Any business, from the sole trader to the multi-national corporation, has the same financial goals: to realize a profit for its owners and capitalize on its growth potential to expand those profits. Its ability to do so will be affected by factors within and outside its control. They include government policy, taxation, technology, changing consumer tastes and even the impact of bad weather on production and transport.
Businesses must be able to foresee problems, stay informed and adapt quickly to operate in a changing economy with strong competition. For example, technology has provided productivity improvement opportunities from automating and integrating business processes as well as establishing online services to customers.
Business today is more global than ever. Many local businesses face competition from online services and especially for the manufacturing industry low cost overseas competitors with margins and business models being impacted heavily. This has required many businesses to differentiate themselves by focusing on customer service and specializing in a niche area.
At the other end of the spectrum, corporations that operate globally face increasing scrutiny from governments and interest groups. While globalization presents them with opportunities, they must also operate in varying economic environments with different political and commerce systems.
The speed of change in business presents its own challenges as companies and industries reinvent themselves to meet new consumer demands, competition from new sources and changes wrought by governments.