The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Do You Want Your Kid in Your Alarm Business?
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month we feature Ken Kirschenbaum, an SSI Industry Hall of Famer, a recognized counsel to the alarm industry for 45 years and principal of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, P.C. (kirschenbaumesq.com). The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of SSI or Davis Mergers & Acquisitions Group, and not intended as legal advice.
Kirschenbaum's BIG IDEA:
“First generation wears jeans and has pulled wire; second generation wears a sports jacket and never installed a system; third generation wears a suit and doesn’t know how to install a system.”
MOST OF YOU fall into one of the following
- You’re planning on getting married and building an alarm business
- You’re wondering what it’s going to cost to raise your kids
- You’re wondering what your kids should do for a living
- You’re trying to remember the names of all your grandkids, never mind their birthdays.
Where has all the time gone? It goes by and the older you get the faster it goes by. Just like every other parent, you wonder if your kid(s) should follow your footsteps into your business
or industry. Why not? It’s been good to you and it’s getting better. But there’s all that hard work, risky maneuvers, slow times and good times, and changing technologies. Will there be a need for your services in the future? Are there better options for your kid?
The grass is greener on the other side of the fence. You really need to have owned and cared for horses to appreciate that. My horses leaned on that fence and all they wanted to do is get to the other side.
I don’t think any of my friends think that their business or profession is the right move for their offspring. Doctors say, anything but medicine; lawyers, better in finance; finance, better in law or medicine; manufacturing, better in retail; retail, better in manufacturing; and so it goes. “Anything is better than what I’ve had to do and my business is too risky for the future,” they opine.
Of course, not everyone thinks like that. Just look around at the second and third generations in the alarm industry. Heck, look no further than myself. I’m on the second of now three generations in the legal profession. Can I hold out for my grandkids?
Here’s how I described the alarm industry a long time ago, as I believe it’s still sound reasoning: For the alarm industry, first generation wears jeans and has pulled wire; second generation wears a sports jacket and never installed a
system; third generation wears a suit and doesn’t know how to install an alarm system. The apparel is a metaphor. We could also equate it with the car each generation drives or the house each generation lives in. It’s always better.
The alarm industry is an exciting business.
Technology keeps it moving forward. Of course, it requires you to continue training and educating yourself, but by now you should
know that. There’s a lot more to this industry than dragging a wire around the perimeter of a building and connecting a few contacts tied into a panel. And for the public, the changes
in the industry are perplexing. ey include 2G, 3G, 5G cellular communications; digital and network technologies; Z-Wave and Zigbee wireless; and more.
Just yesterday, an alarm tech scoping out my
house for what I call smart outlets and light
switches, used yet another term. I had stopped
listening — I just want the damn lights to go on
and o when I set them!
You and your kids can make a great living in the “alarm business,” which as you know includes much more than alarms. You can still get rich in this business. You can send your kid to law school, medical school, business school, have them come out with a JD, MD, MBA — and guess what? They still end up in your alarm business! You may not recognize the company five years after they arrive, but you started it.
I hope you love your business; I hope you’re
great at it; I hope you make lots of money and
live well; and I hope you have a happy and