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52 Ways Firms Have Found Their Financial Footing

What's working to make security firms more profitable these days.

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Welcome to our annual Bright Ideas Issue. The mission is to dig deep into all areas of the electronic installing and monitoring security systems and services business to compile the best possible industry intelligence to maximize the likelihood of achieving success. This is accomplished through the hallmark integrator executive roundtable, the Operations & Opportunities Report (OOR), and several technology- and sales-focused articles. Plus this year we’ve teamed up with Parks Associates to further up the ante with an additional research project zeroing in on residential systems. It’s all designed to help you close out this year with a bang and look ahead to strategize a sensational 2014.  

The cover line associated with the new OOR (page references 72% of survey respondents stating their companies are better off financially now than they were three years ago — strong evidence the recessionary foot is off most providers’ throats. Awesome news, right? But why exactly are these owners and managers feeling so much better about their solvency, profitability and prospects?

We asked just that as an open-ended question within the ORR. So let’s now take a look inside the numbers to find out what’s behind the resurgence. Note that these are only some of the responses among the hundreds of survey participants, with duplicate answers eliminated. See my Under Surveillance blogs online for more OOR analysis. 

Why is your company better off today than it was three years ago?

1. We have lowered our overhead by office relocation and reduced the number of poor performing employees.

2. We are always trying to improve and increase RMR.

3. Better training and more marketing. 

4. Clients are upgrading equipment.

5. More effective upper management.

6. Eliminated waste and bad practices, consolidated offices and functions.

7. Better leadership, improved employee morale, stronger team effort.

8. Improved management and larger size of projects.

9. Structured well for the industry moving into IP-oriented product lines and support.

10. Better management of our resources.

11. More RMR and a more streamlined approach.

12. Better processes in place to generate sales and deliver quality installations. 

13. Our revenues have reached a point where our overhead can be maintained and we have excess cash flow for growth.

14. Semi-retired and only do the jobs I want to and those that give good return.              

15. Overhead and vehicle expenses kept to a minimum.

16. Consistent work ethics.

17. Residential monitoring of well qualified customers creates long-term stability even through tough economic times.

18. Better market awareness.

19. Better CPA.

20. Better staffed and trained.

21. Partnered with a dealer program.

22. More repeat customers and more negotiated work.

23. We have completed our design stage and now have saleable services and products.

24. Stable, minimum debt.

25. Continued market growth based on reinvestment(s).

26. Separation of business units and a loss of national accounts business.

27. Staying focused on vertical markets.

28. Higher quality installations.

29. Improved sales and marketing.

30. Better managed financials.

31. Restructured leadership.

32. Theft is up.

33. Record performance in 2011 and 2012.

34. Advertising and marketing.

35. Overall rebounding economy.

36. Revenue and gross margin percentage is increasing.

37. Steady growth, greater market share, market consolidation.

38. We flexed when the market changed and saw new opportunities.

39. Our business is construction-based and construction business is booming!

40. In our security division we have grown our customer base by three times.

41. Newly implemented company structure and ownership.

42. Offering the newer technologies with an efficient operations manager.

43. Stronger culture focusing on customer expectations.

44. Increased training and product knowledge.

45. Automation software.

46. Company developed a good reputation for fast response to problems and quality installation practices.

47. Better sourcing and distribution.

48. Increasing work flow.

49. Equipment pricing has decreased, and we also carry only one-two lines of panels and don’t have a large inventory. 

50. Making strategic acquisitions.

51. Focusing on the cutting edge of IP integration has made us a market leader.

52. Working harder at cold customer sales.

Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent nearly 15 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125 or

Article Topics
Business Management · Between Us Pros · Managing Your Business · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
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