Business challenges come from all directions. Most of them, we may think are external. For example, we see the competition we may have to fight against, we see how public opinion can quickly change, we see how our previous products may have been criticized, and we think that the most pressing challenges are outside the business. But this is not always the case, although it is true to an extent.
However, consider an athlete, perhaps a boxer. Is a boxer’s greatest challenge fighting his opponent? Or is it in preparing, hard training, and becoming internally equipped to handle that fight? If he fails to train his footwork, or his dodging, or his stamina, odds are that his arrival at the match would be a sure loss from the beginning. This is where a business can take some notice from this kind of inquiry, and consider their internal business challenges the most pressing to take care of. If you consider this, it can truly make the largest difference as time passes on, and it may help you become more accustomed to the unpredictable situations that are externally pressed upon you.
With the following advice, you’ll know where to begin:
Inattentive Or Demoralized Staff
If your people are not with you, you have a problem that you cannot fix with immediate investment or a rallying speech. It’s important to ensure that staff is cared for first of all, that their working compensation package is adequate compared to their efforts and skill levels. If you are continually hanging expiring contracts over their heads, forcing them to work overtime or are cutting their job reliability, they will feel as though they aren’t afforded the same level of treatment you may wish for.
Additionally, allowing demotivated or inattentive staff to continue wasting time at your firm can be a real issue, and suggests a need for true course-correction. It’s important to hold regular meetings to see exactly where your team is and try to get everyone on the same page. Additionally, allowing a confidential reporting system to help you understand what the main issues or unhappy feelings stem from within this office can help you apply actionable solutions.
Inefficient Communication Systems
Inefficient communication systems can be confusing. Perhaps you both use Slack, Hangouts, Emails, VoIP calls, and another unnecessary service to bring staff together, or at least, this is the plan. But this overcomplicated nature, the fact that staff is only approved to use these services at select times or regular downtime can make communication quite hard to parse.
Additionally, failing to train staff in the use of professional email brevity can lead to misguided and unclear instructions, or may even lead to certain toxic communications becoming the norm. This is not acceptable. It’s important to continually review your communication norms to ensure everyone is on the same page, and that no one is left behind in how they freely communicate, ask questions, or address issues and conflicts professionally.
When IT issues occur, it can be quite difficult to know where to turn. IT challenges can come from many different directions. Perhaps you may find that your server farm is struggling with the bandwidth usage when gaining a higher-than-normal amount of visitation requests to your website, and thus you experience downtime.
Perhaps your cloud computing service is confusing to use, or maybe your computing office setup is far past what should be considered industry standard. All of these issues and more can prevent us from enjoying the best route forward, and they can also demotivate us as we are trying to gain a solid foothold into the business world.
The biggest IT challenges are often user-created, or simple enough to fix. But to the extent that you have real trouble, using managed IT services or polishing up your understanding relating to what systems you use, how they are purposed for the tasks you need to complete as well as keeping your networks secure can all be an essential process to understand, no matter if you have to hire internally or outsource your systems to one secure company.
A company that struggles to understand its branding, or offers disparate branding graphic design can confuse both staff and customers alike. This is not something you should find acceptable, and it’s certainly not something you should aim for. Keeping your marketing, logo design, advertisements, campaigns, and website color palettes cohesive can ensure that your entire operation seems legitimate across the board.
Even smaller elements such as the font you use for your business must be kept in check. If your letterhead font is different from your business name font, immediately there are alarm bells in the heads of those who interact with both - and this can even affect those within your company. Keep it tight. Keep things cohesive. Before approving a branding strategy, ensure that it’s either only slightly updated or completely adjacent to the offerings you have utilized prior. This can ensure that everything is carefully put together as if emanating from the same vision.
Of course, rebranding your firm is a perfectly acceptable thing to achieve from time to time, but the same principles must also apply here. After all, why wouldn’t you wish for your business to steward the most cohesive visual impact, especially in 2019, where visual refinement can often cause the quick-scrolling social media audience to pay attention to what you have to say.
A Toxic Office Atmosphere
A toxic office atmosphere can tank a business perhaps more thoroughly than anything else. It leads to demotivated and unhappy employees, a harmful working culture such as through managers playing favorites or dumping work on one individual. It can lead to an increase in staff turnover and also a decrease in the number of skillful applicants who wish to work at your firm. After all, a toxic office atmosphere is not something that stays within your firm. Word travels fast, especially through resources such as Glassdoor.
As most businesses can be made or fail through the skills of the employees they attract, it’s important to see just how pernicious this issue can become. As someone hoping to prepare for the most threatening internal business challenges, it’s not hard at all to see how a toxic office atmosphere may be your first priority. Through allowing confidential services to help to bully or those who contribute to the issue to become reported immediately, you will be able to regulate the main culprits of this issue and come to a worthwhile result. This is only the first step of the journey, but it can make a true difference.
The Blame Game
One negative aspect of toxic office culture, something that requires its own category all on its own, is companies that play the blame game. Perhaps the marketing campaign that just started is hardly getting any engagement. Perhaps the marketing department will blame the silly brief they had to fulfill. Perhaps your PR department is aggressively shouting at the other departments due to how much blowback they have received. Perhaps another department feels slighted, and from there the entire process continues and continues and continues until everyone feels isolated, annoyed, and somewhat peeved.
This is not how a business should work. A home full of infant children arguing over a lost toy perhaps, but not a business. Doing everything you can to erode the blame game and impartially measure your metrics of success will not be there so you can allow your departments to pass the buck, but to accurately understand what went wrong, and how you can improve next time.
Lessening the harsh penalties that you might have for a lack of success, or hiring better managers that are motivational rather than those who throw all of their stress downwards can help you eviscerate this problem - but also consider how your office culture may be contributing to the problem.
Too Much Demand
If you promise to help out with a certain job, or you are unsure as to how you’re actually going to make good on a large order, or you have agreed to promotion despite not being sure if you can fulfill the terms, you put your business in a tough spot. Not only might you feel motivated to aggressively work your staff to the point where they are no longer happy in their jobs, but more than that, you may truly alienate those who have had their talents wasted.
This can be a death spiral for a firm, and it’s essential that you do not let it happen to yours. With that in mind, you will be much more forthright and considerate when communicating with your staff, when assessing your actual capabilities, and in balancing how to make use of opportunities while never eroding your business potential.
With this advice, we believe you can find a better means of dealing with internal business challenges, through and through.