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8 Bail Agent Resolution Tips for the New Year

Bail Agent ResolutionsNew Year’s Eve and 2012 are approaching quickly, and with it the time to set business resolutions for your bail bond agency. A new year brings the chance to start fresh and make some changes, but sometimes resolutions turn into empty promises. Whether it’s unrealistic goals or dream-like expectations, many professionals forget their resolutions after a few months, but having a plan, strategy and goals can help you keep your business resolutions in 2012.

Here are 8 tips for setting and keeping business resolutions:

  1. Identify what you want to change: You might already have an idea of what you’d like to change. Maybe you want to focus more on fugitive recovery or share your experience at association events, but just haven't gotten around to it. Take some time to identify exactly what you want to improve, but don't get too ambitious. Keep in mind that having too many goals might prevent you from keeping your resolutions.
  2. Get employee input: Resolutions aren’t just for managers to dictate to employees, so get your staff members involved! Ask your employees to point out opportunities for increasing efficiency, or even what basic changes they’d like to see. Maybe a new coffee pot or painting the office walls will keep your employees happy in the coming year, or they have marketing ideas you can work that can work into your strategy.
  3. Research: It’s easy to get excited and want to start right away, but if you focus on preparation you may experience greater success. Once you have an idea of what your resolution will, be take some time to research different strategies. Look at previous years to see what’s prevented you from making those changes in the past. It could be your budget or time constraints haven't allowed you to explore other options. Taking the time to prepare and find out what hasn't worked in the past can help you achieve long-term goals. 
  4. Set an achievable resolution: You might be tempted to set a resolution like ‘Triple My Bail Business’ or ‘Make More Money’, but the problem with these goals is that they are overly ambitious and difficult to measure. Focus on resolutions that can be supported with smaller goals. If you want to increase business, maybe your resolution is to ‘Increase Business by 20% Over the Next Year.’ This can become the less-intimidating goal of ‘Write 5% More Bail Bonds Every Three Months’. Although being ambitious is important, it is equally important to set goals that are realistic.
  5. Have a solid strategy: Once you’ve identified your resolution you need to develop a strategy, which should combine big opportunities and little ways to work toward your goal. To help ensure you're working toward your goal, create a calendar devoted to your resolution and mark major events. If your resolution is to get your agency more involved in the community, plan a canned food drive in February and participate in a recreational softball league from April to June. Volunteer at a local festival in August and raise money for a children's charity in November and December. With major events planned you should also focus on other community opportunities, so if there are legislation changes or bail association meetings make sure you get involved. If you have special experience or interests like self-defense, sign up to teach a safety course or educate students at a local school.  
  6. Have a Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D: It’s important to have several plans in case part of your strategy isn’t effective. If your resolution is to increase leads, maybe you started with an advertisement in the local paper but only increased your leads by 1% in three months. If you have back-up plans like a network listing, trying to boost your local search results, or increasing your social media presence, you can try something else for the second quarter. Having multiple plans can help you decide what is and is not effective, and is an important part of a successful strategy.
  7. Set monthly goals: If your resolution is to increase professionalism, for example, you can devote each month to improving a specific focus. You can make February "Phone Etiquette Month," and implement new strategies for customer service over the phone. For more fun and participation you can create an office contest with prizes. Repetition will help your employees hold on to new habits even after they’ve turned their focus to March’s "Explain-the-Bail-Process-More-Clearly-To-Customers" month.
  8. Keep yourself in check: Set various check-in dates throughout the year devoted to revisiting your resolutions. Reward yourself for successes and identify where you could have put forth more effort. If you’re setting monthly goals, review at the end of the month, or, if you have a larger, over-arching resolution, like getting better at fugitive recovery, check your progress every three months.
Setting resolutions can be an intimidating process, but if you set goals rather than a broad, open-ended change you may be more successful. If you prepare, set measurable and realistic goals, and have a plan, you may find yourself happy with changes this time next year. And remember, you don’t need a new year to set goals and make improvements, so if you’re ready to go paperless in April or change your logo and marketing collateral in August, go for it!

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