Partnership is the new industry approach

Friday, April 1, 2005

The maturing of the marketplace requires that business leaders look at their skill sets and define where their greatest strengths are, as well as their weaknesses. Everyone knows that no one is perfect, although many of us try hard to be. As security installations become more complicated and technical, knowing what you do best will help to insure that you’re bringing your customers the best quality of services and minimizing problems between you and them.

If you need a skill set that you don’t have in-house, you can either hire someone to fill this role or you can partner with someone outside of your organization. When looking for partners, you want someone who is qualified, respected and can be trusted, of course. If you’re at a loss as to where to find them, ask your customers who they use and see if they have someone they’re using that you can trust. The resources they are using may be the perfect partner for you.

For instance, if you’re installing a security system in a company and they want it networked, but you don’t network systems, then ask them who they use for IT and networking support! You just might be surprised by what you find in place already.

There’s been much ado in the last couple years about national integrators wanting to subcontract with regional companies. There have been concerns raised that this might be the demise of the middle-market providers. It’s a fabulous opportunity to expand your business, increase your skill set and reach, while insuring yourself a healthy profit through good contacts and partnerships.

Partnering is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. It just doesn’t seem to be something we hear a lot about in our industry.

Here’s what Encarta says about it, in regards to businesses anyway. Part·ner n. somebody who takes part in an activity or undertaking with somebody else, who shares both the financial risks and the profits. The operative words here are shares risks and profits.

We here at Security Systems News have partnerships that we’ve forged in order to meet the best interests of this industry. We have two significant partnerships and a variety of smaller partnership arrangements. The two significant partnerships that we’ve forged we did because we had more to offer the community together than we did separately.

One partnership is with Les Gold, a lawyer with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, and John Mack from USBX Advisory Services, a brokerage and financial advisor to the industry, for the Security Growth Conference, now headed into its fourth year. This partnership is designed to bring the financial community face-to-face with middle market vendors and service providers who are looking for capital for growth opportunities. It’s an excellent partnership that brings benefits to all who participate, including many of the largest vendors in the market.

The other is with VerticalXchange to bring executive management from systems integration companies together with executive managers from the vendor community, so they can meet privately behind closed doors to discuss mutually beneficial business opportunities for expansion. We have the reach. VerticalXchange had the idea and the operations to get it done. Of course, vendors want integrators to sell their products and integrators must have products to sell and install.

But even here in the sales process you cannot get away from the partnership idea. Attendees of this event are not sales reps and purchasing agents, but the executive management on both sides of the fence. Why? Because integrators are not looking for just product. They’re looking for companies they can partner with.

It’s not as simple as product feature and function alone. At SecurityXchange, the product that’s provided through the partnership between Security Systems News and VerticalXchange is exactly what the attendees get. Why even some of the integrators who attend have formed partnerships amongst themselves that allow them to expand their reach or their offerings by working together. I bet many vendors have formed partnerships, as well!