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The 10 Biggest Challenges for CEOs in 2017

Jennifer Post

It's not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges CEOs have to deal with.

Business News Daily asked business leaders to share what they think the biggest challenges for CEOs will be in 2017, how you can tackle them head-on.

1. New political administration

One of the biggest challenges CEOs will face in 2017 is the restructuring of corporate regulation and tax laws implemented by the new congress and new administration that just took office.

"The Trump administration has indicated [a] plan to repeal and amend over 500 corporate regulations and to restructure corporate taxes for both domestic and international companies," said Todd Hess, CEO of SailTime. "CEOs will need to ensure that their respective organizations are adapting to the changing conditions keeping their companies compliant and at the same time pursue the opportunities that will be available."

2. Costly health insurance

There have been so many changes in health insurance coverage and cost over the last few years, and it can be difficult for small employers to offer comprehensive benefits to their teams. Brad Chandler, CEO of Express Homebuyers, has experienced this first hand.

"Our company and our employees are paying twice as much for health insurance than we were just a few years ago, and we are getting less coverage," he told Business News Daily.

Although it's unclear at the moment exactly how the Trump administration will change the Affordable Care Act, it's wise to keep an eye on any legislative moves and understand how they might impact your business's insurance coverage.

3. Rising cyber security threats

Dotan Bar Noy, CEO and co-founder of and cyber crimes as one of the biggest challenges this year.

"Everyone is a threat," said Bar Noy. "No one can say that they're not a target, no matter the size of the company. If you have a business and it generates money, then that means you have something of value for the attackers."

4. Finding capital

One business challenge that can be universal is finding access to strong capital, said Joshua Eke, business development manager at Factor Funding Co.

He added that markets are becoming tighter, and investors are looking for business models that can prove their worth, while meeting an unmet need in the market. This also means business owners should anticipate slower growth and set expectations. [See Related Story: Beyond the Bank Loan: 6 Alternative Financing Methods for Startups]

5. New hiring

Matthew Brosious, CEO of FreightCenter, told Business News Daily that new hiring is a big challenge CEOs will face in 2017. Over the years, hiring has become about more than just who has the most experience on their resume.

"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," Brosious said.

6. The economy

Though the economy has bounced back from the recession of nearly a decade ago, Lais Pontes, founder and president of The Pontes Group, predicts it will present significant challenges for CEOs.

"The U.S. economy will enjoy a mild cyclical rebound in 2017 and a fall in the unemployment rate. [But] as the pool of top talent shrinks, it will be harder to recruit and retain key employees," Pontes said. "A captain is nothing without a crew, and having a strong team is vital in the growth of any successful business."

7. Consumer expectations

Dave Carmany, CEO of Online Labels, thinks the number one challenge business leaders face right now is the changing expectations of consumers.

"Amazon's business model has trained customers to shop differently and expect more immediacy than they have in the past," said Carmany. "It's necessitating CEOs and businesses to rethink their order fulfillment and shipping processes, among others, to stay in favor with consumers."

8. Marketplace competition

It started with Uber, and now, marketplaces have exploded into every single niche. This is the year when some of these marketplaces are either going to bloom, or shut down, said Max Soni, founder of DotCom SEO.

"While preaching things like 'customer service,' and 'experience' are great tag lines, … marketplaces are fundamentally eroding the bottom line of larger companies," Soni said. "CEOs must be aware of new marketplaces that are vertically integrating services that traditionally were untouched."

9. The virtual workspace

This challenge, unsurprisingly, came up often among CEOs and business experts, as the number of remote employees and contractors is increasing.

"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," said Amy Walker, CEO and Founder of Amy Walker Consulting. "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."

10. Market oversaturation

Consumers have more options than they know what to do with in any given niche. Standing out among others, according to Jenny Kile, CEO of Kardtects Building Cards.

"People are busy, overwhelmed with information, and time is limited for all," Kile said. "Companies are going to need to find a unique way to stand out from the crowd in order to share [that] what they have to offer is a product a person needs."

Image Credit: pixfly/Shutterstock
Jennifer Post
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Jennifer Post is a professional writer with published works focusing on small business topics including marketing, financing, and how-to guides. She has also published articles on business formation, business software, public relations and human resources. Her work has also appeared in Fundera and The Motley Fool.