It caught me a little off-guard when Ron Davis, an icon I have had the pleasure of knowing since coming into the industry in 1998 and whose column runs in this magazine, asked me for my “Big Idea.” How dare he turn the tables on me! I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised since Ron similarly put me on the spot some 10 years ago for his “Audio Insights” program. My answer then was offering bundled services, a strategy that not only has held up but resonates even more today.
Ron’s recent inquiry really got me thinking, and this being our Business Issue I figured I’d share 23 additional ideas with you.
- Attitude can trump experience — hire people with fire in their bellies. Skills can be learned and acquired; attitude is innate.
- Lead by example — but don’t assume that is enough. Check in with reports and effectively communicate regularly.
- Be disciplined and organized — multitasking is a way of professional life. Minimize what falls between the cracks.
- Concentrate on core strengths — focus on what you and your business do best. Maximize those qualities as your differentiator. Mind the competition, but don’t let it distract you from your course.
- Rely on experts for guidance — face up to what you don’t know, and seek assistance from those who do.
- Control what you actually can — so much is out of your true control. Accept it, but optimize where you can effect change.
- Solicit feedback on managers — it’s not enough to state an “open-door policy.” Proactively seek input on supervisors.
- Respect the industry’s history — know the evolution of the business, technology, people, etc. A deeper understanding helps identify trends and avoid pitfalls.
- Establish a true business plan — don’t fly by the seat of your pants. Plan, implement, execute, evaluate, adjust and repeat. Follow-through is essential.
- Be proud of what we do — security and life safety are noble pursuits. Make sure that flows through your entire firm.
- Deliver real customer service — many talk the talk, few walk the walk. Continually monitor and improve.
- Have responsive internal customer service — empower your people to take action, and don’t sweat them over small stuff. Knock down silos between departments. Corporate culture is critical.
- Promote training everywhere — this includes making sure managers know how to manage. Often people ascend with no true managerial training.
- Always be networking — build relationships with peers, among the community, other businesses, first responders, etc.
- Join trade associations — support them at a minimum. Ideally, be participatory.
- Be flexible and nimble — adapting to change is essential for longevity.
- Provide career paths — a key ingredient to retain and motivate personnel. Don’t let them stagnate.
- Favor quality over quantity — base offerings on value. Avoid selling on price. Don’t become a commodity.
- Stay engaged with customers — communicate regularly to increase retention and upselling opportunities.
- Reinvest in business — spend a buck to make a buck. Don’t just pull money out.
- Be ready to sell tomorrow — maintain accurate records, accounts, etc. Have an exit strategy.
- Let no one be indispensible — don’t allow your business to be overly dependent on any single person.
- Keep things in perspective — remember what is truly important (people, values). The right reasons bring positive results.
Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 13 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.