Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is 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 that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
Below is our interview with Bryan Mulligan, Founder and CEO at Applied Information, Inc.:
What does your company do?
Our company develops and manufactures technology that makes surface transportation part of the Internet of Things. We connect emergency vehicles to the Internet so firefighters are given green lights from the station to the scene of the emergency; helping to save lives. We connect traffic signals and school zone flashers to the Internet so that traffic engineers can know if they are working properly and program them from their smartphones. We connect drivers and pedestrians to all these devices and emergency vehicles by the free TravelSafely smartphone app to make everyone more aware of their surroundings and safer on the streets and highways.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I’m the CEO and Founder of Applied Information, Inc. As a serial entrepreneur nearing the end of his career, it is a fantastic feeling to be both commercially successful as well as having to opportunity of “giving back”. Technology has the potential save some or most of the 40,000 lives that are lost each year on the roads in the USA, that we as a society just accept as inevitable. It isn’t inevitable that these people die – technology and the private sector can make a real difference.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
Our biggest challenge in surface transportation is that lack of vision from the government/public sector in collaborating with the private sector to provide a better quality of life for their citizens with regards to mobility. The road network was built with tax dollars and is owned by the government. The traffic engineers at the federal/state/count/city levels see themselves as asset managers. This is what they do.
There is some recognition that there is a role for technology, but in many respects, it is like the government trying to own a cell phone network or the Internet. It just doesn’t work very well in the days of cloud commuting, shared wireless infrastructure and the Internet-of-Things for the government to see technology through the eyes of being an asset manager.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
Think big, and think even bigger than that. The titans of industry all put their pants on one leg at a time. There is no reason to think small just because you are starting out as an entrepreneur. Sure, one needs to manage the cash and all the other aspects of running a business, but the world is going to be changed by young entrepreneurs who think big. So, see yourself on a quest to change the world.