newlogo 2Happy New Year.
I trust you all had a good break and are now refreshed and ready for what looks like an interesting and demanding 2016.

What are your challenges? Are they to do with growth and market share; profit and margin improvement; customer experience and satisfaction; employee engagement and productivity? Are they some of these, all of these or something completely different.

Last week, just a few days into the year we were bombarded with bad news. Demand in China falling, Middle East instability, UK non-housing credit at its highest level ever and The Chancellor preparing us for more austerity! Wow what a great way to get the year started. It really can cause a negative mind set which can set us back. Here is a little anecdote to illustrate the impacts of having your glass half empty. It’s about a hot dog seller:

There was a man who loved his business. He sold hot dogs. He never went to school or college. He considered himself to be a simple, hardworking person.

 He knew one thing – he sold excellent hot dogs and people loved his personality. He welcomed everyone with a smile and tried to make everyone’s day brighter. It worked.  People liked his hot dogs.  They loved the way he made them feel. And people bought. He increased his meat and bun orders and bought a beautiful, modern hot dog cart.

His son graduated from college and wanted to help his Dad out. But then something happened. His son said, “Dad, haven’t you heard the news? The economy is not at all in great shape. These are tough times and we need to be smart”.

 Whereupon the father thought, Well, my son’s been to college, he knows things that I don’t.  We need to take action. So the father cut down on the quality of his meat and bun orders to reduce costs. He sold his new hot dog cart and started using the old one. This is the time to reduce expenses and expect lower sales.  He said, When the economy comes back, I will be ready for it. And his hot dog sales fell almost overnight.

 “You’re right, son” the father said to the boy. “We certainly are having tough times”.

There are two morals to this story; if you compromise on quality, your customers will walk and, even if the market is bad, is it bad for you? If you want it to be bad. it will be!

If some of the gloom comes to fruition, it seems almost certain that the economic climate will disrupt the market some time this year. To counter it, companies need to balance caution with ambition. Let the buyers and finance people manage the caution, heeding the message above but adopt a positive mind set and mobilise the rest of the company to sell.