As anyone would agree — 2020 was a tough year. It’s been difficult for everyone, both professionally and personally. Licensed investigators are no exception. It’s likely you’re looking forward to 2021 like everyone, and with that forward thinking, you have to consider what you can do in 2021 to grow your business. Of course, you want success, and with these tips you can find it in 2021.
Something on everyone’s mind lately is the economy. Many people are struggling with their finances, but you don’t have to. Your first step should be planning for a dip in revenue. This is likely to happen as the rest of the country and the economy start to heal. To counterbalance this, have a cash reserve available. Get in the habit of saving at least 10% of everything you bring in. You may also diversify your business so you have multiple revenue streams. This could offer you some amount of security in case one stream of revenue starts to dry up. You can consider applying for government grants and loans. The U.S. Small Business Administration and your state government both may have options that could fit your needs. In the meantime, cut expenses and be sure you’re paying your bills ahead of time.
Tech and equipment
A huge part of being a licensed investigator is staying up to date with technology and making sure you have the equipment and tools you need to perform your job cost-effectively. With the surge of virtual meetings and video calls, you should become familiar with the most popular of these platforms. It can give you a safe way to communicate with your colleagues and clients. Additionally, sending invoices via email may speed up the process of being paid, especially since so many people are working from home on their computers. In regards to working from home, setting up your home office — if you haven’t already — is a must. Whether or not there’s a global pandemic, you should make sure you have the remote work equipment you need to efficiently complete an investigation.
Now more than ever is the time to focus on your marketing. In fact, An important way to bring in new clients and grow your business in the face of a global pandemic is to market, market and market your business some more! Along those lines, you should be trying to expand your customer base. Consider opening your practice up to a neighboring city or getting licensed in the next state over. This opens up your pool of clients and may bring in more business. Speaking of bringing in more business, you should also brush up on your sales techniques. Sales might look different right now, but the principles and foundations of sales are the same.
As always, you want to make your clients happy. Whether or not they like what you uncover in your investigation, they need to feel seen and understood. Aim for total transparency right now. Everyone is feeling a little uncertain and if you can be completely open and honest not only with your clients, but also your vendors, contractors and employees, you will build those relationships. You should also try to stay in contact with clients. It can be difficult when meetings are virtual, but at the same time, it opens up additional avenues for when you can have meetings.
Anything you do to advance yourself professionally may be an asset during these difficult times. Start by finding a mentor — someone who’s been in the industry longer than you and has been successful. Check with your local U.S. Small Business Administration’s SCORE program, which may be able to provide you with a mentor, training and workshops, many of which are free. They are even offering remote assistance right now due to the pandemic. Now is also a great time to join professional associations like your state licensed investigator association, the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI) or other associations. These associations are still active during the pandemic and may provide you with valuable resources, especially if your business starts to suffer.
Above all, preparing for 2021 starts with your mindset and attitude. It’s been said that, “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude that will determine your altitude,” meaning that your positive attitude will help you achieve more success than simply your aptitude. Have hope — one day the COVID-19 pandemic will be over, and yes, the world might look different than it did before, but it won’t be like it is now. It won’t be this hard forever. We’re all on an emotional roller coaster right now. Many of us are experiencing COVID-19 fatigue. We’re all tired of it! We’re tired of the wild swings, the disappointments, the uncertainty. The key is to continue on with hope and do the things you need to do to provide yourself with a stronger safety net. Keep working to grow your business and look forward to the future — that’s how you prepare for 2021.
Finally, one of the most important things a licensed investigator can do is consider utilizing a full-scale, comprehensive data services provider. This may help you solve cases faster, more easily and more affordably. You can quickly find answers to your questions with data services, like those from TransUnion and their TLOxp® online application. Its data can help you map out your subjects’ past and present relationships for a more comprehensive picture, along with delivering critical information about businesses, vehicles, locations, assets and more.
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