7 Ways to Secure Your Future in 2013

It’s hard to believe it’s the last month of 2012. But what are you doing here and now to secure your future and that of your company? Next year, SD&I magazine turns 35 years old! I won’t say that publishing hasn’t been without challenges, but that’s what life is all about—taking challenges and making opportunities out of them. And that’s what we will continue to do in 2013 as we focus more on social media, interactive and face-to-face experiences with you our reader.

What we’ve learned in publishing can be translated into your world of contracting in many instances. For example, we continue to learn about analytics and how to get the public to read more about what we are writing, or continue to look at how video is transforming the landscape of both traditional and social media marketing.

Here are my observations of seven things you can do to become more profitable in 2013:

1. Take note of the upswing in social media as a sales and marketing tool. I know many of us are grousing about how much time social media takes but it’s something you have to do to get more customers. The under 35 crowd watches and works the social media angle all the time and these are the buyers of today and the future. Set aside an hour or two each week to schedule messages in advance, or hire an intern to work this angle—and teach you the ins and outs at the same time.

2. Get trained in new technologies. Learn about wireless or IT networking or other up and coming technologies, like cloud computing, video verification or energy management. Adding new skill sets may enable you to get new business. Watch SD&I for our new IT/networking column starting in January 2013.

3. Investigate upcoming projects in your area. Join the Chamber of Commerce or other business networking organization to get a leg up on new projects which may be coming your way.

4. Learn the pain points of verticals and become an expert in one or more markets. The retail vertical market may be ready to take advantage of video surveillance coupled with analytics and point of sale. Add value to your solutions packages. Another market on the upswing: one- to four-door access control.

5. Make it a mandate to learn and specify IP cameras. Stop offering last decade’s technologies. Make the move firmly and squarely to the world of IP cameras and technologies. Your customers will be glad you did.

6. Do some research to find out what your customers really want. You can’t deliver the right services if you don’t know what your customer’s hot buttons are. Have your sales personnel leave a postcard asking what services prospects or customers may want in the near future. Do follow-up calls or surveys asking how service technicians performed at the last visit. Follow up immediately on any negative claims, say you are sorry and ask what you can do to continue to win the business.

7. Get involved in the community. Become a spokesperson for safety and security, not necessarily high-tech electronics but simple tips, such as changing smoke detector batteries. Better yet, offer free smoke detector inspections for low-income families and change out their batteries and devices if you can. Offer free speaking services and work in other community endeavors, such as visiting retirement homes. Step away from your desk and you will be remembered when buying time comes.

Technology is important, but having a plan for the future is even more critical. Sit down over the holidaysand work up a two-, four-, six- and even a 10-year plan. What you do today will help you become more profitable tomorrow.