Sustainable growth is the aim of all business. But what does sustainable growth actually mean with regards to suppliers of security services?
The traditional definition of sustainable growth is one where the business can manage its expansion – its growing staff numbers, its back office systems, its client portfolio, and its costs in such a way that, although the business is growing in size and revenue, it does not struggle to meet its internal or client-facing obligations. Maybe it’s easy enough to achieve and manage sustainable growth for businesses in other industries. But in the security industry we have a range of specific considerations that make sustainable growth more of a challenge.
The very nature of a rapidly evolving marketplace is a challenge in itself, and can often be akin to trying to hit a moving target. But it is in maintaining quality of service where the biggest challenge lays.
Never before has quality and professionalism been more important for the industry. The recent BBC undercover exposé (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-32008983) that revealed how licensed security guards could be working in the UK fraudulently after buying qualifications for cash is a harsh reminder to the industry that we can never afford to be complacent. We still have to prove ourselves at every level to reassure our client community, and indeed government, that we are serious about keeping our house in order.
As far as our client community is concerned, quality of service, professionalism and credibility is the absolute bottom line that can be summed up in one word – trust. They need to be able to trust us on these three key deliverables. Rare events like the BBC exposé can, at the very least, sow a seed of quiet doubt that we cannot allow to grow.
So the real challenge for suppliers of security services embarking on a programme of sustainable growth is to deliver that business growth while still being able to show and deliver to the client the same levels of service, professionalism and credibility they have come to expect. And make no mistake, it’s not an easy task.
And yet, growth and standards ultimately go hand in hand. If you can show a commitment to delivery of standards as you grow, that in itself can help to fuel growth, whereas a failure to deliver can certainly hamper any ambitions of growth.
In practice this means the ambitious security supplier needs to be even more conscientious about the internal systems they have in place, not only to ensure their business management systems are expandable, but crucially that staff performance is monitored, measured, and any potential weaknesses or risks are negated before they can have an impact on reputation.
At the end of the day, the best way to achieve this is to make sure that quality of service, professionalism and credibility are embedded within the very culture of the business. Sustainable growth cannot be achieved when these essentials are treated as an add-on. They need to form the very foundation upon which all systems throughout the business are built.