“Recently I was watching a DVD by Scottish comedian Billy Connelly. Yes investigators have a sense of humour too! Right at the beginning of the show, Billy talked about his recent trip to Los Angeles. He said “In LA there is a 24 hour, 7 day a week Drive Through Taxidermist.” and he went on to describe life in LA.
The concept really clicked with me. Demand is what drives a market, and satisfying a need in a market is what determines success. If there is a demand for a Drive Through Taxidermists 24/7, there is no less a demand for what you can do with your knowledge, skills and qualifications in your industry. Those who seize the moment and make their services available deserve the rewards they receive from their efforts. Those who complain about their life, see nothing but lack, think their competitors are successful and believe there are no opportunities left, will never competitively trouble an entrepreneur on the pathway to success.
So we come to my point. The market for investigation exists. Your task is to attract a sufficient share of the market by making yourself available to those with a need for your service and an ability to pay for you for that service. Your energy must be directed at satisfying a need and creating repeat business through service excellence.
People say to me: “Mike it is alright for you, you have the resources and contacts to do that, but I don’t, and this recession is global, and swine flu is making people scared”. I say to those people, if you keep up that way of thinking, you will never be successful at anything. Economies did not stop for the duration of two world wars and umpteen dozens of lethal diseases and recessions since. Business continued then and so it does now, there has never been a better time to enjoy the reward of business success.
Yes I have contacts and I have resources, but I networked, groomed and built those over time. I made mistakes and missed opportunities too, but I do not dwell on “what could have been”? I expected no one to hand me an opportunity, handout or instant success. Just like anyone else who has achieved a share of a market I had to work to gain it. And so do you.
Here are three examples
I have in my role as an investigation assessor met people who have achieved outstanding success in the Australian investigation industry who faced adverse conditions or situations.
No ability to speak English. In 2008 I conducted assessments on the staff of a major State Government Investigation Agency. I had known the Investigation Manager for three years in his role, which was a substantially remunerated one. During one on the job assessment he told me how he came into the industry. As a young 18 year old man, who could barely speak English he went to the Department of Social Security (now known as Centrelink). He found on the job board a Position Vacant for a Surveillance Operative. He could not speak much English, he did not know what a “surveillance operative” did and he rang up and was given the job. On the first day his vehicle was rammed by the surveillance subject. Now twenty five years later he is the Investigation Manager of one of Australia’s largest and most respected government agencies. He worked, he learned a second language and he studied his craft to get to that point. He did not say “this is the recession we had to have, so I will lay down and die “. He got on with achieving excellence in his work.
Competitive market place. In 2007 an investigator located in a competitive saturated investigation market asked me if had identified any trends in investigation. She was losing business to cheaper competition, and her market was the smallest in Australia, in Australia’s least populated state. I told her that Government Internal dispute and grievance and complaint investigations were on the rise. Ethical Standards units and such were overwhelmed with fraud and serious inappropriate conduct and inappropriate use of power investigations. These agencies did not have the time or resource to deal with minor internal disputes, grievances and complaints that may escalate if not addressed. She took my advice and developed a factual investigation market based on those investigations. Today she employs four investigators full time in that type of work plus has three other investigators doing her regular investigation work. Yes, she now rings me every six month to ask about any trends I have identified.
Paid too much. It was 2005 when I met Lucy. She had purchased an established Investigation Agency; however she paid quite a bit more than that agency was worth. Rather than give up, we sat down and looked at her options. There were 23 subcontract investigators working for her. 18 of which were factual investigators. Her accountant’s advice was to reduce the staff. Rather than that Lucy asked all the staff to a business generation meeting. She asked them for their ideas on how to increase business. 13 past clients were identified who had used the agencies services in the past but were not using them now. From that it was discovered 2 had ceased operating, others had changed management, or just not been contacted. Each client was invited to the investigation agency, provided with a tour of the facility, a familiarization chat and brochure. Lucy increased her business by 240% in the next 12 month just by asking her experienced staff who her clients were.”
If you have a goal to become an investigator, don’t expect the industry to fall into your lap without any effort. Many people do, and they become disillusioned and bitter. Investigation is like any other career, you study it, gain employment in it, build your business in the industry over time. There is good, bad and ordinary competition out there. You can excel above any of them.
Your success or failure will be determined by your desire to succeed and the market you provide solutions for. If an idea as wild as a 24/7 Drive Through Taxidermist can succeed, there is no reason why your sane Factual Investigation or Surveillance Investigation business can’t too!”
With thanks to Billy Connelly
Mike Evans conducts Investigation Success Seminars throughout Australia for the next seminar date visit;