In Security, Use Past Experiences to Become Smarter and Better at Your Craft

Some of the industry’s smartest leaders are constantly reassessing their businesses. You should too.

THE old saying is it’s better to be lucky than good. I am submitting that given today’s intense competition, fast-changing marketplace and advanced technology, it’s better to be smart than good.

Ideally, you want to be both smart and good, but luck has little place in 2016’s version of the electronic security industry. Fact is it’s been some time since luck played much of a role in this business. Even those who inherit a family owned company can’t hide for long. And while we’re at it, let’s swap “good” for “great” because that is really what’s required to succeed today.

A recent experience got me thinking about this topic. My son and I belong to Y-Guides (similar to scouts) and for the past several years we have participated in the scouting equivalent of the Pinewood Derby. For those unfamiliar, it involves shaping and designing a small block of wood into a racecar that is then run down an approximately 20-foot-long track in double elimination until a winner emerges. As you get into it, you discover there is a real science to it with any tiny edge being the possible difference maker.

We have always gone with another father and son from our tribe, and although neither of us had previously won, we learned lessons that helped us improve each showing.

This time, though, the other dad was not messing around (it didn’t hurt that he is an engineer by trade). Rather than making a brand new car, he and his son instead refined the one that had performed well for them the previous year. The dad made sure it had as little wind resistance as possible and weighed the maximum limit to take full advantage of gravity. But the real edge came from buying prefabricated axles online rather than painstakingly sanding and polishing them per usual.

Are you using ingenuity, honing your skills, learning from experience and aligning yourself with those who can help you further your goals? It may be time to reassess and refocus.

The car was not that fancy, but man could it get down that track! One by one our friends knocked off each challenger (my son and I won a few heats before bowing out). About two-thirds through, the body of our tribe members’ car broke where it met one of the axles. Fortunately, we had masking tape in our kit and patched it up for them (teamwork pays off!). Amazingly, despite their damaged entry, our friends did not lose a single race en route to capturing the trophy.

So yeah they were smart, but also real good and experienced, and had partnered up with the right support folks. Those are all qualities I want you to carefully think about in your daily professional and personal lives: Are you using ingenuity, honing your skills, learning from experience and aligning yourself with those who can help you further your goals? It may be time to reassess and refocus. And look out for me and my boy at next year’s derby!

Read More: 4 Management Tactics to Help Grow Profitability of Your Security Business

Some of the industry’s smartest leaders and marketers are featured in this month’s SSI Installers of the Year profiles, which will be featured online throughout July. In my interviews with them, I asked how their companies are working smarter and more efficiently nowadays. Following is what some of them offered:

Pam Petrow, Vector Security: “We focus on using technology to reduce our level of effort. We recently launched a new workflow management system for our National Accounts Division. We also launched our Dealer Portal, which streamlines and automates formerly paper-based and manual processes. We continue to write programs that allow for data transfer between systems to eliminate duplication of data entry.”

Tim Whall, Protection 1: “It’s critical we distinguish ourselves in the life-safety business while being fully immersed in home automation delivery. We enable the customer to buy what they want, how they want, through our DIY channel, our inside sales channel, our reps that run specific appointments and our self-generation reps. Both channels enable us to still provide a personal one-on- one experience in the home.”

Mike Rogers, Securityhunter: “Securityhunter uses IT solutions more, from our new CAD software to accounting software, new security survey software and with iPads in the field. We are constantly looking at technology to become more effective.”

Ron Reed, Reed Brothers Security: “We’ve equipped technicians with smartphones. If they don’t know a product, they can call the office for advice. They also can text or take pictures. We’ve also installed GPS on our vehicles, reducing drive times. New software will soon transmit service tickets to our smartphones. It will allow us to update customers on the status of their service call and dispatch more effectively. We will also be able to electronically invoice through smartphones.”

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at

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