By Keith Oringer, President of Security ProAdvisors, LLC.
Growth is on the mind of every security guard company owner — but a being bigger company isn’t always being a better company. Smaller companies enjoy several advantages in the security guard industry, but they have to know how to leverage them. And when you do grow, you have to do it in a way that you don’t overextend your resources. “Everyone wants growth, but revenue growth for the sake of revenue growth is not good,” says Keith Oringer of Security ProAdvisors, especially if you want to be one of the best security companies in your market.
With that being said, let’s talk about the three advantages that smaller security companies enjoy, along with some tips on how to use them to out-maneuver your larger competitors.
Clients Want To Be More Than A Number
No matter your clients’ size, industry, or niche they want a personal touch with their service.
With larger security guard companies, when a client has a question or problem they often have to speak to a branch manager or regional manager — “an employee, not the owner,” he states. As a result, they may be dealing with someone who doesn’t necessarily feel invested in the work. “For larger companies, your company is only as good as the manager who picks up the phone.”
As the owner of a smaller company, being directly accessible by your clients may feel too distracting at times, but it’s still an advantage. “Your customers want to have access to the business owner,” Oringer says. “They want to be able to pick up the phone and know that the person that they are talking to is vested in the company and its service.”
TIP 1: As you grow, continue to dedicate some of your time to providing the personal touch clients crave.
The Best Security Companies Are More Nimble
Think of how your organization reacts to a client demand, question, or problem — chances are you jump into action pretty quickly.
Smaller companies have fewer layers, so when a customer service request comes in, it goes right to the people who can solve it. At larger companies those issues can often get bogged down in different levels — or even get lost.
When you grow, keep an eye on the processes you use to serve your customers, Oringer recommends. If you add technology, ensure it fits the way you work; if you add employees, empower them to get things done, or keep the lines clear to those who can.
TIP 2: The best security companies always make sure that growth leads to better service and not bloat.
Fast Growth Can Lead To A Bust
When it’s time to grow, it is important to do it carefully, Oringer cautions. For example, you may be tempted to try to underbid to gain clients, but that could strangle your business down the road. When you want to add clients, be sure you can answer these three questions:
- What will my cash flow look like? “In this business, you have to fund payroll every week,” Oringer says. “When you add a client and start work, you could be funding payroll for four weeks before they pay you. That’s a challenge.”
- What is my liability? High-risk accounts may pay more, but they’re high-risk for a reason: You may have to add services like armed guards. This could stretch your resources too thin.
- What is my profit? “You’ve got to balance your margins,” Oringer advises. As you serve more clients, don’t let cost creep eat away at the money you need to keep growing. Revisit your pricing structure periodically to ensure you’re covering everything — including your profit margin.
In addition to regularly answering the three questions above, Oringer recommends having the right technology in place for scheduling, reporting, payroll, and other processes to keep tabs on your business. That way when it’s time to grow, you’re ready, and all of these factors will help determine the value of your company.
TIP 3: All business isn’t good business, so balance your growth with consistent delivery of services.
Keith Oringer is president of Security ProAdvisors, LLC. Keith’s 25-year industry career includes extensive experience in the acquisition of companies and valuation. As the third employee of a national company Keith was instrumental in building it over a 20-year period to a billion dollar plus firm with 46,000 employees. Keith served in key operational roles, including president of a $100 million business unit. He also holds both a CPA and MBA in finance.
To discuss your strategy and learn how your company can capitalize on the opportunities discussed in this article, call Keith at 908-470-0027 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit www.SecurityProAdvisors.com for more information.