For owners and managers of installing security companies preparing for 2012 there is no shortage of challenges, problems, frustrations and other headaches. Some of them are unique to the industry while others are universal for entrepreneurial businesses. Those who equip themselves with the proper tools, skills and knowledge, meticulously track and intelligently confront these issues, and then take swift and decision action are typically the ones rewarded with the greatest success, satisfaction, fulfillment and profitability. Easy to spell out, but of course a good deal more difficult to execute.
Fortunately, you are far from alone in this undertaking as SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION is with you every step of the way to provide the best possible advice and guidance from both your peers and the industry’s leading subject matter experts. Even in this age of rising electronic media, 2011 research shows that 81 percent of you continue to rely on trade publications to help you do your job better. One of our new year’s resolutions for the magazine — as well as online and in person — is to give you even more of the insider knowledge necessary to thrive in today’s fast-paced security industry and unforgiving business environment. The newer security technology is terrific, but it means little without the ability to market, sell and deliver it as intended and promised. We get that, and we are here to help and facilitate.
So then, what are the concerns inducing the most anxiety for security and fire/life-safety dealer/integrator executives and managers right now? That question is part of the yearly Installation Business Report (IBR) that serves as a centerpiece of our annual Gold Book edition (mailed with December’s issue or available separately). The top five results, in which nearly 400 respondents were asked to rate on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being what most keeps them up at night, can be seen on this page.
As indicated by the upward arrows, four of the top five concerns scored higher than a year ago. However, the ranking order was unchanged. In other words, it’s the same issues only they weigh even more heavily on security company operators’ minds. The recession, which has jumped .26 the past two years, continues to be the greatest source of angst.
Tying these concerns into a year-end resolution theme, I offer the following initiatives for you to strongly consider as ways to combat the five highest ranked industry challenges:
Recession — Put more energy and effort into selling upgrades and more services to your existing client base; this can be low-hanging fruit and lower in costs than new account creation. Also reduce resource-zapping callbacks by making sure installations and service calls adequately solve customers’ issues the first time.
Operating costs — Negotiate lower equipment costs with your suppliers; they are more apt to cut deals during these tough times. Also put more thought and even some investment into practices and tools that increase your workforce’s productivity and reduce inefficiencies.
Government regulation — Become an active participant in the process through local and national trade associations, communicating and building relationships with local officials, and routinely monitoring industry and general business media. Be aware and be heard.
Security company competition — Take care of your existing customers; keep in regular communication with them and truly understand their needs. Partner with them and build relationships based on trust, and you will have loyal customers unlikely to look elsewhere no matter how much lower others’ prices might be.
Manufacturers selling direct — Make sure your people have the skillsets and training necessary to effectively represent and sell the latest security solutions. If manufacturers are confident in your commitment and capabilities they are unlikely to feel the need to sell direct. If they still do, then look for another supplier.
Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 13 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125 or [email protected].