The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Develop Your Own Advisory Board
When I retired from Security Associates Int’l (SAI) as its founder and CEO, I formed a company called GraybeardsRus.
It was designed to provide an advisory board experience for small- to medium-size alarm companies that didn’t have an outside board of directors. It seems as though so many companies in this industry are seeking help; they need it, but they have a difficult time finding it.
This advisory board was to meet with alarm dealers once or twice a year, look at the company’s business plan and open it up for review, critique and, most importantly, support and help. I soon had attracted many of the top thinkers in the industry. I never intended for the company to be a financial disaster, which, of course, it was.
However, the idea and plan remained in the minds of many people. While that program no longer exists, the concept behind it exists and it took shape in the words Gunning has shared.
Become Active In Associations
Perhaps it’s not as important to have knowledgeable and experienced professionals meeting with you, but rather, knowledgeable and experienced contemporaries meeting with you. These would be people who have experienced the real day-to-day challenge of managing a sales force, running an installation crew or managing a security/alarm business.
Why not seek out and enlist the assistance of a noncompeting group of people who can constitute an advisory board to your company? If you meet only two times a year, it will force you and your board to concentrate on the core issues, the questions that you have and the answers that are needed.
Where do you meet people for an advisory board? Simply become active in trade associations and become knowledgeable about who the leaders are in those organizations.
A prime example of this is the NBFAA’s new incoming president, Mike Miller, who is president of Moon Security in Pasco, Wash. Miller has been an active and aggressive participant in association activities. He’s made a lot of friends along the way and has learned a great deal on how to run a successful business. I would venture to say he could name several dozen people who could constitute an advisory board (even though you only want four or five).
I’m fairly sure that both Gunning and Miller would agree that their businesses have grown substantially as a result of the knowledge gained from their activities in both local and national organizations.
Do the same and join a state, regional or national association, and start attending the meetings. Along the way, you will start to meet people who can help you grow your business. Tell them you’re considering putting together an advisory board.
The really creative managers will give you a knowing smile and let you know that this is one of the real secrets of their success.
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 Int’l in the 1980s.