Hi, fellow Consulthon users:
What were your biggest challenges in 2020?
Increasing Your Sales Without Spending Too Much
Making People Believe in Your Cause
Scaling your business without Compromising on Culture
Can you please help me add to this list?
1 - Data protection
In the past few years, there has been a shift in data protection, putting much of the responsibility on businesses. The General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) changed the way businesses deal with data, which represented a big challenge for international firms, and individual states now have their own regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act. In 2020, data protection and cyber security will be key, which is why it’s important to use a secure platform for hosting.
2 - Staying innovative
Businesses are nervous about taking risks in the current economic climate, but innovation is important to keep your business relevant in today’s world. Changes such as embracing the use of big data, creating more flexible work environments and encouraging the use of idea management are all ways in which you can innovate while still taking small steps at first.
While this will be set to be a huge challenge as we move into 2020, many businesses have already found that through being innovative over the past year that they are staying ahead of the game. Therefore, it is vital for business owners to learn ways to stay innovative to ensure that they aren’t left behind in the fast-paced business world.
3 - Automation of jobs
It’s predicted that, in the early 2020s, automation will affect a small percentage of jobs, estimated to be about 3% globally. However, within the next 10 to 15 years, that percentage could rise significantly as machines become capable of autonomy, so it’s something that all industries need to think about. By the mid-2030s, up to a third of your workforce’s jobs may be automated. Is that something you want to embrace, or would you prefer to keep the human touch, even if it means falling behind the competition?
However, it is important to note that automation and people can work alongside each other if done correctly. With a combination of the two, your business could have the best of both worlds without getting behind. Automation could take over jobs such as hiring and employee analytics, and you could have your members of staff working in customer service, instead, and stand out above the competition, simply because you have the human touch.
4 - Global workforces
More and more businesses now have employees who are based in a number of different locations. A study by Upwork predicted that nearly 75% of teams across the world will have remote workers in the next decade, which could mean major cultural shifts. If remote work becomes the norm, there are a number of advantages to your business, including:
- A much larger pool of candidates to fill roles- Potential salary savings as workers aren’t paying to commute- Increasing employee productivity- Boost in employee happiness
However, having a remote workforce does represent a number of challenges, such as making it difficult to encourage teamwork and ensure that people are at their most productive. Technology is making it easier to overcome these challenges, but in some cases, face to face work is still going to be needed.
5 - Political changes
2020 promises to be an exciting year in global politics, from the impact of Brexit to the United States presidential election in November. An uncertain political climate can often impact business, as it can lead to fluctuations in the economy that can affect things like consumer spending. It’s important for business leaders to keep up to date with changes in the political landscape and react accordingly, which will allow you to plan for your future.
Threats continue to loom
As we know every generation has had its own set of challenges that they faced. Businesses had to adjust to the creation of the printing press just like they had to adjust to radio, television, depressions, and recessions. Each generation is different in what it brings forth and without an awareness of the challenges that a business will face, such as the ones outlined above, they will struggle to survive.
It is important to understand what businesses struggle with in order to understand which businesses to avoid in investments or employment. Knowing what companies need could also reveal a service for your own business.
In addition to these challenges, here are four areas that will most assuredly serve as the biggest threats to business for 2020.
1 - Technology
The effects of advancements in technology have been felt in every part of our lives. Many of the challenges that are now facing businesses are a product – directly or indirectly – of technology. Businesses need to take into account how current technology and its potential advancements impact their bottom line.
One of the biggest dangers a business faces is in believing that they are invincible to these forces. Technology can impact the way your company is attacked and it can cut into your market share. Because of technology, the way people do things is changing dramatically and if businesses do not account for that, they will be exposed.
There are an array of considerations to take into account with this. Among other things, technology can improve a company’s relationships with its customers and employees, increase efficiencies within the business, and open doors to new directions for the business as a whole. On the other hand, if the technology is used inappropriately, it could have equally negative impacts slowing things down and fracturing relationships.
2 - Globalization
Each business is now competing in every market in the world. This, again, is a product of technology but has also become a point for concern in and of itself. It is easier than ever to send work overseas, find products from other parts of the world, and communicate with potential partners in other countries. This all creates new challenges for businesses.
Due to international laws, a company may be limited in what they can do about some of these challenges, but that only means they need to be more creative in how they combat them. For example, if your company’s product or service can be outsourced overseas at a much lower cost, you need to think about another way to make yourself more appealing at a higher price point. This is a challenge in a cost obsessed environment, but not impossible.
3 - The Shifting Face of Labor
This is also influenced by the development of technology but is much more a matter of people. Job seekers are becoming more and more able to find work they can perform from the comfort of their own home. Not only that, but the most youthful members of the labor force spent their entire lives in a world of massive connectivity.
If a company does not adjust to the needs and demands of the new labor market, they can expect potential employees will seek work elsewhere.
4 - The Speed of Change
Throughout the entirety of the industrial revolution, changes were happening in the world that businesses needed to adjust to. What makes today different is that changes are happening faster and on a much larger scale than they have ever occurred before. This means that a business could make a shift in strategy today that is a good decision but in a short time, they may need to shift away from that strategy.
The level of flexibility that companies need is something quite new. While it is important to display a level of consistency so that consumers know what to expect, if a company allows that consistency to turn into stubborn continuity, there will be a price to pay.
These are only a few of the challenges that businesses face in the world today. There are, of course, many others just as there are new ones right around the corner. In today’s fast-paced, globally-connected world, business executives need to be as vigilant as ever if they hope to be prepared to handle these challenges.