Cochrane advises on the way forward for business

The call for bolder moves (Comment, DW 18 October) may appear strange to many who are experiencing or facing a period of falling revenues at the moment. For those in the fray, retrenchment may seem a more natural strategy than advancement.

My own experience is that now really is the time to be bold and to advance swiftly on the productivity front, remembering that there are two very different aspects to productivity.

First of all, there needs to be an efficiency audit across the business to ensure that costs are buttoned down and that all functions are operating well. In tough times, there is no room for ‘chic silver logos that disappear when faxed’, or for receptions where the telephone rings and rings, or for studios where people continually drift in after 9.30am.

In tough times, people and things simply need to work more efficiently. Maintaining your output while reducing your cost base is what it’s all about. The retailers call this, ‘making your assets sweat’.

Second, and perhaps more importantly though, while costs are being screwed down there needs to be an equally obsessive focus on customer value. You need to increase the value you are giving to customers and package this with an extraordinary high level of customer service.

This is where ‘ideas and individuality’ come into their own and why customers will continue to pay a premium for first class design that helps them achieve their own commercial goals and stay ahead of their competition.

Cutting your costs could well ensure short-term survival, but focusing on customer value will ensure that you emerge as a better business when the upturn comes.

Ian Cochrane



Gerrards Cross, SL9 8QD

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