Business Fitness: Punching Above Your Weight Class

Security companies should try to appear larger than they really are. It’s a strategy that requires introspection, but the payoff is worth it.

This headline phrase is used in the pugilistic art of boxing. It ensures fair, competitive matches between individuals based on their weight, within a few pounds.

There are eight weight divisions and 17 classes within those — quite a crowd of competitors ready to fight for their respective titles. They all train hard, stay in top physical shape, have enormous courage to push fear behind them when they step into the ring, and always have a plan before the first bell. What can we learn from their example? 

Quite a bit if you are an active learner, have the fortitude to suppress fear to innovate, adapt and prevail in your security businesses, and “punch above your weight class.”

In sales of security solutions, there are those who only fight in their “weight class.” Translation: lower price wins projects, sign it and move on to the next fight. That’s easy to justify why you lost the match or better yet why you thought you could compete in the fight.

If you are a featherweight and step into the ring with a heavyweight, and your fight plan is a one-punch knockout in the first round, you better have good health insurance. However, it’s easier to fight up one or two class levels if you have a plan, are well trained, unafraid, and physically and mentally prepared to win. 

Regardless of which class you compete in amid the sprawling security industry, you should try to appear larger than you really are. This strategy requires deep introspection, homework on your competition, homework on your vertical market customer bases, and most importantly the training that your team has received for a competitive bout to win business.  

There is one more factor that’s quite important: motivation. How motivated are you and your team to win more business in emerging technology areas, or into different markets, or with larger customers to grow your business? This begins with an owner’s business vision, confidence, and commitment to success and the belief that the team can climb up the ranks to that title bout and walk away with a belt.

Where to Begin Before Stepping Into the Gym

What’s a good first step? Evaluate your existing customer base, their buying habits, their characteristics, their potential growth path, and why they do business with you. How many product lines do they buy from your company? Are you a one-trick pony only providing one solution, such as access control alarm, fire, or video service? Perhaps one of your competitors sells them others.  

Understanding and engaging your competitor’s business position with an existing customer is a good place to start your new weight class training. You are a known quantity to them; however, they may not be aware of the full services you bring into the ring.

The key element is that your competencies in those product line areas have got to be as good or better than the competitor, or you’ll be fighting several categories above your current weight class and that’s never a good idea. If you’ve trained harder than your competitor, have a better game plan, have won a couple fights against this competitor with your strategy … then move forward.  

Is there ever an exception to this rule? Indeed, there is — featherweight security companies that are agile, fast, fearless, have significantly better solutions, and follow a solid, well-rehearsed fight plan can in fact step into the ring with a heavyweight, punch way above their weight class, and win that title belt!

This plays out most frequently with emerging tech companies that are disruptors to the conventional way of doing business and can be the leverage that strategy.  

To accomplish this, an excellent team of intelligent, forward-looking, motivated talent is needed to break new ground and make their mark in the industry and their careers. Often, the lack of experience and a “no fear” attitude of unknowns helps propel companies forward against all obstacles to achieve their goals. This does require a super trainer, coach, and mentor. 

We have many examples of this in our industry where Davids have taken on Goliaths and won battles. Along the way they have created new categories and classifications to compete in our security market. For those disruptors, I take my hat off. Punch hard and fight above your weight class!

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About the Author


Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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