Business Challenges: Predictions from Influential Business Leaders

What-does-future-holdBusinesses increasingly have to operate in uncertain times. So we asked some of the biggest minds in business to stare into a crystal ball and predict the challenges that they believe all businesses will have to overcome if they are to be successful in the future. Here are their predictions.

The Rise of the Remote Worker

Sandra Lewis’s company, Worldwide101, has already embraced virtual working and this is something she sees as a trend other businesses will also have to learn how to do well.

“I believe that we are moving quickly towards more flexible working arrangements, and that professionals will value the ability to work from home, or from anywhere in the world, more and more”

“In our hiring model” she says “it has become evident that remote work, if done well, can be extremely successful for both employers and employees. The talent pool is significantly expanded, time, energy and money are not wasted travelling long distances, infrastructure costs for offices and equipment are reduced to almost nil and employees value the freedom and flexibility that it affords.”

So has she any advice on how other companies can embrace this change from how people have traditionally worked? She says: “In order to make this shift, company cultures, hiring and training methods and attitudes will all have to change.”

Keeping the Human Touch

CEO Rob Hill sees the main challenge as not being so technology driven to the extent that the business loses the human interactions. “People prefer talking to people” he says rather than “to automated messages and computers.”

This, taken with Director Gemma Sandy’s observations that it is getting harder to find employees with good communication skills means that ensuring their staff are trained in effective business communication will form a key focus for all managers in the future.

Keeping up with the Pace of Change

Iglika Ghouse, who founded the successful company Uspahh, thinks it is the pace of change that will be the biggest challenge. “Challenges for the near future are coming faster and stronger than before” she says. “Digital innovations may make some businesses obsolete. Barriers to entry in a lot of industries are becoming easier to overcome, so competition will only become more and more fierce.”

Providing Competent Leadership

We live in changing times and all business must evolve in order to grow and thrive. As Nasser Saibi, OBE said “Always innovate and reinvent yourself to stay ahead of the competition.

And what advice does he give to do this? “Work hard to influence other people of influence; work in parallel with them to change minds and cultures. Challenge the status quo in the market to make customers believe in your services and your capabilities. Trust in your competence, and persuade your team to take a risk with a new type of product or service.”

Sandra offers the following advice to leaders: “Leading and managing a successful business is very much a test of one’s integrity and values; it’s a stressful endeavour, often full of surprises. And it’s uncharted, so you have to know how to deal with your insecurities, trust your gut and have the humility to know what you don’t know.”

And Flavilla Fongang, who is an MD and also writes for the Huffington Post, says for us to remember this great piece of advice that she was given: “Behind the toughest challenges hide the biggest opportunities” By using this advice she says she learnt to see her failures as steps that would get her closer to her goals. “You learn far more from your mistakes” she says.

Our Interviewees:

Sandra Lewis, CEO and founder of Worldwide101
Rob Hill, CEO of the Eventa Group, consisting of The Stag Company, Hen Heaven and Eventa
Gemma Sandy, Director of Business Cost Saving
Iglika Ghouse, Founder and CEO of Uspaah
Nasser Saibi, OBE and CEO of MicroLink PC
Flavilla Fongang, writer for The Huffington Post and MD of 3 Colours Rule

Read more from our six influential business leaders: their words of wisdom and their thoughts on leadership, the skills managers and employees must have, and the role of training in successful companies.