What is your greatest challenge as an MD? What keeps you awake at night? It’s not easy running a company, especially in an ever-changing world. As we work with many businesses in many different sectors, we’re in the privileged position of being able to talk with a large number of managing directors about the various challenges they face. Some issues will be constant – increasing profits, retaining talent, keeping overheads down. But in this article, we’ve focused on these top 4 we feel are most relevant to today.
- Offering flexibility
- Offering flexibility
1. Offering flexibility
“MDs will be challenged by an increasingly mobile and transient workforce. Young professionals are increasingly demanding greater flexibility in their work and personal lives. If MDs aren’t willing or able to meet this demand, these younger professionals will look elsewhere for work.”– Carl Seidman, business strategist and CFO adviser.
“With the ever-increasing trend toward telecommuting, virtual meetings and hiring contractors over employees, today’s CEO needs to know how to manage the changing workspace. There are many perks to increasing flexible work options in a company … [and] CEOs will need to make sure management is trained on how to manage virtual team members.” said Amy Walker, CEO and Founder of Amy Walker Consulting.
Is your technology geared up to support a mobile workforce? A cloud based business phone system offers a host of flexibility compared to an on-premise solution with manageable costs. And there are many cloud applications and tools that make it easy for your employees to work at their best, collaborate and visualise meetings, wherever they are.
2. Consumer Expectations
“Amazon’s business model has trained customers to shop differently and expect more immediacy than they have in the past,” said Dave Carmany, CEO of Online Labels, “It’s necessitating CEOs and businesses to rethink their order fulfilment and shipping processes, among others, to stay in favour with consumers.”
“Speed is becoming the biggest challenge in business — whether it’s execution of ideas, changes in the market and consumer behaviour, or the 24-hour cycle of news and social media. Those that are fast to respond increase their chance of growth and success exponentially.” – Tobias Wilhelm, business consultant and coach.
Once you have the technology that makes you more flexible and efficient – make sure your using it to your advantage! Don’t delay meeting until everyone is in the office – jump on a conference call or virtual meeting. At Concert, we use instant chat internally, rather than writing lengthy emails. This saves time and frees up our email inboxes and phones for important external conversations.
3. Expanding employee benefits
Over the years, hiring has become about more than just who has the most experience on their CV.
“There’s been a shift in mindset and companies are placing a higher importance on finding employees whose visions and values are in line with the company’s, as opposed to finding employees with a laundry list of accolades,” Matthew Brosious, CEO of FreightCenter.
But hiring and retaining employees is a greater commercial challenge for smaller companies, who have to compete with the perks and benefit packages dished out by larger companies.
Ensure that your company vision and values are considered in your recruitment process. You are a lot more likely to retain a staff member whose values are aligned with the businesses. At Concert, our recruitment process includes personality questionnaires. This makes it easier for us to understand if a candidate is a fit to our culture and their immediate team.
And think creatively about how to reinforce your culture and values with your staff, whilst providing rewards that don’t cost the earth. We use bonusly – an employee reward app that enables colleagues to reward each other when they see the businesses values and behaviours in action.
4. Cybersecurity and hackers
“We’ve all seen a rise in increasingly sophisticated methods that hackers use to gain login credentials, sensitive data or — worse yet — money from their victims. Cyber security is no longer a concern solely for the IT department — everyone in an organisation, right up to the MD, must remain vigilant to protect against breaches.” – BC Krishna, CEO, MineralTree.
Our experience in the Telecoms industry tells us that Toll fraud, otherwise known as phone phreaking, or dial-through fraud is on the rise in the UK and has cost some businesses tens of thousands of pounds.
Ensure you have an annual security review – maintain strong physical security and don’t scrimp on your budget. Keep an eye out for new vulnerabilities – ensure passwords are changed regularly, employees are educated about the importance of security and that you have a secure employee leaver process in place.
Being an MD can be lonely role, but you’re not alone, others will have similar woes in their businesses. Why not download guide The Top 6 communication changes Managing Directors can make to improve their P&L. Our free guide explores issues other Managing Directors face and offers solutions.