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Four Ways to Thrive in 2009

  • December 31, 2008
  • by PInow Staff

All of the presents have been opened and the champagne bottles readied. 2008 has come to a close and it has been a trying year for many. It is in times like these that it is imperative to evaluate how your business has been performing and how it can be improved. The legal services industry has been increasingly competitive and the same will be true in 2009. Your business can take these four steps to ensure that you will be celebrating this time next year.

1. Focus on the Little Things When it Comes to Customer Service.

Customers are the most important aspect of any business, and one of the best competitive advantages that a company can have. This may sound basic, but many companies fail miserably when it comes to basic customer service skills. When a potential client contacts you, listen and sympathize with the caller and always refer to the customer by name. Simply using the client's name can help establish a connection with the client. Also, be sure to sound professional and avoid using slang when speaking with clients. You run a successful, professional business and that is a message you want to convey to every client during every communication.

2. Examine Everything.

In 1940, Dick and Mac McDonald sold their first hamburger. Today, McDonald's is the number one fast food restaurant in the world. McDonald's got to where they are today by examining every aspect of their business right down to the number of pickles that went on to each sandwich -- three. Examine your own business in this manner. Take a step back and evaluate what your business' strengths and weaknesses are. Could you be more efficient by working while conducting surveillance? Would a wireless card and a laptop make your business more efficient? Once you have a list of weaknesses, chose one to work on and develop an action plan of how to achieve that goal.

If you are having difficulty figuring out your business' weaknesses, try emailing a survey to individuals you have worked with. The only way for your business to truly stay on top is by closely evaluating where you can improve. Try not to be defensive about their criticism, but look at it as valuable information that will help your business grow.

3. What Makes Your Company Different? Think Small.

With so many different private investigation companies to chose from why do your clients choose you? Maybe you are the fastest, the most reasonably priced, have the best reputation or are the most convenient. Whatever your niche may be, it is crucial to understand what differentiates your business from the competition.

Once you have identified your niche customer base, evaluate how you can better reach them. What are the characteristics of your clients? Are they law firms, private individuals, insurance companies? You need to think as your customer would and focus your business on best serving that demographic. Your business cannot be everything for everyone. The key is reaching your niche group and determining what can your business do to serve them better.

4. Change Like the Seasons.

Think about how things have changed in your industry within the last 10 years. Now think about how things have changed within the last five years. Time moves fast and things change. What separates the profitable businesses from those that fail is how well they adjust to change. Having an outdated business practices is like hunting with a knife. It will get the job done, but to truly be successful and efficient you need some firepower.

Brainstorm creative new ways that you can do business. Utilize technology to improve customer interaction. If everyone does a task the same way in your industry, look for ways that your business can do it differently. Your customers' lives have changed over the years. Your business needs to change with them to still be considered viable in the private investigation industry.

Share with us what your business has been doing to weather the economic storm. Has the upturn in litigation and foreclosures benefited your firm? Have you seen an increase in fraud investigations?

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