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B Cameron
 
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Top 10 Challenges Faced by Business

26 June 2014, 05:00

South African companies face a host of business challenges in 2014.

In a recent survey, company CEO’s listed the Top10 Challenges to solve in 2014. We list them here with a brief description, in no particular order. See if you agree. Feel free to add your own ones and rank them in order.

1. Uncertainty: Uncertainty about the global economy credit markets, competitors, etc.

2. Globalization: challenges of globalization, entering new markets, designing new products and services for new customers.

3. Innovation: companies are struggling with innovation and better innovation processes.

4. Government Policy & Regulation: A changing regulatory environment, policy uncertainty is always of concern to nearly all companies today.

5. Technology: The pace of technological change is running at an exponentially increasing rate.

6. Diversity: A lack of diversity within large company leadership teams leads to a narrow view of an ever-changing and diverse world.

7. Complexity: Business has become more complex, even as certain tasks and activities have become easier due to information technology. The pace of change is rapid and quickening. The global economy is more connected than before, creating a greater population of customers and suppliers.

8. Information Overload: In today’s world nothing is changing more, or growing faster, than information. A March 2010 estimate put global Internet traffic at 21 exabytes, i.e. 21 million terabytes. By 2016, global traffic is expected to reach 1.3 zettabytes. Every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created. Being able to consume and make sense of available information in order to make good decisions is becoming a nearly insurmountable challenge for individuals and companies.

9. Supply Chains: Because of uncertainty in demand and the need to stay lean, companies carry smaller inventories than before. Uncertainty in supply and increasing competition for raw materials also make supply chain management extremely onerous.

10. Strategic Thinking & Problem Solving

Many companies are at a disadvantage due a lack of sophisticated approaches to information acquisition, analysis and the development of unique insight. Companies lack a long-term strategic imperative and is constantly strategy hopping from year to year.

Everyday problem-solving competency among business leaders limit their ability to effectively deal with the nine challenges above. This is why executives tend be glorified fire-fighters, trying to put out corporate fires with gasoline.

Swamped by workload, many business leaders don’t have capacity to give much attention to these challenges. Yet, they are reluctant to call in the external expertise necessary to help their companies survive and thrive. In a tough economic climate like today, where markets are even more competitive, businesses need to work smarter than ever, be swift and stay nimble.

The author, Bertram Cameron, is a management consultant with over 20 of experience in the mobile and digital industries.  H

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