Take Advantage of Starting Over

Security Sales & Integration

The Big Idea with Ron Davis
September, 2014

Take Advantage of Starting Over

Joel MatlinIf you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?

This month we feature industry veteran Joel Matlin, who recently launched a marketing and consulting firm, Matlin Creative.

If one door closes on you, go look for
a bigger and better opportunity.

Of you’re in a city where there is an AlarmForce operation, you probably know about Joel Matlin. If you live in Canada, you certainly know him. Up until last year, he was on radio, TV, almost any media promoting his company, AlarmForce. It became one of the great success stories in the alarm industry — on a smaller scale than Vivint, but almost as important.
Matlin and his company transformed direct marketing of alarm systems into an art form. By any standards it was successful, and until a falling out with the board of directors, Matlin was its founder, spokesman and biggest cheerleader. The company went public in Canada, and made a lot of money for its stockholders (full disclosure: I was one of them). Matlin and I have been friends since I don’t remember when, and I was surprised, amazed actually, when I found out he’d bee treminated from his company. Now, about a year later, I asked him, “I you had just one really great idea about how to deal with starting over, what would it be?” He answered immediately: “I’m looking for the next great opportunity, somthing bigger and better. I had a great run and don’t regret a thing.”
When I asked him how much time he had taken to deal with selft-pity and regrets, he said “about 30 minutes.” A short time later he set up a marketing and consulting business with his sone Adam, and from then on, I don’t think he looked back. Today with his noncompete behind him and the launching of Matlin Creative, he plans to help both regional and national companies learn the direct marketing techniques that he had created to build AlarmForce.
Whatever Matlin charges, it’ll most likely be worth it. He’s the only person I know of in the alarm industry who effectively used media to bring in cost-effective sales for alarm systems. But this column is about other great ideas. Since both Matlin and I have the experience of being fired from the companies we founded, I wondered if our reactions were similar and could an alarm dealer who sells his company, of fails in his company, or is forced out from his company benefit from our insights?
I’m happy to report, the answer is yes. As I have said repeatedly: the common denominator of success is doing the things that failures don’t like doing. One of those things, it seems, is having to start over. In fact, some seem to relish the opportunity. Their mantra is, “When one door closes, another, most assuredly, will open.”
Usually, some people are serial entrepreneurs. Matlin falls into that category — he has started three companies, and has been successful in all three. Now in his mid-60s, he’s looking for the next great opportunity, and knows it’s just around the corner. Matlin’s as competitive as a bulldog — he still plays hockey — and is a tireless worker. I have never seen him give up or fail. This is what psychologists call self-motivation, and what I call success motivation.
Some people are just motivated to be successful. Earl Nightengale, the motivational speaker and author, once said that “success is nothing more than the progressive realization of a worthwhile, predetermined idea.” For many people, once understood, that quote has been the difference between success and failure in life and business. I know it’s been the difference for Joel Matlin, and I hope it will bein your endeavors, too.

Ron DavisRon 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 International in the 1980s.