Employing Rockefeller Habits to Combat Challenges in the Security Industry
I founded my security systems business in 2010, and I began working with individuals and businesses, as well as schools and corporate campuses, to keep people and property safe from loss or harm. After successfully taking the company through acquisitions and organic growth, I wanted to take the business to the next level. As it happened, I had recently installed a security system in the home of a business coach, Andy Bailey of Petra Coach, whom I had heard of through the Nashville chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).
After talking through some of my company’s challenges and the challenges of the security industry as a whole, I decided it was time to take the next step. I commissioned him to help me start intentionally incorporating the Rockefeller Habits into my company to define our core values and core purpose, improve our culture and grow the business. Working on campuses has always kept education and growth top-of-mind for me and my team, but coaching helped us see that we not only needed to put our focus on industry challenges, but also the challenges within our own walls.
Here are four lessons that helped my company and could apply to the security industry as a whole:
Look Ahead to Stay Ahead
Entrepreneurs can be a little scattered, and I’m no exception. It’s easy to get caught up in the details of running the business, while losing sight of the bigger picture and the processes that could help grow the company more quickly and efficiently. I had done goal-setting in the past, but had never looked forward four to five years. In this industry, a lot can change in that period of time – technologies become more sophisticated, new competitors and security threats arise and even laws change – so businesses in the security space need to keep looking ahead in order to stay ahead.
It’s also a challenge to set, commit to and reach quarterly and annual goals. Thinking big can be intimidating. However, I now realize that it’s okay for business leaders to be unsure of exactly where a company is going, as long as they take time every once in a while to think through next steps for the business and realign their own goals with the company’s goals.
Focus on Attracting and rRetaining A-players
A major challenge in the security industry is finding and recruiting skilled field techs because the role can be cumbersome and time-consuming. With Millennials making up 50 percent of the workforce in 2018, you need to be creative to make every position an appealing career path, rather than simply a run-of-the-mill “job.”
Offering a more attractive suite of benefits is one way to differentiate yourself from the competition. It’s more expensive, but well worth the return in the quality of candidates attracted, as well as in employee retention. With so many emerging technologies cropping up in the industry every day, it’s also important to be sure that your team members have the opportunity to learn about those technologies and be trained in using them as part of their professional growth (a critical factor in retaining employees). Having a strong training program is also important because you’ll be able to recruit more candidates and bring them to the skill level you are looking for in a field tech or any other skilled position.
Additionally, in an industry where people are used to a lot of overtime, set an hour limit on the work week, such as 45 hours, to automatically build in a work-life balance for all employees. Encourage employees to take vacations rather than payouts. If they don’t have time to recharge, their time with your company will be limited, and you can’t grow a company when the turnover rate is high.
I previously worked in door-to-door sales, and I know what it takes to give balance to a rigorous schedule. Reward employees through social activities like cookouts and breakfasts, as well as appreciation programs and ticket giveaways. When company culture is intentional and consistent, it will make all the difference.
The bottom line is: Culture is key to avoid turnover.
Don’t Fear “The Dip”
A lot of factors go into growth and success, and sometimes you have to take risks, such as acquiring another company or investing in a new security technology. But when you’re investing, there can be increases as well as dips. Remember that this is a normal part of growth, and a healthy balance of both won’t hinder your success, as long as the business is adapting along with industry trends and new technologies.
Also, make sure you are staying on top of your profit structure. Customers being as price-sensitive as they are now and competition becoming fiercer, dropping your prices may seem like the only option. Not true. You may be tempted to increase your sales and marketing efforts and even offer deals, sales and giveaways to make your product more enticing. Not necessary. Instead, focus on attracting clients that are willing to spend more for a high-quality product backed by the services you can provide. That will keep your profit margin more stable and ensure that your customers value your services and are willing to compensate you for them.
Measure Your Success
In our business, it’s sometimes hard to quantify whether you’ve had a “good day” or not. Have you sold enough? Is your client happy with the system you just installed? Using the Rockefeller Habits and key performance indicators (KPIs) has allowed us to set goals and take steps every day towards those goals. As the the Habits demonstrate, small changes can yield big results over the long term, and tracking those results has allowed each of our team members to see how he or she is progressing and succeeding.
We use a platform to track our determined priorities and quickly see our progress. Not only has it helped us stay motivated and drive the company forward toward newer and bigger goals, but also it has been extremely helpful in making employees’ achievements tangible to them. In a service industry like ours, you often deal with upset customers and are put in difficult situations, which can make you feel like you are just hitting roadblocks and getting nowhere. But using KPIs and stats has been a powerful way to demonstrate success, even on the most challenging of days.
It’s about not just telling but showing your success. Having tangible metrics is helpful not only to show your employees that they are on track, but also to show your investors that you are working toward specific goals and going above and beyond to drive the business forward. The proof is in the numbers, after all.
In an ever-changing industry, it’s easy to get bogged-down by the challenges that come your way. However, what has helped my business most is taking the time to look at the big picture, figure out where the roadblocks are – in the industry and in the business itself – and how to overcome them. Whether you enlist a business coach or tackle the changes on your own, these lessons can help your company get better, and in turn, keep everyone a little safer.
Aaron Whitaker is the founder and CEO of Preventia Security.
Posted on Jan 04, 2019