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 Gina Ashe, CEO & Founder at ThirdChannel:

What does your company do?

ThirdChannel is the retail intelligence platform that helps brands and retailers understand what's happening - or should be happening - with products on the ground in thousands of stores. The web-based platform integrates real-time data from field teams on the ground with POS, inventory, traffic and other sources of data to reveal retail execution issues. Leveraging these insights, ThirdChannel generates action plans to enable brands and retailers to optimize stores and unlock sales potential, quantifying results with measurable ROI. The combination of powerful cloud-based analytics with on-the-ground observations from brand-immersed field teams delivers the full solution that retail and brand executives need to meet the expectations and demands of today's consumers.

What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?

I am the CEO and founder of this company. What do I love most? I love the fact that when we show brands and retailers what we do, they look at me and say, "where have you been my whole (professional) life?" The bigger the manufacturing brand, the bigger the problem! Companies are pretty blind to what's actually happening with their products on the ground in stores. They often spend 18-24 months bringing new products to market - and they carefully cultivate those products from R&D, through consumer testing, to sourcing the right materials to branding and marketing them. Then the minute products hit stores, they go blind. There's no way for them to be in 10000+ locations at one time. ThirdChannel lets them see into stores to understand what needs fixing and therefore unlock sales for them.

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

Retail is changing rapidly. Stores are closing their doors because they're not delivering the experience that customers actually want. And make no mistake, customers are scoring every store they visit based on a number of factors: Can they find a store associate who actually knows more about a product than they do? Can they try out the products? Do they walk away both educated and entertained? Many stores fail on all these points, and now brands and retailers need to put aside the excuses - old legacy tech, execution delays, and a lack feedback from the store floor - to act fast and deliver engaging shopping experiences. But many brands and retailers lack the real-time visibility into their in-store activations that are critical for change.

If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

Take that engineering job at Google instead of going to work on Wall Street. As exciting as the Street was, the high tech industry is even more exciting now!

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