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Just knowing the business… is NOT enough

The business side of this industry is in many ways no different than any other business.  There are contracts, agreements, client and other strategic relationships to further the individual company success.  Alliances within the industry are paralleled to the same process as in many other industries.  For example General Motors puts out a car yet components of the car are made from other companies.

The marketing aspect of this industry has evolved in leaps and bounds and many companies occupy much of their efforts to keep up the marketing attack.  Some are good and others are better and then there are the few that are great at marketing their services.  Whether it is training, or protective services, you have to put some level of effort into marketing if you want the phone to ring.

Maintaining a good network of specialists is another business strategy.  When I say that your “net worth is only as good as your network” I am referring to this vital business strategy.  Listserv with available specialists across the country is a widely used tool in this industry as well as email blasts to inform those same specialists when job/detail opportunities are available.  Company owners collaborate on a daily basis to see if they have any elite specialists available to fill slots on a detail.  Those protection companies that have a reputation of housing good operators are always fielding calls looking for one of their high draft picks.  This is the business of Executive Protection.

The SLAP:  Knowing the business does NOT mean you know the craft!  The ability to lure clients and specialists into your services does not mean you know when the rubber meets the road.  Just last week I saw a YouTube video of an executive protection training company that had it’s students riding on the boards of the follow car.  That is a great business marketing video, but you are fooling yourself and the perspective student to think that you are going to be straddling the boards of an SUV in CONUS during a protection detail.  That’s absurd!!!!  The irony is that every seat is filled in your class with another cadre of individuals lured by a businessman who has no idea of the craft.

The ability to put a team together for a detail under short notice is attributed to your business savvy and network.  You send the team in and assign a detail leader. Oh yea, you are the MAN to the client.  But do you know the craft?  In your zeal to fill the billet, have you given the ad hoc team enough time to at least train or practice together prior to the detail going hot.  Have your business priorities prevailed over the essentials to the Craft?  The business bells and whistles you EMPLOY have to match the requirements of the boots you DEPLOY on the ground.

I do not think that it is necessary that the owner of any protection company has to have been an elite specialist on the ground, BUT you need to know what protection smells like in its best and worst days.  If not, you should have at least someone directly under you that does.  Specialists and operators always have respect for leaders that have been there and done that.  Paper tigers get no respect. From the specialist’s perspective you can easily determine if the company you are working for is lead by someone that knows about the terrain you stand on or not.

Let me end by saying this…..if you own a company and you preach, “I’ve done halls and walls” as your sound bite to having experience on the ground and knowing the craft, that dog doesn’t hunt anymore in this industry.

2 comments

  1. Benjamin Alozie

    This is a well written article with deep insight written by a true protector that i strongly believe has a deep love for preserving the best practices, core values, professional ethics etc (CRAFT) of the protective services profession and all that it truly stands for and embodies.

    The industry standards, reputation and image drops if the industry starts having more successful business owners with little or close to no knowledge about the protective services craft. The ideal scenario would be that business owners have the pure trade craft first before owning a business and they need to develop a perfect or near perfect synergy between two important skill set (Running a business & knowing the craft). It is equally correct that some business owners are in the protective services business strictly for the money but that doesn’t excuse them from the responsibility of engaging the services of skilled individuals with the sound trade craft of the profession in other to help maintain the great name and legacy of the protective services profession.

    The importance of this subject to the life line of the protective services profession cannot in my humble opinion be overstated. This topic in my view is one of those controversial topics that a lot of professionals within our industry would rather not write or openly talk about so as not to step on toes but it is what it is and the truth has to be aired if we must protect the core craft of this profession from being hijacked and overshadowed by the quest for huge profits.

    Thanks a lot Mr. Konohia for sharing your insight on a subject rarely written or even spoken about in professional circles.

    1. Eric Konohia

      Benjamin,
      Thank you Benjamin…..Your critique of the topic today undoubtedly expresses your love and concern of our craft. It warms me to know that there are professionals like you in the industry that GET IT and are unafraid to speak about it. I concur that there is a huge chasm between the business mind and the craft mindset and both are summarily different. The core principals of business has no relevance to the essentials of protection and until the so called leaders in this industry understand that, we are doomed to continue on a path riddled in danger. As I have said many times over, “We have to protect ourselves from ourselves!”

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