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 Mike Catania, Founder and CTO at PromotionCode.org:
What does your company do?
We originate and syndicate coupons and online promotion codes. We specialize in bringing the offers of small and medium-sized businesses to consumers via our website and apps and have done so for ten years. We are based in Tallahassee, Florida, and work with just under 20,000 stores to provide around two million coupons each month to shoppers across the United States.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I'm the Founder and Chief Technology Officer; if it's online, I'm responsible for making sure it works. I enjoy the creative aspects of my job--building applications that millions of people use each year--and watching our site grow from an online spreadsheet ten years ago to a destination site. It's a genuine pleasure to help other small businesses stay competitive in a market increasingly dominated by big business. I'm also grateful to have a partner, our CEO, who manages the business itself so I can focus on the technical aspects of the company.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
It's a challenge to stay relevant when consumers increasingly shop at Amazon and other big box retailers instead of locally. Our success is inextricably tied to the success of other small businesses since we promote their offers, so changing patterns in how customers shop, to a tax plan that favors big business, makes for a distinct set of challenges. On the other hand, more consumers shop online with each passing day, so there are always new potential customers that we can educate about the value of shopping locally.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
I'd hire people instead of resumes. Without a background in business or entrepreneurship, I made the mistake of hiring people because their resumes appeared to fill critical holes instead of hiring the best people. It took several years for me to realize that the right people will adapt and grow into a role. I also would have brought a partner on earlier, before we experienced exponential growth. I was naive to think that I could handle the role of CEO initially, and it wasn't until my partner came on board that I saw what leadership that was forged by knowledge and experienced looked like.