As I look back on my time as a security guard company owner, which I find myself doing frequently, I am in total awe of the knowledge and experience that I gained during those years. In fact, I could probably write an encyclopedia about all the lessons I learned (I’ve actually written 2 ebooks on security guard company Operations & Sales). But there are 3 lessons, in particular, that taught me principles that I still apply almost every day.
1. In Business, Everything Is Temporary
First, think about all of the hard times and difficult situations you’ve been in and made it through. Now think about all of the triumphs that you’ve had in your career. Those, like the hard times, also come and go. Your career — your life is full of ups, downs, failures, twists, and turns. Through it all, you have to realize that none of them are permanent. Because each situation is temporary, learn to appreciate them all. From each circumstance, try to learn at least one lesson. It is the accrual of those lessons that will make you a better person, leader, and security practitioner.
2. Security Guard Company Owners Have To Know There’s An Answer
Someone recently asked me, “What was the most important lesson that I learned managing a security guard company?” My answer was “I learned how to solve problems.” I can remember dozens of challenges that we encountered in our early years. Many of those problems revolved around the company’s financial position. There were many nights that I laid awake wondering how we were going to survive. But rather than giving in and giving up, I found myself getting REALLY creative with solutions.
For example, like many security guard companies, we were experiencing cash flow problems at one point. As a solution, we developed S.C.R.A.M. The idea for S.C.R.A.M. came about after talking with numerous builders in Chicago who were interested in securing their properties, but couldn’t pay for security officers. Based on those needs, we developed a security solution that fit within their budgets and provided us with a high margin service that was paid every 30-days.
The ability to see through problems and come up with out of the box solutions was, and will always be, an invaluable skill when you’re running a security guard company.
3. Realize That Perception Is Reality
Laughingly, I can recall instances of arguing with employees, as well as customers, that what they perceived about some topic was incorrect. It took some time to realize, but I learned that arguing with someone about their beliefs often proved fruitless. That is because in many cases, people’s perceptions are not always based on fact. When dealing with people’s perceptions, there can also be an emotional component to their beliefs.
For example, we had a property manager whose perception was that our officers were hiding out on the property because she wasn’t seeing them very often. When she complained to me about their lack of visibility, I recounted to her what she’d told me at one of our very first meetings. She shared with me that she’d had a bad experience with the previous security company that left her wary of security officers. The security company that we replaced had an officer that sat in the office most of the day doing very little security-related work. So, once we began providing security at the property, our instructions to our officers were to only go into the office for breaks between patrols. Once I was able to explain why she wasn’t seeing the officers, it changed her perception and she ended up becoming a GREAT customer. In fact, if I recall correctly, she even thought I was the bad guy for having the officers patrolling so much…go figure.
I walked away from being a security guard company owner with a breadth of knowledge and experience that would have been impossible to acquire working a “normal” job or even attending business school. In fact, I had a friend who’d completed an MBA from the University of Chicago who once told me “You don’t need an MBA, you’re already learning everything that the professors were teaching in class”.
I hope you’ve enjoyed, or maybe even learned something from me sharing 3 of the most important lessons I learned as a security guard company owner. If so, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned as security guard company owner or manager? Please share that lesson in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.
By Courtney Sparkman
OfficerReports.com is a software company that provides security guard companies with an easy way to monitor their officers, better manage their operations, and win new business. Take a tour of our software to see how we combine Electronic Reporting, Real-Time GPS based Tour Tracking, and GPS based Clock In and Out into one easy to use platform.