What’s The Best Approach To Growth?

What is the best way to acquire new business? That’s a question every business must answer. Often executives look to advertising or mergers and acquisitions for the answer, but here is a novel idea.

Instead of focusing on shortcuts, focus on service delivery. Take an honest look at what the competition is doing. Identify the major pain points and solve them.

This is the approach we have been using and it’s been working great! Now we don’t have to go out and fight to get through the door because we let our reputation do the work for us.

This month alone, we are adding three large, luxury communities to our portfolio. Our approach has allowed us to exponentially grow the number of accounts we service.

  • Action Property Management: In less than 2 years, we have added several Action Property Management communities to our portfolio including 2 this month! Oceanaire which overlooks the beautiful Santa Monica coast & Vero HOA in Los Angeles.
  • Seabreeze Management Company: In 4 years we have gone from providing security for just 1 community to several, including their most prestigious community which is the Marina City Club.
  • First Services Residential: In 1 ½ years, we have added 4 major properties with First Services Residential. We are beginning a new contract on our 5th property, Oak Valley Tournament in Beaumont on April 1st.

A common scenario that facilitates growth

This is a common scenario that we have seen as a result of our approach to market growth. A property manager becomes dissatisfied with their security provider and starts asking colleagues who they are using for security. When one of the general managers, we partner with, is asked, we get a glowing review from a trusted source.

By focusing on our service delivery, we don’t have to go around telling general managers how great we are. That’s what everyone else is doing, and believe me, they have heard it all before.

Our credibility is much stronger when they hear our praises from another property manager who works for the same company.

Growth comes by focusing on the right thing

The companies listed above, are just a few of the property management companies we have grown with. Our approach does not work as quickly as going out and buying up another company to acquire its portfolio of business. However, it’s more stable because companies that buy out other companies, buy their problems as well.

Shuffling clients around from one company to another is not the answer. If a company focuses on mergers and acquisitions rather than service delivery, they usually deliver mediocre service at best.

Often, they try to increase profits by cutting expenses. That means reducing managerial support which is a huge mistake in my opinion. When managers are overwhelmed, they can’t respond to the needs of the property managers they service.

Honestly, no company operates flawlessly, especially in the security industry because people are imperfect. Things happen, but when problems arise, clients deserve to have issues addressed promptly.

By focusing on our service delivery, we have developed an approach that is a win for everyone involved.

  • Tenants and property managers win because they get high-quality service that exceeds their expectations.
  • The property management company wins because we cater our services to meet their specific needs and win them praise from the HOA.
  • The HOA wins because they have fewer problems to deal with and get a reliable security program backed by a company that is responsive to their needs.
  • We win because we can focus on our officers and maintaining a stellar reputation. We don’t have to spend much on marketing, but whatever we do for marketing is powerful because it is backed by our service delivery.

This approach can help any company to grow. It requires diligence and hard work, but it’s worth it. Plus, it’s the right thing to do. In a world where so many people are looking for a shortcut or quick fix, a company can stand out by delivering high-quality service. That’s a real competitive advantage and it’s what our clients deserve.

Why Is Teamwork Required To Keep Tenants Safe?

Many people don’t realize the amount of work that goes into providing a safe, pleasant environment for tenants and guests. When you think about all that is involved to create a positive experience day-in and day-out, it is easy to see why teamwork is required.

A common scenario that can be taken for granted

A visitor drives up to a beautiful high-rise building. She is greeted by a parking attendant and safely parks her car in the parking lot. As she leaves, she doesn’t even notice the cameras or think about the people behind the monitors who are looking out for her safety and watching over her vehicle.

She walks out of the parking area into a manicured courtyard and toward the entrance. As she approaches, clean, shiny glass doors automatically slide open. Then she enters the building and walks across polished marble floors to the front desk. At the desk she is greeted by a friendly security concierge who kindly determines the reason for her visit. Next, the security concierge makes a call to inform the tenant that he has a visitor. After obtaining permission, the security concierge smiles and provides the visitor with any needed direction.

Next the visitor enters an elevator with a stranger. The door shuts locking her into a small confined space with a man she has never met before. Still, she feels safe. She is not worried about the person who is in the elevator with her because she knows the building is safe. This allows her to concentrate on her upcoming meeting with the tenant.

When she arrives at her meeting, the tenant is able to welcome the guest who is in a positive mind frame and happy to be there. After a productive meeting, she is able to exit the building and return to her car without incident and drives off the property without worry.

This is a common scenario that occurs thousands of times within a large upscale community. For those who live in these communities or work in these buildings, this scenario plays out so frequently that it is easy to take for granted.

What happens behind the scenes

Property managers do an outstanding job ensuring all the needed moving parts work together cohesively and for the good of the community. Vendors also play a vital role in the overall experience.

The security team and security plan for the community are especially crucial. Security personnel has daily interactions with tenants and guests. It is our responsibility to watch out for them. However, there are behaviors that can place the safety of a community in jeopardy.

Dangers can occur when the board, property management, and the security company do not function properly as a team. A cooperative and coordinated effort on the part of all three parties is required to ensure the wellbeing of the community.

Teamwork is vital to success

This may be surprising to some because they tend to view security as a stand alone function that is plugged into the overall operations of a building. Do you know why this thinking is flawed? Think back to our opening scenario and consider these 2 reasons.

  1. The security program is an integrated part of the visitor’s experience. Security is involved from the moment they approach the parking area, and security remains involved until a person leaves the property.
  2. Security personnel are fundamental to the effectiveness of the security program, so the success of a security program is dependent on the retention and development of security officers.

Protecting the integrity of the security team protects the community

When the integrity of the security officers and the security company are compromised then it is ultimately the community that suffers.

Security officers perform a very valuable service and should be respected and appreciated. Arrogance and a demeaning attitude toward the officers we count on is truly self-destructive, and can put a security program in jeopardy. When guards don’t feel good about the job they are doing it creates the following issues:

  • Officers often request transfers and are harder to retain.
  • High guard turnover hinders officer training and development.
  • Low morale among officers can result in poor service and compromise their effectiveness.

However, when management, the board of directors and the security company all work together as a team, policies can be implemented and issues can be addressed to protect the community.

In the end everyone will benefit. Officers will be happier, stay longer and will perform better. A positive environment will enhance the overall community. Management will have fewer problems and the entire community will be safer.

So You Need CCTV, Huh?

cctv what building managers should know

Selecting the right CCTV system for your building can be tricky. Building managers often don’t realize the complicated back-end required to run the ecosystem for these cameras. As an end-user of CCTV cameras, there are a ton of issues that can crop up when you are trying to set up or manage a system.

Understand The Challenges

The biggest issue with CCTV systems is the lack of standardization. This affects every part of the process, because you can’t manage or set all your cameras up in the exact same way. Efforts have been taken to improve this fragmentation within the industry, but there is still a lot left to be done.

This often makes the task of selecting the right system difficult because a lack of standardization in product design and specifications make side-by-side product comparison ineffective.

Another challenge is, it becomes difficult to buy the exact same camera if you are outfitting different sites at different times, and the compatibility issues that may pop up are expensive, to say the least.

Planning Is Essential

It’s important to plan way ahead of time for whatever equipment you may need at any of your facilities. Very little flexibility is allowed in these cases. Even the most knowledgeable CCTV project managers will struggle to keep up.

One of your first considerations when planning the implementation of your new CCTV system is the bandwidth. Your IT department will have to get involved and help you figure out how much bandwidth will be required and whether they can provide it. Even with modern compression methods, bandwidth consumption will be significant.

There are a few secondary factors that contribute to this consideration, such as how good your images need to be. The number of frames per second will determine your overall bandwidth usage, so you should consult your team to figure out what is actually necessary. In addition, figure out how long you’ll need to store your video. There are different regulatory requirements for different uses, so this should be kept in mind.

The Bidding Process

The next step is to solicit bids for you project. Be sure to give your bidders as much information as possible. If you are in pre-construction, provide blueprints and any other materials that would help determine your CCTV needs. Otherwise, offer walkthroughs and make sure the professionals with technical knowledge of the building are available for questions and comments throughout the process.

Because of the complex business models that form the CCTV industry, it is important to have your needs outlined ahead of time and then do your research on the individual bids, since they won’t be easy to compare.

Get Help

Getting an independent and objective look from a fresh set of eyes can help tremendously. At GSI we have consulted with many of our clients to help them get the CCTV system that best meets their specific needs.

Some think we should provide a branded solution, but we don’t. The reason is simply because we want to maintain the flexibility to evaluate options that are in the best interest of our clients. This allows us to remain unbiased and objective when making recommendations.

If you are in need of a CCTV system, we would be happy to help you through the process. Feel free to reach out to us. We’re always happy to help out our readers in whatever ways we can.

What Can Property Managers Do To Prevent Terrorism?

After 9/11, all of America became significantly more vigilant overnight. Border and airport security increased, and we saw law enforcement get a lot more power in the name of preventing terrorism. The unexpected consequence of this is the decentralization of terror cells and the possibility of more “lone wolves”.

These solo operators are more random in their attacks, and this creates a possibility of anywhere being a potential target for terrorists. There are also “home-grown” threats like we saw in the recent tragic shootings in Las Vegas and just this week in Texas.

Because of this, property managers should find ways to up their security and be more vigilant in case of a threat manifesting in their building. Vigilance is about preparing for the worst and putting systems in place that make it much harder for someone to gain access to the property for nefarious purposes. The result is a much safer tenant-base even if it feels like a lot of work right now.

Whether residential or commercial, there is always the possibility that a property become a target for attack. Knowing this, there are several things that can be done to minimize these chances.

Surveillance Cameras: If your building doesn’t already have these, you should definitely get them. Cameras make your building feel much more secure, and will often dissuade anyone from coming too close. The feeling that someone is watching them and their plans could be foiled right away is usually enough to scare someone off.

Invest in Better Security: Related to the previous point, you should examine your budget and see if there is any many available for rerouting towards the cause of tighter security. The intercom system, surveillance system, communications system, and much more are all helpful in the case of an emergency. Other measures, such as having Bollards (cylindrical roadblocks) or keycard only access, will make it much harder for an unwanted guest to enter your building.

Stress Test: Pretend you are a potential terrorist or intruder and think about how you would try and circumvent current security measures to get into your building. This is called “red teaming” as you test for problems with your security and look for security holes that would be easy to get through.

Review Security Procedures: How does someone get into your building? Is it policy to let strangers in? Examine your protocols and see if it would be easy to socially manipulate one’s way inside your building. If this is true, then you should change the processes and incentives so no one will let random people into your building without accepting responsibility for them.

Increase the Power of the Individual: Tell your tenants to let you know of any concerns and make it clear you are going to listen. Now you can almost outsource your entire security force to be your current tenants. Having hundreds of people looking out for any potential danger greatly increases the detection capabilities you will have, and very little will go unnoticed.

Keep Your Tenants Safe: Fire drills, as tedious as they are, happen for a reason. Run a few of them and make sure they are as efficient as can be hoped, because it might save someone’s life someday. Tweaking procedures like this is a high return activity and helps prepare for the worst.

Assess Your Building for Risks: Each building is different, and these differences are what make them vulnerable. If you have had previous issues with HVAC systems or there is structural damage to part of the building, then this is something you should plan around protecting. Additionally, make sure the City officials in charge of your area know to never give out information or plans pertaining to your property.

Look at Your Insurance Policy: As ruthless as this may sound, you need to know that if anything goes wrong, your tenants are going to be covered by your insurance. Double-check that there is no terrorism exclusion in your policy.

All of this might sound a little overboard, but it is all with the purpose of creating a safer environment. It is better to over prepare than to leave a vulnerability that costs innocent lives.

Get Professional Assistance: GSI offers property managers free security site assessments. A security site assessment is a formal examination of your facilities overall security program that takes an in-depth look at all aspects of your security program to identify any weaknesses and find opportunities to reduce costs and make security operations more efficient.

Suggestions are provided for implementing the latest security measures and making other improvements. By taking the above precautions, you can keep your tenants safe and do your own part to make the world a better place.

The other thing to remember is terrorism is the worst thing that can happen, but when you protect against it, you are protecting against all of the less drastic happenings as well. Break-ins, thefts, vandalism, and disturbances of the peace all become much less likely because of these measures. There is no downside to making the changes, and huge potential upside.