Yvonne Saunders from 121 Business Coach says “Before I answer this question let me illustrate what can happen if they do cut back in these areas. This story has been told in various forms for more than 30 years and I think clearly demonstrates there are dangers in cutting back in these areas. There once was a man who ran a hot dog stand. One of the finest hot dog stands in Cardiff and, strangely for a hot dog stand, he even used real meat in his sausages. People came from miles to taste these famous hot dogs, that were lavishly covered in onions and the finest sauces. The man was so successful he sent his son to University, who got an MBA. After graduation the son worked with his dad. “Dad”, he said, “based on the current economic statistics, we’re heading for a recession. You’ve got to stop using all these fine ingredients and you dish out onions as if they were free.” The father was torn. He’d always been generous to his customers, but his very bright son didn’t get all that education for nothing. So, reluctantly, he cut back on sauces and onions. Next his son bought cheaper brands of hot dog with less meat and more cereal. It was just in time, because it turned out his son was right - his business took a real dive. What I am trying to say is that cutting back might look like a saving but in the long run it can lead to disaster”. At times like this, it is easy to get stuck in a mindset where all you are concerned with is the consequences of recession and the survival of your business. If that happens, you may find that you create an atmosphere where your staff are fearful for their jobs, you are frightened to take risks, so don’t look at new opportunities and the fun disappears, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here are 121 Business Coach suggestions for successfully investing his winter: The great Escape! As a leader you need a clear plan, or vision, communicate this with confidence to your teams, let them know it will lead to long-term success. Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. Write the plan down and let everyone know you are a survivor. Stop advertising and clients will go to those who are! The economy has not completely collapsed, it's just harder than it was a few years ago to sell, business is still out there. Step up advertising, marketing and customer care activities. Yes, it's important to control your cash however, don't do the foolish things that let your customers forget about you and go to your competition. You need more customers, not fewer. 121 Business Coach work with a tried and tested industry formula (MILLE RATE) that identifies where your customers are, which publications they read, listen to and view and are the best value for money, so give them a call and spend SMARTER. Make a difference Business Coaches work with teams to brainstorm and motivate individuals showing them how their ideas can make a real difference. Sales and customer service people are your finest resources and know what customers want, so involve them. They may lack the skills to take ideas forward but that is where a coach will help you. Measure performance and profit will follow. Look at your suppliers, are they performing to your goals or theirs? Do you measure and record their results? Are they competitive or is it time to make a change? When performance is measured and reported back, the level of performance improves. Measure your team in key result areas and see morale and productivity jump. Train to peak performance. People are your number one unlimited resource. Hold on to your cash in this climate but, not your training euro’s. If sales are down, train your salespeople. If morale is low, management training needs to be your No 1 priority. 121 Business Coach have had more enquiries this month on training than any other services.