Only better will do for prosperous new year

I was not surprised after Christmas to receive the usual predictions on mortgage lending, house prices, etc.

But rather than add my own numbers, I’ll suggest you do some thinking for yourself – radical, I know, but then this is a new year.

The chances are that your office has a resource that can predict these numbers as well as the pundits. But in dull January, you may need to jump start it with a few cups of coffee.

The wisdom of crowds is a theory proposing that if you ask a lot of people the same question, or ask each to make a prediction independently and then average the responses, you tend to get pretty close to the right answer.

There are a few variations on the theme but also plenty of verifiable evidence that the approach works. Give it a go in 2012 – you may be surprised at how close you get to the professionals.

I will make one prediction. Last year, I went to a restaurant that was so expensive, it didn’t have prices on the menu, just little faces with varying expressions of horror.

To prosper in 2012, that outlet will have to either (a) provide the most exceptional service and food – in other words, even better than last year – or (b) offer a similar service at a lower price.

While (b) is tempting, would the famous London restaurant The Ivy expect to retain its market position for long selling burgers and chips? In our business, we’ve committed to following route (a).

For any business, more of the same just doesn’t seem a positive choice right now. What will you and your suppliers do?