Category Archives: Business Tips

Does your business need a strategic compass?

Compass

Which business are you? Large, small or independent…..

Sometimes when we are running a business, whether large, small or independently owned, we don’t realize that creating a strong strategy is just as important for us as it is for any other business.

You need a strategy regardless 

Yes of course most large corporate businesses have a strategy of one type or another. Sadly though there is a misconception that smaller and independently owned businesses don’t need a strategy….this simply isn’t true and could prove costly.

Businesses grow and develop in many different ways

Some business owners are super organised and spend months planning their business strategy, and in some cases producing a huge document which covers the strategic business plan, plus executive summary, marketing plan and of course financial data; others launch their business without really thinking about where the money is going to come from or how they are going to market or maintain their business or generate new clients; or as is often the case you might find that you are somewhere in between.

Revisit

No matter how you started, it’s always worth revisiting your strategy and figuring out whether you are on the right track and whether the assumptions you made ‘yesterday’ still hold true in today’s marketplace.

Business values need to inspire you

When you approach your business strategy there are a number of key elements that you need to bring together. The first thing though, and certainly one that we at Partners in Solutions believe you must have, is actually one that many people don’t even think about, and that is the key area of defining your values.

The values that you focus on are the foundation of your business

Core values is the place that you come from when you are making decisions around branding, products or services, engaging your people and suppliers, developing partnerships and general day-to-day business and customer service focus. For us here at Partners in Solutions they are a point of reference against which we can measure what we are doing, what we put out in the world and how we do it. However, they are not static.

Today vs. yesterday

The values that you had when you started out, may not necessarily be the values that are most relevant to you today and it is always worth revisiting them at least once a year.

Strategic values and qualities

Before any business can start developing their Strategic Business Plan they must have a base upon which to build – they must know what their core values and qualities are. The ethos by which they wish to do business and by which they wish to be known and build a reputation on.

It can be difficult to know where to start with something like this, so instead think about the companies and brands that you most admire and ask yourself why this is so.

Here are some companies that we admire and why we admire them:

Apple Modern, unique, trendy design, aspirational

– Disney Fun, creates wonder, has the ‘customer’ at the heart of what they do

John Lewis Customer focused. Trust and reliability

Cirque de Soleil Creative, wow factor, performance excellence

No management ‘speak’ please!

Your values need to come from the heart; they need to inspire you every day to build a business that is going to set the world alight – at least a little bit. They should reflect your uniqueness and will be the guide for your business strategy, your recruitment strategy and your product and or service strategy; however…..

The turn off!

Whenever and wherever you can avoid ‘management speak’ please do so as this is simply a big ‘turn off’ to anybody that reads them and more importantly, the people you work and interface with that have to deliver them. In a nutshell keep your business values simple and easy to understand. That way you stand a far better chance of actually living and breathing them on a day-to-day basis.

Strategic training or development required?

If you would like to learn more about how to develop your business strategy or to train your staff in business planning then please contact us today either by using the comment box below or via the ‘contact page’ on our website.

Trisha Proud

Partners in Solutions Ltd

http://www.pins.uk.com

https://twitter.com/proudtrisha

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What every Business Manager needs to ‘know’

What_You_Need_To_Know
Know that…
As business owners and managers there are certain things that we need to ‘know’ in order that we can competently and effectively fulfill our managerial role. Here are some top tips to help you get focused.

1. Know that everything requires time…

As a Business Manager…”know that”: Once you have clearly articulated your plans and goals that you need to stand back review and wait. Utilize this time to

– Visualizing what you want to achieve
– Where you want to be
– How you will profit from your business.
It is important that you feel good and enjoy what you see and accept what you get with gratitude. Pat yourself on the back and appreciate everything you accomplish.

2. Know and acknowledge the ‘power of team-work’…

As a Business Manager…”know that”: Business is best conduct by a team of like-minded people who understand that there is a job that has to be done. So, in an ideal world it is far better not to take relatives or friends into this team if you can possibly avoid it – unless that is you have worked together successfully before and have clearly defined and agreed roles and responsibilities.

3. Know what sacrifices you would be prepared to make…

As a Business Manager…”know that”: Managing business today is tough. You will undoubtedly have to make difficult choices and sacrifices. The key is to understand from the very beginning that sacrifices are necessary, and know what you are prepared to sacrifice for the success of your business; sacrifices that will make the best use of money and time, sacrifices that put the least amount of stress on relationships, business and otherwise.

4. Know that the strongest manager is the winner…

As a Business Manager…”know that”: If you want to be a winner you have to be strong, particularly in the face of adversity. You have to religiously believe in yourself and in your success….. No matter where you are and at all times. Distance yourself from negative people or people who doubt your abilities. Know that pessimism can kill ideas and enthusiasm.

5. Know that feedback is essential…

As a Business Manager …”know that”: The ability to be able to embrace feedback is essential to any business. It is also imperative to know and understand the difference between pessimism and constructive criticism. Always listen to the opinion of your customers, clients, colleagues, suppliers in fact anybody who interfaces with you and your business.

6. Know that there will times when you have to take risks…

As a Business Manager…”know that”: Successful business managers are not daunted by risk. That said too much risk is seldom good; but nothing really innovative or great is ever accomplished without some degree of risk, very often there can be quite a bit of risk to greatness. So don’t be afraid to take risks. Try new strategies, markets, venues etc as this always gives you a chance to make a better or improved profit.

7. Know your business to grow your business…

As a Business Manager…”know that”: This might sound obvious but it never ceases to amaze me how little some business managers know about their business or chosen marketplace. Stay alert. Read trade magazines and trade press. Attend industry events and net-work as appropriate to your business sector.

8. Know your limits…

As a Business Manager…”know that”: You are not the gatekeeper of every good idea; therefore if you are unsure about a situation, find and surround yourself with experienced competent people you like, respect and trust who can work with you and who will recommend a solution.

As a Business Manager…..”Do you know” If your business needs reshaping or…

Whether your managers require development via coaching, mentoring or training?

If you would like to learn more about developing yourself or your managers for a more robust business then please contact us today either by using the comment box below or via the ‘contact page’ on our website.
Trisha Proud
Partners in Solutions Ltd
http://www.pins.uk.com
https://twitter.com/proudtrisha

Inspirational qualities that set great leaders apart

Inspirational qualities that set great leaders apart.

Inspirational qualities that set great leaders apart

inspirational-speech-topics
Inspirational skills to greatness
If you take a look at successful great leaders in different professional areas be it business and industry, economics, politics, personal development, banking, catering, hospitality, facilities management you name it – and you will notice that they all share some crucial qualities that help them advance and achieve.

Do you want to achieve the next level?
If you are going to take your career or your business to a totally new level, you should consider polishing up these skills to equip yourself with reliable tools that will assist you on your way to success……..to greatness.

1. Listening
Great leaders... are great listeners. To make the best-grounded decision, they need to listen carefully to everything they are told.

2. Creative and critical thinking
Great leaders… think outside the box and come up with unconventional ways that other people consider too risky, crazy or just plain silly. They are also great critical thinkers. They quickly assess the situation and efficiently analyse the potential problems to solve.

3. Thirst for knowledge
Great leaders… have a thirst for knowledge – they generally read a lot. Reading is a crucially important habit for personal and professional success. As a rule, achievers are also avid readers, who can process large volumes of information from different sources. The key is to grasp the main ideas in whatever you read.

4. Constant upgrade
Great leaders… want to know what is happening in the business world and seek out business upgrades. They have the ability to adapt to the newest technologies, styles, methods and ideas that lead to success. This skill requires great self-confidence as well as utmost humbleness.

5. Writing
Great leaders… may not write often or a lot, but when they do, it is not perfunctory; instead their writing is clear, precise, and to the point.

6. Communication
Great leaders… can clearly articulate and communicate their ideas to any audience. Having good communication skills is one of the most important skills out there for any great leader. The best leaders are also excellent speakers.

7. Motivation
Great leaders… are always superb motivators. They make a good use of their skills to create powerful goals that enthuse, motivate and inspire other people.

8. Making connections
Great leaders… are great at net-working and making connections. They have contacts, partners, and friends in many different areas to ask for help or collaborate on a new idea. They diligently cultivate and actively develop these connections.

9. Delegation
Great leaders… and the most prosperous ones, are those who don’t try to do it all alone. They realize that they cannot effectively cope with all tasks by themselves. They delegate everything to their teams, except of course for the most important tasks.

10. Judgement
Great leaders …use their judgement wisely. They know that appearances can be deceiving and that “judging” people does not define who they are, but instead actually defines who ‘you’ are.

Interested in “Inspirational Leadership” training?
If you would like to learn more about “Inspirational Leadership” or developing your business then please contact us today either by using the comment box below or via the ‘contact page’ on our website.
Trisha Proud
Partners in Solutions Ltd
http://www.pins.uk.com
https://twitter.com/proudtrisha

Don’t Dumb-Down

Recession - Don't 'dumb down'
“Dumbing down” is not an inevitable consequence of recession.
Can it really be a year ago since the glorious London Olympics brought so much joy to the world whilst the ever cautious economists were telling us that we were heading into ‘a double dip recession’; bringing with it a sense of doom and gloom. With this in mind I started to observe businesses more closely.

I can still recall the words of my University lecturer who proclaimed that one should “never, ever, ever dumb down in a recession”.

Is airline business mentality right?
I have told myself we would make up the loss to the economy as the great British sun seeking public got into their stride seeking holidays during 2013. Or would we?

Would the airlines allow us to? It is not just the budget airlines affecting the economy; it is virtually ever airline, which appears to be falling into the same business inefficiency trap.

More and more travellers are opting to take on board ‘hand luggage’ in order to avoid increasing charges for luggage check-in. The era of the airline wheelie trolley has arrived! Many airlines when confronted with 90%+ of their passengers at the boarding gate clinging desperately to their beloved wheelie bags have now realized that the capacity of today’s cabin stowage cannot cope.

10% of something is better than 10% of nothing
When this happens, airlines have taken to offering free luggage check-in at the gate. Such precious revenue is surely too good to be given away. The real message here is that these airlines have forgotten of the old adage of 10% of something is better than 10% of nothing. In other words if airlines had not decided to “dumb down” their luggage check-in service and instead set their luggage check-in fees at a reasonable level then they would actually make more money!

Never, ever, ever dumb down in a recession
My lecturer was right that one should “never, ever, ever dumb down in a recession”. Whatever your belief there can be no doubt that some businesses are starting to “dumb-down”, which should not be a natural consequence of recession. Let us learn the lessons in that:

• Cutting services or quality of products in a service industry is suicidal; customers will go elsewhere for good service and quality products.

• There can be no doubt that ‘recruiting’ on the cheap is false economy.

• Making do with existing teams that have not received any training or talent development support will dumb down businesses automatically, and equally as bad the competition are more likely to steal your ground and market share.

In summary the sooner businesses that adopt this thinking recognise that “dumbing down” is not an inevitable consequence of recession and reverse the process, the more likely they are to survive this recession and the years ahead.

Does your business need a recession resistant strategy?
If you would like to learn more about developing a recession resistant strategy then please contact us.
Trisha Proud
Partners in Solutions Ltd
http://www.pins.uk.com
https://twitter.com/proudtrisha

Are you built to succeed?

Building blocks of success
Have you ever wondered what qualities successful people have or why so many people struggle to make their dreams come true? Well here are a few top tips to help you on the road to achieving success.

Vision
Only you can truly visualise your success; therefore you need to sets goals and systematically works towards them. If you want to achieve success, you must define your main objectives. Then, break it down into few simpler ones……and set about working on them as they won’t happen by themselves!

Self-discipline
You need to be self-disciplined to plan your day and the actions you need to do to achieve success; and then follow through the tasks you have set yourself.

Confidence
Successful people believe in their skills and talents. Their self-esteem is high. If you don’t believe in yourself you cannot expect others to!

Determination and Optimism
The road to success is never easy so in order to prosper, you need to be utterly determined and develop an optimistic positive view of the world in equal measures.

Patience
Timing it is said is everything; therefore it is obvious that ‘patience’ should be a key quality of successful people. Patience is the ability to wait for the fruits of your labour to ripen or for a favourable moment in important negotiations. Knowing when to strike is an important part of practicing patience.

Be a risk-taker
If you are afraid of failure and risk, you will never succeed. At the same time, don’t make hasty decisions. Trust your intuition and weigh up all pros and cons. And if you finally choose risk, take it easy, do it with no fear or regret. There are very few successful people that have not taken risks.

Ownership
Take ‘ownership’ of what you do and why you do it and become the master of your life in order to create your profit and the life and success that you have always dreamed of.

Emotional Intelligent and Resilience
Ability to control your own emotions and also be able to understand others emotions particularly under stress together with the ability be resilient to stress, is absolutely pivotal for someone who wants to succeed.

Vitality
Vitality and enthusiasm are qualities that are absolutely essential for successful. They help drive you forward towards your goals. You need energy to succeed. Successful people have high energy. So take care of your health, eat wisely and exercise regularly.

Diligence
Quite frankly, if you are a lazy coach potato, if you delegate tasks believing that you have abdicated the responsibility, then it is highly unlikely that you will achieve success. Action and consistent hard work is what counts and what at the end of the day pays off.

Are you built to succeed?
If not and you would like some training, coaching or mentoring then please contact me

Trisha Proud
Partners in Solutions Ltd
http://www.pins.uk.com

https://twitter.com/proudtrisha

Link-up or Lock out?

Link-up or Lock out-Blog
To coin a phrase from the gorgeous Chris Evans….”Here’s the thing”……….
I recently attended a women’s networking event; which was all rather strange in itself as this was advertised as a Women in Business Event but actually had men attending! This piece is all about inclusion and embracing the people you meet, so good on them, how brave I thought; albeit I also thought it rather belied the name and purpose of the event and in some cases diluted the messages of the lady speakers. After all this was a women’s networking event and I (and I know others) did find it a little disconcerting to have a man touting his wares and using the event to flog his services!

No matter, back to the plot….to “here’s the thing”………one of the break-out workshops was a session on ‘Personal Branding’ which unbeknown to me I had been assigned to attend. The speaker was fun and engaging but most definitely could not be described as a professional speaker; maybe it was the swearing that gave it away! Nevertheless this did not distract too much from the key messages she wanted to deliver.

There were of course all the usual personal branding messages about appearance, smiling, being open etc and also about how important it is to network, to get your brand ‘out there’; to create a good first impression. This speaker made a great play at not being afraid to take the bull by the horns and be master of one’s own destiny. As an example of this she stated firmly that when attending any networking event you should never leave a person you might have ‘touched base’ with, or been involved with in a longer conversation without exchanging business cards. Therefore when we met in the bar afterwards I thanked her for her interesting talk and gave her my card.

The next day she invited me to join her on Twitter and LinkedIn which I was more than happy to do. But ‘here’s the thing’……….when I accepted her LinkedIn invitation I noticed that she had ‘hidden’ her contacts from me. Now I always find it really odd that people join a business networking site and then ‘hide’ their connections!

I know and appreciate that LinkedIn has the facility to do this, however this lady met me at a networking event, she had spoken at some length for an hour in fact about personal branding and networking. I therefore don’t feel that I am being unreasonable to think it odd that she would hide her network from me. In my heart I don’t believe this is quite in the spirit of how LinkedIn is supposed to work!

Furthermore I truly believe that if one is brilliant at their job, if you have created a good first impression and people generally like you because you are open, honest and genuine and embrace the people you meet and do business with then nobody being invited into your network is surely a real threat.

I guess that there are givers and takers in this world and that when people who profess to be active net workers, purporting to be givers when in reality they are really takers, then sadly people like me get mugged, which is most irksome. As part of her talk this lady spoke about the importance of making a good first impression, well all I can say is that she has left a lasting impression on me. With one quick click of the ‘hide my contacts’ button this lady has wiped out all the good messages she had delivered in her talk, and in doing so has told me all I needed to know about her……..I will let you guess whether this was a good or bad first impression!

So …”here’s the thing”……..what is your view….Link-up or Lock out?

https://twitter.com/proudtrisha

Management Lessons – The Apprentice Final

Apprentice Final

With the Jubilee celebrations behind us perhaps it is time to reflect on the Apprentice Final and what the last programme of this 8th series has taught us in terms of management skills.

Overall Lord Sugar and his team covered most business bases bringing to the fore within the weekly tasks key management skills from ‘active listening skills’ to ‘decision making abilities’ whilst also identifying those with true entrepreneurial spirit and flair.

So to remind ourselves the four remaining candidates remaining were: Nick Holzherr, he of the ruffled hair look; Ricky Martin, the wrestler with those enlarged biceps; Tom Gearing, who only appeared to speak when spoken to, and Jade Nash, the last lady standing who always has plenty to say. (Picture left to right: Nick; Jade: Ricky and Tom)

Many viewers they say that they find the Apprentice Final quite boring because it tends to centre on a series of one-to-one interviews and a strategic, but insightful probing of the candidates “Business Plan”. Let us not forget that Lord Sugar has pledged £250K to the successful winning candidate to invest as an equal partner in a new business venture. For others, like me, it is the best show of all because the interviews get into the ‘under belly’ of how the candidates really tick, and how business astute they really are.

The Business Plans  – The final four candidates were called to theInstituteofDirectors, where rather like giving an ‘evaluator speech’ Lord Sugar asked them to pitch their “Business Plans” concepts right there on the spot.

Nick Holzherr: His plan was to set-up an online website where you enter whatever recipes you want to have for the week, and it purchases all of the ingredients for you.

Ricky Martin: Questioned by Lord Sugar when he first tried to describe his plan was to set-up a recruitment agency concentrating on recruiting technical and scientific skills.

Tom Gearing: Rather sensibly Tom decided to stick within his broader area of expertise and proposed a plan to set-up a wine-related hedge-fund.

Jade Nash: Completely left field Jade’s plan was to set-up a UK 24/7 cold-call sales centre.

 The Interviews – As always it was straight down to business with four interviewers namely, Margaret Mountford, Lord Sugar’s Company Secretary and trusted side kick, along side telecoms entrepreneur Mathew Riley, Chief Executive, Mike Soutar; and tough-talking trouble shooter Claude Littner all conducting their own individual one-to-one interviews. These four advisors scrutinised the candidate’s suitability to go into partnership with Lord Sugar. The candidates faced the ultimate grilling as their CV’s, ‘Personal Statements’ and Business Plans were criticised, picked through and generally blown apart by the interview panel…….Did this final teach us anything, oh yes indeed it did!

 1)      Don’t lie or exaggerate on your CV or Personal Profile – In any job application or career move one’s CV and/or covering letter, (in this case ‘personal statements’) are your face, and the very first thing an interviewer or prospective employee will see. Surely therefore you would expect that the candidates, knowing the format of the show and interview element, would want to create a good first impression. Well clearly not!…..

During the interviews there were a number of instances where the candidates were caught out ‘stretching the truth’ with regards to their CV’s and ‘personal statements’. Jade is an example of this as when she tried to imply that she had already set-up and ‘owned’ a number of website domains. Whoops, she was later caught out when interviewer, Mike Soutar went and purchased the same site for himself!

Then there was Ricky who, when being interviewed by the lovely Margaret Mountford, a woman who can destroy an overconfident apprentice with just the quiver of an eyebrow, admitted he was embarrassed hearing his ‘personal statement’ read back to him by her, in which he described himself as demi-god Thor.

Lesson learnt: As Managers one of the first attributes we need is to be ‘credible’, no matter what business you are in. Therefore claiming to be something or somebody you are not, or over embellishing your accomplishments simply aren’t going to cut it, and claims such as these diminishes your credibility.

 2)      Know how to construct a Business Plan – In show two I highlighted that several candidates had difficulty understanding the numbers, I referred to this at the time as ‘cringeworthy number crunching’. For Jade, of whom I have constantly said, ‘does not listen’, the lesson learnt on that show clearly passed her by. As the screen shot showed her Business Plan was literally full of holes, as in zeros! She had not amortized any income or expenditure across the length of her plan, simply showing one figure of revenue. Neither had she produced a cash flow forecast, fairly pivotal in any business, let alone a ‘start-up business’ being started in the middle of a double dip recession.

Lesson learnt: Not all of us want or need to have the same skills as an accountant, however if you are pitching for £250K investment common sense surely tells you that you need to table your finances in the appropriate way. Therefore the lesson learnt here is that if you don’t have the correct style of accountancy skills for the pitch don’t be too proud to ask for help when developing your plan.  

 3)      Know Client and Customer Base – Over the course of the show all the candidates have perpetually being telling us what good ‘sales’ people they are. You would think then, in this last task that they would all be brilliant at ‘selling’ when it came to the one-on-one selling of themselves, and their plan. This sadly was the case.  

Nick Holzherr: I believe Nick is a true entrepreneur having already set-up and successfully run his own coffee cart. What possessed him to think that Lord Sugar would be interested in his online recipe website? This was never going to grab Lord Sugar’s attention. That said Nick did get the IT element of this initiative right, which I rather suspect originally caught Lord Sugar’s eye, but regrettably Nick got the overall concept completely wrong. In my view he should instead market that idea somewhere likeAmerica.

Jade Nash: Her idea of setting-up a UK 24/7 cold-call sales centre was completely wacky and had no substance. It was so ‘left field’ of anything that Lord Sugar might even be remotely interested in that he probably never even gave it a second glance. Lord Sugar acknowledged in the Board Room just how much he himself hated the cold calling of cold centers interrupting his dinner and the like; and went on to say that he had no desire to inflict that type of misery on anybody else!

Tom Gearing: As stated previously Tom decided to stick within his field proposing a plan to set-up a wine-related hedge-fund concentrating on fine wines.  I have made no secret of having a soft spot for Tom. His Business Plan was so good that the nasty Claude Littner didn’t actually believe that he wrote it himself. Tom’s mistake was that he simply had not done his homework on Lord Sugar. If he had, he would have realised that Lord Sugar never puts other people’s money at risk; he only ever uses his own money to make money; as so many of the tasks show the delegates. This aside had Lord Sugar not been such a high profile public figure I rather suspect he might have had a punt on this idea.

Ricky Martin: Initially questioned by Lord Sugar on his concept of setting-up a recruitment agency concentrating on recruiting technical and scientific skills, this business idea was clearly ‘in with a shout’ for two reasons:

(1) Little investment in capital outlay

(2) The ‘technical’ emphasis is a good fit with Lord Sugar’s business portfolio.

Ricky had clearly thought about his initiative and it showed; it showed in his business plan and in the overall concept and how it would be attractive to Lord Sugar and fit in with his business portfolio. Simple, some may say boring, but clever nevertheless.

Lesson learnt: As a qualified and licensed trainer of “Sigma Selling” (a strategic selling programme) a key factor is to know, and equally important understand your client/customer base, the person you are ‘selling’ to.  Jade, Nick and Tom appear to have overlooked the fact that Alan Sugar as a ‘Lord’ is a high profile public figure; let alone fully understanding the link, model and shape of their business proposal to that of Lord Sugar’s various other businesses.

Tom and Ricky made it down to the final two. In week eleven, I said that: “Team Sterling’s (Tom and Ricky) “Gentlemen’s Toiletries” branding was simply awful and that if I was being cynical Lord Sugar saved Tom and Ricky because one of these guys is going to be his business partner”. Well nobody likes a ‘smarty pants’, but I was right! I admit to being somewhat surprise at Lord Sugar’s choice to select Ricky Martin as his new business partner, but once I thought about it, as outlined above, it all made sense.

And Ricky…..

Will the winner keep his tag name of Ricky Martin, after the Latino pop star, or revert to his given name of Richard. Reading the newspapers I gather that he has said: “From now on I’m still going to call myself Ricky, because that is how I’ve always presented myself in business”.

The Winner!  – Ex-wrestler Ricky Martin, possibly the surprise winner of The Apprentice, who has earned a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar.

Thttps://twitter.com/proudtrisha

risha Proud: Managing Partner: Partners in Solutions Ltd http://www.pins.uk.com

Are we dumbing down?

Don’t ‘dumb down’ during recession!

Don’t Dumb-Down  – “dumbing down” is not an inevitable consequence of recession.

As yet another year fades into the distance and the Olympics looming heavily on the horizon the ever cautious economists are telling us that we are heading into ‘a double dip recession’; bringing with it a sense of doom. With this in mind I started to observe businesses more closely. I can still recall the words of my University lecturer who proclaimed that one should “never, ever, ever dumb down in a recession”.

As a trainer who knows only too well that whenever budgets are tight, or a recession hits training can sometimes be the first thing to be axed. I wanted to challenge this out dated business practice, as I believe that reducing people and business development activities is actually false economy. I tested my theory as 2011 drew to a close by visiting five different garden centers and found that they all had “dumbed down” their Christmas sections, which were cold empty places lacking seasonal atmosphere. What wasted business opportunities these were. Due to their obvious decision to “dumb down”, instead of their tills jingling these customers, like me, went elsewhere.

I told myself we would make up the loss to the economy as the great British sun seeking public got into their stride as 2012 arrived. Or would we?  Would the airlines allow us to? It is not just the budget airlines affecting the economy; it is virtually ever airline, which appears to be falling into the same business inefficiency trap. More and more travellers are opting to take on board ‘hand luggage’ in order to avoid increasing charges for luggage check-in. The era of the airline wheelie trolley has arrived! Many airlines when confronted with 90%+ of their passengers at the boarding gate clinging desperately to their beloved wheelie bags have now realized that the capacity of today’s cabin stowage cannot cope.

When this happens, airlines have taken to offering free luggage check-in at the gate. Such precious revenue is surely too good to be given away. The real message here is that these airlines have forgotten of the old adage of 10% of something is better than 10% of nothing. In other words if airlines had not decided to “dumb down” their luggage check-in service and instead set their luggage check-in fees at a reasonable level then they would actually make more money!

My lecturer was right that one should “never, ever, ever dumb down in a recession”. Whatever your belief there can be no doubt that some businesses are starting to “dumb-down”, which should not be a natural consequence of recession. Let us learn the lessons in that:

  • Cutting services or quality of products in a service industry is suicidal; customers will go elsewhere for good service and quality products.
  • There can be no doubt that ‘recruiting’ on the cheap is false economy.
  • Making do with existing teams that have not received any training or talent development support will dumb down businesses automatically, and equally as bad the competition are more likely to steal your ground and market share.

In summary the sooner businesses that adopt this thinking recognise that “dumbing down” is not an inevitable consequence of recession and reverse the process, the more likely they are to survive this recession and the years ahead.

Trisha Proud – Partners in Solutions Ltd    www.pins.uk.com
https://twitter.com/proudtrisha