Sustainability is Business: Solutions for Today's Business Issues

11 Biggest Challenges for STARTING a Small Business

Read this list carefully and consider whether these might also be areas that you need to spend more time, effort and resources on in your business.

Everything we do is grounded in proven, research-based methodologies designed to ensure a highly collaborative experience that results in extraordinary, sustainable results. Uncertainty All human beings, but it seems business leaders in particular, find great discomfort in uncertainty. Uncertainty in the global economy, uncertainty in the credit markets, uncertainty in how new regulations will affect business, uncertainty about what competitors are doing, and uncertainty about how new technology will affect the business—these are just the start of a never-ending list.

The bottom line is that uncertainty leads to a short-term focus. Companies are shying away from long-term planning in favor of short-term results, with uncertainty often the excuse. While this might feel right, we believe that a failure to strategically plan five years into the future can end up destroying value.

The problem to be solved, therefore, is to balance the need for a more reactive, short-term focus with the need for informed, long-term strategies. A failure to strategically plan five years into the future can end up destroying value.

Globalization In interviews conducted by the Lean Methods Group, seven of 10 Fortune CEOs cite the challenges of globalization as their top concern. The problem to be solved is to better understand international markets and cultures through better information gathering and analysis of what it all means. Similarly, the incredible degree of government intervention in nearly all major economies of the world is leading to much greater uncertainty see No. Big companies are struggling with innovation and a better innovation process is at the top of the agenda for most CEOs.

At least not the big companies Global anyway, though that changes some as companies get smaller. This finding was a big surprise when we did our first studies in and little has changed since. It seems big companies are struggling with innovation and a better innovation process is at the top of the agenda for most CEOs, but the idea of a more innovative culture appears too frightening to many.

The problem to be solved is how to become more innovative while still maintaining a sense of control over the organization. The problems to be solved are to understand the meaning of regulation and government policy in your industry, its implications for your business, and to develop the skills necessary to deal with it.

Technology The pace of technological improvement is running at an exponentially increasing rate. While this has been true for several decades, the pace today makes capital investment in technology as much an asset as a handicap because a competitor may wait for the next-generation technology, which may only be a year away, and then use it to achieve an advantage. Of course waiting to be that competitor can be equally risky. The problem to be solved is to develop a long-term technology strategy while remaining flexible enough to take advantage of unforeseen technology developments.

Diversity A particular subset of human capital planning is found so often in our research that it is worth its own mention. Diversity brings many challenges, as it makes it far more likely that people do not agree, and the lack of agreement makes running a business very difficult. At the same time, the lack of diversity within many large company leadership teams leads to a narrow view of an ever-changing and diverse world—contributing to groupthink, stale culture and a tendency to live with the status quo for too long.

The pace of change is quickening. The global economy is becoming still more connected, creating a much larger and more diverse population of customers and suppliers.

Manufacturing and services are increasingly targeted at smaller, specialized markets due to the flexibility that IT provides in these areas. The 3D printing revolution is a perfect example. We know from our knowledge of the patterns of evolution that, in reality, systems tend to become more complex as they evolve, then become simplified again. The problem is how to develop better systems-thinking capability so you can design your business models, processes, products and services in a way that minimizes unnecessary complexity.

A March estimate put global Internet traffic at 21 exabytes—21 million terabytes. In , global traffic reached 1. The ability of companies, much less individuals, to consume and make sense of the information that is available and necessary to make good decisions is becoming a nearly insurmountable challenge. The problem to be solved is to deal with this mountain of information with both technology and human know-how, then to convert this information into valuable knowledge.

24 Mar If you're one of the many business owners...

Supply Chains Because of uncertainty in demand and the need to stay lean , companies are carrying smaller inventories than ever. At the same time, uncertainty in supply, driven by wildly changing commodity prices, an apparent increase in weather-related disruptions, and increasing competition for raw materials makes supply chain planning more challenging than ever.

The problem to be solved is to develop a supply-chain strategy that not only ensures the lowest costs, but also minimizes the risk of crippling supply-chain disruptions. The lack of sophisticated approaches to information acquisition, analysis and the development of unique insight leaves many companies at a disadvantage. The lack of sophisticated approaches to information acquisition, analysis and the development of unique insight leaves many companies at a disadvantage; they lack a long-term strategic imperative and instead jump from one strategy to the next on a year-to-year basis.

This is why corporate managers tend to jump from one fire to another, depending on which one their executives are trying to put out, and in many cases the fast-changing business environment is what ignites these fires in the first place.

So what is the problem to be solved? We believe, to navigate the future, companies must resolve that strategic thinking and problem solving are the keys to successful business, then develop a robust capability at all levels.

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Everything we do is grounded in proven, research-based methodologies designed to ensure a highly collaborative experience that results in extraordinary, sustainable results. Uncertainty All human beings, but it seems business leaders in particular, find great discomfort in uncertainty.

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