On November 19th 2019, as part of Infologue’s EYES ON company profile series, we interviewed Bold Security Group UK’s Managing Director, Graham Hawkins to discuss his growing security business, the challenges they face, common mistakes made by companies in the industry and looming threats to the industry.
Tell us a bit about your background and who you are:
“I have worked in both ‘in house’ and the private security industry for over 38 years, working for small and large multinationals. It was by accident that I got into security, I was working for TNT at the time as a sales manager, and on my watch, we had a huge in-house theft from our main hub at Atherstone. It was reported by my client that many very expensive branded watches never got to their destination, and it was up to me and the local LPM, who was an ex-Police Officer to track down the haul, which, we eventually did and in turn, it led us to the organised gang behind the thefts, the rest is history I suppose?”
Why did you start Bold Security?
“I didn’t start Bold Security Group, but I did join them very shortly after start-up, the owners had quickly recognised the need for direction from someone with knowledge and experience of the industry.”
What makes Bold Security different?
“It is easily said that we do nothing different than that of other manned security providers, in so much as we supply pretty much what most other security businesses provide, but I like to think we do things differently. We like to get to know and understand our prospective customers’ culture and values and from that understanding, we design and develop processes which deliver a positive experience for all internal and external user. This means staff, contractors etc, but our main focus is aimed directly at our customers and their journey. We do this through the services we provide which spans a diverse sector base, including healthcare, banking, education, corporate, construction etc.
We also encourage and challenge our staff to be more proactive, through knowledge and experience (sector-based champions) and supported learning. Regardless of whether they are the office-based operational delivery or onsite teams, we encourage them all to take ownership through empowerment, forums and initiatives, they can make decisions. They do not have to wait for senior management and they know they will be fully supported.
I must add though, you can, however, only achieve this with likeminded individuals working in unison and believing in one goal.”
“I think attention to detail and operational delivery, it may sound an adage, but prior planning and preparation really does prevent the rest of the phrase…?
This can be demonstrated with our newest client, the English National Ballet who have recently moved in to their new premises located on the London Island resort complex. The new build is a state of the art design and occupies a 4 storey space, comprising of dance studios a full-size rehearsal studio, offices, gym, conferencing/product launch facilities, and a licensed café bar.
The facility houses the ENB dance company, and the school and has the mantra of making ballet accessible to everyone.
Our approach was to meet with and understand the stakeholder’s expectations of the facility and how they want it to look in terms of portrayal, characteristic and community engagement, which is to include the conferencing users. We then put together an experience programme to encapsulate the desired engagement feel that would blend like a chameleon to the differing occasions and user group types.”
What are the biggest hurdles you have faced and how did you overcome them?
“The biggest hurdle is breaking the traditional view security buyers have when seeking security providers, by saying that, I mean, they think we are too small. What would happen if you fail? I say take a look at Carillion’s accounts and then take a look at ours. In some cases, we can obtain more financial support, if needed, than some of the top by revenue security businesses in the UK.”
What do you think are the most common mistakes that security companies make?
“Talk about themselves. The number of tender presentations I have attended with previous company’s and the opening gambit is….drum roll…Us. Please. You have made it to the presentation stage, it’s now about what you can do for the customer. The other thing, most do not listen, they have a mouth full of words, its blocking their ears?
In a nutshell, our approach is to ask researched and poignant questions and then genuinely and actively listen, making notes, understanding and gaining agreement throughout the entire engagement process, we then build and demonstrate the experience, processes and procedures and once accepted, train and deploy the delivery team.”
What are the biggest challenges facing the industry?
“The industry has for many years needed tighter and more active regulation and policing of the regulation, it’s therefore, particularly pleasing to see that the SIA are publicly prosecuting companies and individuals who are undermining and ultimately devaluing our business. For newcomers coming into a regulated industry, it must be satisfying for them to know that going forward the integrity of the industry is in safe hands.”
If you could tell someone looking to set up a security company one thing, what would it be?
“Think about why you want to set up a security company and then ask yourself…’what difference can I make”