This blog appeared on Infologue.com February 2017
Brexit continues to dominate the news agenda. At the same time rising business costs are starting to be felt. But what does this mean to the security industry? David Ward of Ward Security takes a look at what should we be doing in times of uncertainty.
Regardless of whether you are in favour of, or against the UK leaving the EU, only a fool would write off the obvious threat that economic uncertainty poses to the security industry. The current atmosphere of Brexit uncertainty is compounded by increases to the costs of running a business.
It all adds up to an overall business environment whereby businesses large and small are understandably looking inwards at themselves to assess whether they are being run efficiently enough to counter increasing costs and to whether any significant downturn if it arrives.
One of the first thing businesses do when assessing their efficiency is to take a detailed look at their service suppliers. Some third-party supplied services, which are considered nice-to-have rather than need-to-have, may well be dispensed with as a precautionary measure. Some of these functions may be taken in house; their tasks spread amongst existing staff or departmental responsibilities.
Therein lies a danger, because it is sometimes too easy to dispense of things which ultimately are essential for the security, health and growth of the business. Managers need to resist the temptation of making the wrong decisions and exposing their business to risk or stifling growth. Remember, the times when the market is battening down the hatches is often the best time to steal market share.
Security is one area where businesses can put themselves at significant risk if they make the wrong decisions.
It’s a truism that security, like insurance, is never appreciated when it does what it should. Money spent ensuring your business is properly protected can feel like wasted money. But if you cut back on your security, or indeed your insurance, and then suffer a loss as a result, the regret can be overwhelming.
There are simply some things that you should not cut back on, and security is one of them. This becomes even more the case in times of economic downturn when crime rates rise.
However, as an industry we still need to appreciate how our customers might be thinking, and we need to do what we can to both reassure them and to offer value for money in the services we supply. Not only that, but we need to work with our customers to identify ways in which our service can be better integrated with their business to deliver efficiencies. For example, there may be great savings to be made if a single supplier looks after a site which hosts multiple businesses. When times are good many businesses on these sites will be happy to source their own security solutions, but when times are difficult it makes sense to pool resources.
We also need to appreciate the degree to which our industry and our individual businesses will feel the effects of uncertainty and rising business costs. So we have to get more efficient ourselves. We need to think about how we run our own businesses and how we structure ourselves.
Ultimately, while Brexit uncertainty and rising business costs are a challenge, they also represent an opportunity to make our own businesses leaner, meaner and healthier, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. When needs must, embrace to opportunity.