The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Don't Undervalue Two Key Resources: Knowledge and Passion
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month's BIg Idea comes from Bill Doherty (right) and Reuben Orr, President and Vice President, respectively, of Security Install Solutions.
BILL DOHERTY'S BIG IDEA:
Do not discout what you know because it's easy for you; what you know has real value.
REUBEN ORR'S BIG IDEA:
Figure out what you love to do, what are passionate about, and then go do it!
T'S PRETTY EASY to like Reuben Orr and Bill Doherty. They are young and full of pep, and are the co-owners of Denver-based Security Install Solutions (SIS), a full-service integrator that launched in 2008. It's easy to see why customers would like them. They are also the firm's leadership tandem. And, yes, they are making money and doing quite well. They also seem to get along really well, and that's why I selected the pair for this month's column.
LEARN WHICH NICHE SUITS YOUR COMPANY
Doherty serves as SIS' president adn general manager; Orr is the vice president and sales manager. While they were sitting at the desk shown in the photo, above, I posed the same question to each regarding their "great idea to share with the industry" and told them to write their answer on a s piece of paper. I wanted to compare their thinking, to see if I could gain insight as to why they were so successful. "Do not discount what you know because it's easy for you; what you know has real value," Doherty wrote. Orr's response: "Figure out what you love to do, what you are passionate about, and then go do it!"
It took me several weeks to think through what I wanted to say about the partners' thoughts. Since this is SSI"s ISC West show issue, I started thinking about how their perspectives could apply to perusing the myriad displays and booths at a typical ISC show. As you are walking the show floor, know what you know and seek advice on what you don't know. Then look at the products, and keep in mind what you are passionate about. This is probably going to be the biggest ISC exhibit ever. And if my estimation is correct, we will look back at this period as being pivotal in the direction of the industry.
For those of you entrenched in the residential sector, big decisions are looming. Not just products and product decisions, but also what going forward in the residential realm means. Traditional security providers are in competition with cable and telephone companies, do-it-yourself marketers, etc., vying for customers at what is seemingly the lowest dollar amount. A good friend, and someone I trust who also runs a fairly large operating company, recently said to me, "It's getting more and more difficult to earn decent margins on residential sales. In fact, we are moving out of that sector, and focusing our attention 100% on the commercial sector."
The owners of SIS made that decision many years ago whey they started. They were going to be commercial integrators, which seemed to provide not only the best margins for their company but, going back to their quotes, the best environment for potential success. Doing "what you know has real value" and figuring out "what you are passionate about" seem to be pretty good guidelines for operating a business, and if SIS' success is any indication that end users in markets they serve agree. In a short time the firm has established itself as a leading provider of solutions and services in four main areas: commercial, government, national industrial and health care.
ALWAYS HAVE YOUR BUSINESS PARTNER'S BACK
i suppose another conclusion could be drawn from talking to Doherty and Orr. If you're going to have a business partner, make sure it is someone whose philosophy of life is one that you could agree with. This industry is tough enough without having to constantly debate — or argue — the justification of certain business decisions. These guys operate with a singular purpose, and I suspect they more than likely could finish each other's sentences. DId I mention that they also have each others' backs? That was fully apparent in the conversations we had, during which both Doherty and Orr made sure it was understood that they were in complete agreement as to operating statements.
I don't know how much press recognition SIS has garnered, but the firm that Doherty and Orr have built should be considered a model for partner-driven businesses in the security industry. Not only do these company leaders have their act together, they also have a long-range plan that helps guide them through their day-to-day activities. And they don't have to waste a lot of time wondering what the other thinks, because they likely already know. Picture a successful entrepreneur times two, and you've got SIS.
Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International in the 1980s.