Big Idea of the Month: Planning for Tomorrow by Being Deeply Involved in the Industry Today
Ron Davis talks to Becklar CEO Steve Richards about the importance of new technologies and his involvement in the security industry.
The company I founded over 25 years ago does M&A exclusively in the alarm and security integrator markets (yes, it’s my day job, and I love that !). However, for 20 of those 25 years, I also did monthly interviews with probably hundreds of dealerships.
I love doing that too, and those interviews appear in this column in Security Sales and Integration, one of the best publications in any industry. The luxury of doing so is a key to developing industry-wide contacts and relationships, many of which last a lifetime. And that brings me to Steve Richards, the CEO of Becklar.
Looking at him today, one can imagine a time when he was in athletics, as well as in academia. He has spent the past 10 years managing mergers and acquisitions firms, private equity firms and investment companies. He seems like a really nice guy, and he gets really excited when he talks about the people who joined him at Becklar, one of whom enjoys the position of Executive Chairman and Founder, Josh Garner.
A good man and one of the sons of the company that preceded Avantguard (i.e. Rod Garner), a true visionary and a good businessman. The group of youngsters who have joined Becklar are first class, and that is key for Becklar.
Josh, and his brother Eric, are two big guys in the industry, and after an appropriate amount of time, took the business that their dad and my good friend, Rod had started, Mountain Alarm, to Becklar. This gave the company a huge security platform, which today has 1.2 million subscribers, and its short-term goal is to reach 1.5 million subscribers by the end. of this year.
Speaking with Steve about his long-term plans, he mentioned that the industry has a plethora of monitoring centers, and he believes consolidating some of the larger ones will bring real economies of scale. He casually mentions that he would include private 911 companies as part of this deal.
It envisions new technologies providing meaningful answers to questions posed by today’s industry. But he is quick to add that he has done a good job of bringing the company, as it is today, to the point where it could be a launching pad for new technologies and new products.
It seems that the company is rapidly heading towards a whole new destiny that is probably not known today. And regardless of when the new technology appears, the company is moving towards significant size.
Think of all the airlines that once existed, or all the banks scattered all over the landscape. These industries have consolidated and are now run by a relatively small number of operators. Although the industry is not done with consolidation, Steve and I believe that much of it will take place at the wholesale monitoring level.
The wholesale monitoring industry has been given a new lease of life due to the rapid growth achieved by companies such as COPS Monitoring, Rapid Response, and ADT, all of which (seemingly) have rapid growth and successful integration of a large number.
The company Becklar acquired as a platform, Mountain Alarm, is also one of the largest in the industry. Much like the original alarm industry, which consisted of over 18,000 independent operators who had to undergo major changes that affected small dealers, but managed to bypass the big companies (i.e. i.e. ADT, Honeywell, Smith Alarm, Vivint and others), it will likely include 911 centers in the mix.
And that brings me to the conclusions that Steve saw as part of the answer to “If you could share one really great idea with the industry, what would it be?” And of course, you, my dear readers, are going to ask the obvious question, “What do we do now?” Steve had an answer to that.
“Go to the greatest number trade shows that you can handle every year. Attend seminars focused on new products coming out now and in the future. To ask questions. Formulate your own theories for your own business. And of course, keep this magazine and other trade publications available, but focus on new technologies and new products and after reading each article, ask yourself: “How does this apply? it to me? »
Never has the phrase “plan now for tomorrow” been more appropriate and relevant! Oh, and make sure you have fun in everything you do.