Subscribers to the company's publication EcoTrends get an important bonus: a discount on EcoCharts. EcoCharts, using raw data that the subscribers provide themselves, tells them which indicators included in EcoTrends correlate best to their specific businesses. ITR has defined four phases of economic movement; if the trends that affect your industry are in Phase C, then you are expecting a downturn. Your actions might include a reduction in inventory and training, an avoidance of long-term purchase commitments, and deeper concentration on your cash and balance sheet. On the other hand, during Phase B, an upward trend, you would accelerate training, increase prices, consider outside manufacturing, and open distribution centers. This kind of information can provide companies with powerful competitive advantages.
Training. Many large companies offer specialized training for their customers, free or at cost, so they can run their business better. McDonald's runs its own academy for new franchise owners, for example, so they can learn to avoid common pitfalls and maximize the return on their investments. The company draws on the experiences of Marlboro Red 100 Carton thousands of other franchise owners and shares that knowledge, because it is vital to their own business. I often recommend to clients that if they invest heavily in training they should make a competitive point of it. For example, "We invest half a million dollars each year training our employees" or ". . . training our customers."