Business challenges, challenges for business

Biggest Challenge Facing Businesses Today?

Research suggests that after 1 year of trading around 90% of businesses survive, but after 5 years the figure drops to around 40%. HM Magazine asks people from diverse businesses what is the biggest challenge today?


Hillyer McKeown SolicitorsBusiness owners making the time to really step back from their business to look at their overall strategy.

Running a business is turbo-charged with so many plates spinning at once that it is often seen as a luxury for owners, founders or CEOs to set aside the time needed for detailed planning. Yet it is essential. All too often participants in our War Room sessions struggle to provide clear and definitive strategic plans.

All of them appreciate the team at HM taking an objective and fresh look, scrutinising their business, and investing time in developing a solid strategy designed to help them succeed. The identification of personal goals and ability to align them with business goals, the development of a better business culture and marketing are topics that regularly challenge us within a three hour session. It is satisfying to help participants take away clear and definitive targets, allowing them to make significant strides forward from what was often a position of inertia.” Steve Harvey, Chairman of HM Group


ETC Tax, Enterprise Tax logoGetting to grips with the ever increasing compliance and regulatory environment in which we all operate.

I find this is the biggest challenge on a day to day basis, especially in the context of small or owner managed businesses (OMBs). This applies from a personal point of view of our own business but also in the context of the clients we act for.

Running a tax business, we are already fully aware of the constant and often demanding changes to tax legislation, which can be a minefield for many business owners; it can be all consuming when you combine that with other updates including:

  • GDPR
  • income reporting
  • Companies House filing requirements
  • updates to health and safety and HR legislation.

After nearly making what could have been costly mistakes, I can conclude that there is no substitute for seeking out experts in their fields, whether they are lawyers, HR advisers, accountants or tax advisers.” Angela Wood, MD, ETC Tax


Lesley Hooks Estate AgentsMy motto is provide a first class service as the saying rings true that cheap and good service don’t go together!

Running any business not only takes grit and determination but a steely resolve too.

Running an estate agent in these challenging times is particularly difficult. With the introduction of online agents and their low fees, their aim was to take over the market and change the face of ‘traditional agents’. Many agents went into panic mode – their motto being ‘if you can’t beat them, then join them’. What happened next was a free fall in high street fees with agents undercutting each other to win the business. But where do you go when you reach the bottom? High street agents have ever increasing costs so matching online agent fees was simply not financially viable.

I resolved to hold my nerve, our fee level and maintain our first class service. We have come out the other side, stronger and more profitable.” Lesley Hooks, Director, Lesley Hooks Estate Agents


The relentless distraction of the ‘always on’ expectation of doing business today.

As a business growth consultant I come across diverse and complex organisations which can overwhelm people with information overload and updates minute by minute, 24/7. How many of us are checking emails at home, for example?

One recommendation I make is for people to understand what is within their control and what is not. Then I ask them to break it down again into what is of concern now. People choose how to approach this differently and it also depends on the size of the organisation: smaller companies tend to be more process driven. The result we are trying to achieve is a feeling of being more in control, and less bombarded. This focus helps people to shift from ‘get stuff done’ into ‘get the right stuff done’.” David Milton, Head of HM Growth

Don’t miss the complete edition of HM Magazine 5 packed with advice and insight.