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4 business challenges that can't be ignored

As business trends evolve, so do the challenges facing modern companies looking to get ahead. A ProOpinion survey revealed that today's corporate professionals experience a number of difficulties when trying to achieve success.

About 14 percent of respondents cited customer expectations as their greatest obstacle, while 15 percent of professionals pointed to providing development opportunities for employees as being their biggest challenge. Around 15 percent of people identified employee engagement and issues of corporate culture as their largest difficulty, while 24 percent argued that it was finding and hiring the right leadership. All of these issues present unique challenges, and all are crucial pieces of the corporate puzzle. 

Manage customer expectations
Without your clients, your business wouldn't exist, which is why it's important to keep them happy. Maintaining consumer satisfaction is definitely easier said than done, however. Although it may be tempting to make huge promises initially, earning you high praise from customers right off the bat, their happiness will quickly turn to disappointment and frustration when you're inevitably unable to pull through in the end. Forbes magazine explained that managing client expectations requires a delicate balance of issuing viable yet enticing offers and working hard to bring them to fruition. 

"Honesty is the best policy."

Honesty is the best policy in the world of corporate client relationships, noted the source. It might seem uncomfortable or even illogical to speak frankly about the possibility of plans not working out or your pairing being a bad match, but acknowledging the potential for failure from the start will encourage clients to trust you and take your more seriously than if you make grandiose guarantees. Forbes suggested following the adage, "Under-promise, over-deliver." Keep customer expectations low and consistently exceed them to establish a stable relationship. 

Additionally, try to stay one step ahead of your customers at all times. If you see an opportunity to go above and beyond for your clients, be sure to take it. Not only will they be grateful, but they'll see you as an indispensable asset. Be sure to communicate clearly with your clients so that they see how much effort you're putting into their needs and desires. If it makes sense for your industry, try issuing regular reports so customers can have concrete proof of your hard work.

Provide development opportunities 
Nobody likes to feel stagnant, especially when it comes to their careers. Professionals are always looking for ways to climb the corporate ladder, or at least learn more about industry trends to refine their approaches to their current jobs. It's easy for companies to let professional development fall by the wayside, but doing so can contribute to high rates of worker dissatisfaction, which can lead to expensive employee turnover. The HR Council explained that, while workers can certainly seek personal development opportunities, the responsibility to implement training programs ultimately falls on the employer. 

To create successful development programs, managers should start by establishing initial training requirements for every position. This way, new hires will already feel appreciated and well-prepared during their first few weeks at your company. Additionally, leaders should look for learning opportunities in daily workplace situations. Instead of simply fixing every problem your staff comes to you with, try discussing the problem and using it as a teaching moment.

Once development becomes an everyday goal for your organization, you can identify weak areas and employee aspirations. Use this new knowledge to develop formal training plans, and encourage workers to seek learning opportunities both in and out of the office, explained the source. 

Focus on creating a cohesive and supportive corporate culture. Focus on creating a cohesive and supportive corporate culture.

Improve employee engagement and corporate culture 
If workers don't feel invested in their companies, their motivation and, therefore, their productivity levels will inevitably suffer. According to The Nation, this is why human resources professionals are placing more emphasis on worker engagement and cultivating a positive office environment than ever before. 

The source explained that providing ample development opportunities is an excellent first step toward increasing employee engagement. Additionally, companies should pay close attention to worker feedback and do their best to incorporate it into future changes. This way, organizations don't have to guess what staff wants, and employees feel heard, appreciated and taken care of. 

Find and hire the right leaders 
Not everyone can handle leadership roles, which is why it's important that companies take the time to weed through all possible candidates when selecting an applicant for a managerial position. According to Paycor, companies shouldn't rush this hiring process. Failing to be diligent and careful about making this decision will cause you to end up with someone who may not be a great fit. 

One way to effectively speed up this process is by promoting from within. If an existing staff member has shown leadership abilities, or taken an active interest in participating in development opportunities, consider interviewing this worker for the managerial role. Because this person already works for your business, you won't have to worry about him or her clashing with the corporate culture. 

When vetting potential leaders, be sure to have a concise, specific and goal-oriented list of requirements. Use an existing successful manager as a model - identify three characteristics this person possess that makes him or her an effective leader, and use them as criteria in your search. Additionally, write down what challenges this position deals with on a daily basis and keep this routine in mind as you meet with potential hires. If you don't think an applicant could jump into the grind tomorrow, he or she probably isn't right for the job. Paycor also recommended envisioning what this position will need to deal with in coming years as business trends evolve. Only seriously consider candidates who seem like they could grow along with the job. 

During the interview process, focus on more than just the applicant's resume. Look beyond professional accolades to behavioral factors. Ask personality-based questions that will reveal whether or not he or she possesses the important leadership characteristics you identified. 

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