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 Robert Flanagan, President at Wag N' Wash Natural Food & Bakery:

What does your company do?

Wag N' Wash® Natural Food & Bakery is a franchise company with 18 locations around the United States. We understand that your cats and dogs are more than just pets, they are cherished members of the family. Our franchisees operate retail centers where you can wash 'em, feed 'em and spoil 'em, all in one cool place! We offer high quality food, toys, bedding, and supplements, a bakery that makes human-grade freshly baked treats, a self-service wash with our own line of proprietary shampoos, and a professional grooming service.

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

Rob Flanagan - President. I am living the dream! Every day is a game of chess, a game where I have to constantly think three moves ahead. I love the strategic aspects of the position, but most importantly I interact with inspiring personalities and help guide a mission that I am passionate about. I am blessed to be part of a team that sees a meaningful purpose, and thru a little grit and teamwork we manifest a new reality for our guests and franchisees. Who wouldn't want to be part of that?

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

I think anyone in the retail sector sees e-commerce as a challenge. Businesses must always make it a top priority to stay up-to-date with the changes in technology while simultaneously tending to the core mission of the business. At Wag N' Wash we don't underestimate the effect online shopping has on brick and mortar locations. Instead, we have embraced this opportunity to marry technology with the actual customer experience in the store and emphasis that each of our locations are locally owned and operated. As we work to perfect our online presence we remain a fun, exciting place to bring your pet companion.

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

I would hop in my 1985 DeLorean and teach myself how to ask better questions. It may seem like prosaic advice, but many of my hard-fought insights could have been simpler if I had only known how to ask better questions. By asking the right questions one is able to see thru the cacophony of stimulus, and distill complex situations into manageable tasks. Some of the questions I ask myself are "What questions am I not asking that I should be?" and "What would this look like if it was simpler?" The most important question I ask is "What is their truth?" This question helps me understand team members, franchisees, vendors and relate to them from their point of view.