The Way of the Graybeard!
The Seven Disciplines of a Well-Managed, Profitable Alarm Company
In a nano-second — the blink of an eye — the time for a ripple to start after the first raindrop. That’s how long it seems since I went from being a young Turk to, well, there’s no other way to put it — a Graybeard! There, I’ve said it, Graybeard, and for some, it may connote an aging, gray bearded old man, but the real message that we are trying to communicate with THE GRAYBEARD PROGRAM (newly adopted by CSAA), is the fact that there is an accumulated wisdom that some of us who have been around for a long time have achieved, and collectively, that wisdom constitutes not just a book on how to run an alarm business, but many of the insights and ideas necessary to not just run a business, but rather, build a successful company! A group of us have come together to share our
knowledge and information. We call ourselves The Graybeards, but some of us are younger than others — and few have no gray beards at all, and one of them is actually a rather young woman! All of this is to say that the The Graybeard Way is nothing more than a state of mind that bespeaks of knowledge and wisdom as applied to this industry.
So, here briefly are some disciplines for you to think about and ask yourself if you and your company participate in the excellence that is yours to be found in The Way of the Graybeard:
- The Discipline of Marketing (including Sales)
This discipline forces business owners to not just look at the entire selling and marketing process, but
also, the process of bringing in profitable sales that contribute to the bottom line. Often separated, marketing and sales in managing a small business all come under the same general heading: It’s the process of every element that leads to the successful conclusion of a profitable sale!
- The Dscipline of Finance (which includes accounting)
This discipline forces the entrepreneur to repeatedly look at, and be held accountable for the successful business operations of the company, from a financial perspective. It includes the reading and evaluation of financial statements on a regular basis, the financial planning process and the ability to adhere to a financial plan that has been thought out and agreed upon by senior management.
- The Operations Discipline (includes installations, service and warranties)
Operations, frequently referred to as the “backend” of a small business, should more importantly be viewed as the “heart” of the business. Without it, functioning smoothly and regularly, the business cannot and will not survive. This discipline includes all of the elements of running a separate service and installation department, providing for a preventive maintenance program and addressing bottom line profitability from those departments
- The CEO Discipline
This discipline forces the owner/president/general manager to constantly be evaluating his business plan against projected results, while still having the flexibility to immediately shift when circumstances or opportunities change.
- The Educational, Research, and Development Disciplines
Yes, this too is a discipline of even the smallest companies, since once recognized, it allows for — even demands — that everybody, at every level, continue the educational process. At the beginning of each year, an amount of money is set aside for “research and development” which may include evaluation of new products, new systems, installation and servicing techniques, among others. An educational library is absolutely essential. Operations and employee manuals are certainly an element of it. Of greater importance, is the commitment to excellence that this discipline insists upon.
- The Business Plan and Business Planning Discipline
Once adopted, this discipline forces individuals at all levels to not only contribute and participate in the business planning process, but are held accountable for the execution of a successful business plan. This process includes recognition programs, incentive bonuses, meetings, planning sessions, and management’s recognition of the entire process.
- The Discipline Discipline
Yes, that’s right, it’s the discipline that forces you to maintain the disciplines of a business. It’s always easier to think of reasons why not to do something than to do it. It’s always easier to look for excuses that will allow you to deviate from the core disciplines of running a business, and once you do, all of the disciplines are affected equally.