a new approach may be what is needed.
One suggestion is to join a business networking group to seek out the input and
expertise of other people. Obtain not only practical advice and assistance, but also the
bonus from the business that is referred to you by the networking group.