6 Resolutions Tips for Your Investigations Firm
- December 19, 2011
- by PInow Staff
With New Year’s Eve just around the corner it’s time to set business resolutions for your investigations firm, or even for yourself. Starting a new year is symbolic of starting over and making changes. Have you ever noticed that the gym is a lot busier for the first few months of the year? Unfortunately, resolutions often transform into unfulfilled goals and empty promises, usually as a result of very high expectations. Most people let go of their resolutions after just a few months, and come March that same gym is back down to familiar faces. Fortunately, having a plan and setting reasonable goals can help you keep your resolutions this year.
Here are 6 steps to help you keep your investigation firm’s resolutions
- Prepare: The first step in making future changes is to look into your past and learn from it. Whether you want to change your marketing strategy, get more clients or network with other professionals, look at what's prevented you from doing so in the past. Maybe you want to get more involved in missing persons investigations but you need to learn more about it, or you want to get more repeat business but aren’t sure how to market yourself to attorneys. Even if you already have an idea for a resolution it’s important to look at how you will incorporate your resolution into your business plan.
- Commit to a reasonable, measurable resolution: It’s important that your goals are clear and achievable. 'Double my business’ and ‘make more money’ might seem like great resolutions, but because one is overly ambitious and one can’t be directly measured they are almost impossible to fulfill. ‘Increase leads by 40% over the next year,’ ‘Establish myself as a surveillance expert’ or ‘Upgrade equipment and integrate more technology’ are specific, achievable goals that can be broken down into smaller goals within a strategy.
- Set smaller goals that support your resolution: One way to ensure you meet your resolutions is to set a timeline with smaller goals that support your resolution and tie in with your strategy. If your resolution is to increase leads by 40% next year, your goals might be to increase by 10% each quarter. To achieve this goal you can purchase an advertisement in a local paper for the first three months, send introductory letters to attorneys for your second quarter, and focus on referrals and social media through the last half of the year. Smaller, isolated trials also make it easier to measure what is and is not effective. If your advertisement increases your leads by 8% over the first quarter, you know it was effective marketing and can look for ways to support that increase and get the extra 2%.
- Have a strategy: Having a strategy is a crucial element of keeping a resolution. If your resolution is to establish yourself as a surveillance expert, create opportunities to consult on local news or write an article. You can write a letter to the editor about a recent surveillance controversy, or contact websites, magazines, and newspapers with an article idea. Reach out to local news and radio stations and offer to consult on news related to surveillance and investigations, or contact associations and offer to speak at industry events. Even if this strategy doesn’t lead to a regular consultation, column, or public speaking slot, any time you publish or provide your comments you are keeping your resolution.
- Make backup plans: If your strategy isn’t successful after the first few months, don’t scrap the resolution completely. You have nine more months to work on meeting your goals. With prepared backup strategies you can always try something else. Trial-and-error is an unfortunate part of the process, but persistence can result in success. Keep in mind that your goals and overall resolution may evolve over time.
- Create checkpoints: Though your plans may excite you through the first few weeks of January, you might get distracted as the year goes on. Creating checkpoints is an important key to achieving your goals. You can devote one day of each month to taking a critical look at your goals, or divide your year into quarters and revisit your resolutions every three months. Regardless of how you structure your checkpoints it's important to look at where you need to focus more energy and whether or not you are on track to meet your goals. This is a great opportunity to keep yourself excited about your goals, reward yourself for any successes, and rework your goals based on what you've achieved.
Resolutions can be intimidating because they are open-ended. If you prepare, have a plan, and set measurable goals rather than an over-arching resolution you may find more success in 2012. You don’t need a new year to set goals and make changes, so if you need more time to prepare, plan to implement new strategies in February or March. You may even find that you have more success choosing a random day rather than a holiday!