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 Xavier Parkhouse-Parker, Co-Founder and CEO at PLATO Intelligence:

What does your company do?

PLATO Intelligence uses AI and Machine Learning to help companies recruit the best candidates. The AI we've developed and named PLATO (surprisingly) helps large enterprises turn all of their data they generate throughout their HR and hiring into a tool to perfectly identify talent. PLATO's technology can predict the rate of retention, areas of development and even predict and track the success of every employee.

We can also identify bias. Diversity is one of the most important elements for a successful business; we do this by minimising bias through our technology and identifying areas for improvement.

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

I'm a Co-Founder and The CEO. PLATO is such an exciting company to work with; for two main reasons. Firstly the team at PLATO is incredible; everyone is super intelligent, and we are all continually working hard to bring about real change in HR. Second, it's the incredible people from client companies and within HR. To see how companies can transform their data, and work with the best talent for this business is impressive; as we can really see the value, PLATO adds. We are creating real change for HR organisations and helping people make their companies the best in their respective industries.

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

Data is one of the biggest challenges for every AI company; it's acquiring top quality data, to work within building, and structuring our technology. The challenge with data often comes from how data has been stored and used historically. Common usage of machine learning and AI is relatively new, and companies often don't store their most useful data. It's a challenge that is becoming easier to tackle as global enterprises know how valuable that data can be.

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

Focus on people, right from the beginning. People make companies and ensuring the right people are in the company is the key to success. Almost every startup falls into two categories: ones with the perfect team, with diverse skill sets and backgrounds, that have domain experience and a passionate drive to make things happen.

The other side, are startups where teams are all carbon copies of each other - they all do the same thing, with overlapping skills and the same experiences. These companies struggle very early on and rarely succeed. Even passion cannot save them here.

This advice fits all companies of all sizes, corporate giants that do not focus on people - people from different backgrounds, with different sets of skills that compliment each other will also struggle.

In business, it's easy to focus on numbers and metrics; we forget that companies are made up of people.