Alive and Well: The Spirit of the Entrepreneur

March 20, 2012
The entrepreneurial motivations behind the SD&I Fast50 security integrators

In all honesty, the power of the spirit cannot be measured fully. Is it part adrenalin, part adversity, part sheer drive? Perhaps it’s all of the above. But here we are, measuring the power of the entrepreneurial spirit in SD&I’s new groundbreaking ranking and best practices program called Fast50.

We had been discussing this program for several years. We wanted something to differentiate our publication from all others in the industry. We wanted to elevate our publication with something new and completely different, provide us some statistics unlike any others. We worked hard on the parameters, on soliciting entries, on inviting folks to enter the program, working through what has been one of the worst recessions in recent history. It’s been hard work, but why should be that any different from how the alarm dealers and systems integrators work hard every day to make a go of it? And we should take a cue from them and all they bring to the industry.

There’s no better place to be

Is this why the industry is so resilient? Is this why, as in the story Publisher Steve Lasky wrote about the Barnes Buchanan conference, the industry continues to attract top investors (see pages 78 and 79)? Surely it’s part of the reason—the people who make up this industry. They love it, they live and breathe it, some started small and grew large, others stayed small within reason to keep control and still excel within their means. They learned new disciplines and technologies, sometimes absorbing the costs of training themselves—all as a means to stay ahead of the competition, or learn new markets.

So why is the Fast50 different? Because the overall ranking equally balances revenue percentage growth and overall dollar revenue growth. We did this because it created a level playing field for all the entrants and did not favor the larger companies, although they too are represented here. Check out all the rankings and top 50 companies starting on page 50. Read about what they attribute to their growth. Learn from their lessons. Here, we focus on the spirit that resides within the industry and its owners.

Our concept is rock solid and quite interesting. We garnered the support of many in the industry, including ISC West, SIA and the California Alarm Association. We assembled a board of experts to help us in this endeavor and they never balked at the concept. We thank everyone who has helped us launch the 2012 SD&I Fast50 and embraced us every step of the way.

Overall, we have found that although many other industries have bombed during this long-winded economic downturn, many integration companies have grown! They have had more work on their books then they could sometimes handle. They are getting referrals left and right. They are building recurring monthly revenue and expanding into new products and systems solutions categories. They are focusing on core vertical markets and building the expertise of their teams so they can continue to grow.

I don’t want to make it sound like it’s been easy, because nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. Many have had to stay the course with their current personnel count and add technology to do the work. They have had to learn new ways of doing business, but that’s the spirit of the entrepreneur, alive and well and quite impressive in this industry.

Our Fast50-ranked companies span the spectrum. We have one-person companies up to those with hundreds. There are telecommunications companies and those who come from the electrical contracting side of the business. We have some who have only been in business for several years, flanked by those who have been in business for decades.

This issue is for the security industry entrepreneur and our Fast50. Please join us in congratulating these companies at ISC West on Wednesday, March 28 from 4:30 to 5:30 at the ISC West Special Events Stage, booth 14035. Manufacturers—take a look at these companies and help them every step of the way. They are the spirit of the industry—here in the pages of SD&I magazine.