It's back to business
Finally it's 2002. It's funny how we think that the turn of the year will result in a turn in life circumstances...but we do. And for our industry and our country, I hope that this is true. Last year we faced some pretty difficult times. Sales and manufacturing slowed down, the economy slumped, hundreds of thousands of people were laid off, the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon were attacked, and then the country and our industry stopped dead in its tracks and held its breath waiting to see what would be next.
I wish I had a crystal ball so I could tell all of us what the future will be. But the closest that I can come to a crystal ball is to look backwards. Security has had a solid history of sales and growth with spikes and downturns, just like all industries. The year 2001 was a little different because there was the outside influence of the terrorist attack.
But the way things stand right now we have a slow economy and manufacturing segment that's not likely to start going gang busters tomorrow. And we have adjusted our budgets and mind set to accept this now, right? I think we all came to expect that rapid growth would never end! The expectation that around every corner was another new and wonderful sales opportunity seemed to dominate our thinking. But slow and steady growth has been the norm of our industry. And there isn't any reason to think that this won't continue.
This is not the time to abandon all that we have known in search of new horizons within, or outside of, our existing sales community. This doesn't mean there isn't real value in blazing new trails either. It's smart business to add new security products to your suite of products and expand your market by reaching into new channels.
There is still crime. Perhaps it has decreased some and we can thank our industry for this. But it hasn't gone away. And it could increase if layoff's continue. Hopefully by the time you read this, Osama Bin Laden will pose no threat to our country or the world any longer. As I write this, he is still of parts unknown. But his demise does not insure that we have captured or eliminated all the hatred, insanity and desperate people in the world. They come in all shapes and forms now-a-days.
There still is the threat from the paranoid, the angry and the pitifully insane individuals out there, who are dedicated to their own personal mission of justice or revenge. The anthrax letters weren't sent by Bin Laden. School violence is real. Angry ex-employees return to their work places with violence in hand. People still go into areas where they don't belong to steal, cause destruction or create trouble.
We still need to protect our nuclear power plants, our water supply, chemical plants, and our food supplies from the angry and the insane. The threat of terrorism has hopefully diminished but the threat we saw from Osam Bin Laden should have been a wake up call to all of us...in security and throughout the country. Look at what one person was able to mastermind! Think of what can be done by a small group of rebels and try to protect against it.
Let's hope that the information that was captured on our security cameras may never be called upon by the national and international crime detection network again. Yet it still will be needed to determine who the culprits are in smaller scale events and if it's needed by the national network, it will be there if we've done what we need to do locally. Cameras can and do tell the facts, deter criminals and identify the perpetrators. They are a necessary part of today's world, just like access control is, perimeter security is... and all the other services we provide.
It is a new world now, a new year and we have a new agenda. It's time to get back to business. We have a job to do. There is no less threat today than yesterday, in fact there's more. But it's a safer world right now because of what we've learned and we can make it even safer still. And if your focus is on doing this, customers will buy and rely on your services.
It's not about making money. Money comes because we provide needed services to our customers.