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 Shireen Thor, Founder and CEO at Maria Shireen:

What does your company do?

Maria Shireen® is the first-and-only jewelry accessory company to combine the function of elastic hair ties with the stylish appeal of a bracelet. Maria Shireen has revolutionized the way women utilize and keep track of elastic hair ties across the fashion, beauty, accessories, and health industries. As the creator of the Original Hair Tie Bracelet®, Maria Shireen® patent-protected hair tie bracelet holds more utility patents on jewelry bracelets than any company in the world, and has been featured in 100+ print, online and broadcast media outlets and won multiple international awards including the Gold Stevie Award for Start-up of the Year, Bronze Stevie Award, Red Herring North America Top 100, Red Herring Global Top 100 and recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of 2017 America's Top Entrepreneurial Companies. In two years, Maria Shireen® has expanded sales of its bracelets to over 45 countries, grown into a multi-million business through e-commerce alone.

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

My role is the CEO and co-founder of Maria Shireen. I enjoy being able to execute on my company's mission to redefine versatile accessories and design solutions for everyday life that complement an individual's personal style and interest. However, what I am passionate about with my role is being able to give back. I am a strong believer in empowering women to make a difference in the world. I encourage the female community and have made strong strides in that direction with the initiation of our CHARITY TIES™ program. CHARITY TIES™ is a social good platform that partners with health, wellness and other non-profits, community-based and national charitable organizations to honor those organizations, the work they do, and the people they serve. The bracelets are becoming a standard to women making a difference in the worlds of athletics, media and motherhood!

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

Our biggest challenge is the cost to find and introduce new customers to our product. We had a very large early adopter community however now moving to our next phase of customer acquisition. Furthermore, due to the popularity of our product line there have been a large influx of copy cats trying to replicate and sell our brand. Despite having the patented rights to the product design and use it is a constant challenge to combat our infringers.

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

The business advice I would give the younger version of myself would be to understand the core driver of our business from the beginning and invest accordingly. Our team's expertise laid within product development and taking a product from ideation to production. However, since we were new to ecommerce it would have been highly advisable to hire an expert in that field right from the beginning. With this field continually changing and expanding we need to be on the forefront to ensure we are continuously getting in front of new customers.

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