Every few months, a new study emerges that predicts the incredible growth of the physical security industry over the next several years. Overall, the market is booming, and individual verticals are reaching mind-blowing revenues: Utility security is nearing $400 billion, while education has hit $324 billion. Meanwhile, private sector security is expected to reach $377 billion this year.
With these staggering figures in mind, many value-added resellers (VARs) are eager to find their own successful niches in the physical security industry. If you’re just getting started in physical security, here are a few of our tips for identifying your specialty:
1. Consider your area’s biggest growth verticals
Take a close look at your city and state, and consider what security verticals are experiencing the most growth. For example, if you live in an area with a lot of tourism, you might consider focusing on hospitality. If there are a large percentage of K-12 schools and universities nearby, education security might be your best bet. Whatever you choose, be sure to hone in on a market that is not only currently strong, but also expected to grow steadily for years to come.
2. Scope out the competition
Do a little digging and find out how much competition exists in your area. Depending on the specialty that you choose, the number of competitors might vary significantly. (Just imagine how many VARs in the Orlando area specialize in hospitality security.) Ideally, you’ll find a vertical that has plenty of untapped potential and a broad customer base.
3. Think about how your own experience can help
How can you leverage your previous experience as a VAR in the physical security world? If you’ve done other technology installs at schools or healthcare facilities, for example, that experience will certainly help you to be a success in one of those niches going forward.
Look back on your previous projects and consider how your experience and professional contacts might help you in your new physical security specialty. By going with what you already know, you’re much more likely to build a strong customer base.
4. Do your research
As you hone in on your niche, take the opportunity to truly become an expert in that particular field. Know the relevant technologies inside and out, and develop a firm understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and subtleties of your market. By choosing one specialty, you clear the way to focus your energy on a growing market. Be sure to cultivate the knowledge you need to serve your customers fully.
5. Get help where you can
The most successful VARs are well-connected to manufacturers, fellow installers, and the industry as a whole. Start making connections by joining industry trade associations, such as ASIS and SIA, and consider partnering with a technology distributor, which can help you to form strong relationships with leading manufacturers and benefit from their success.
6. Start small, but think big
Once you’ve narrowed your focus onto a particular vertical, start building your portfolio of successful installs. For VARs that are just starting out in physical security, you might want to get your feet wet with a few smaller customers—for example, a boutique retail shop or a small private school. With these initial projects under your belt, you’ll be better positioned to grow your business and begin bidding for larger, more expansive installs.
Regardless of the size or scope of the project, always be sure to plan ahead. Even the smallest installs will require some degree of service and support, and may need to be expanded in the future. Look ahead by choosing products that are easily scalable and can seamlessly integrate with other security technologies. And, above all, let each customer know that you are available to service or expand its system at any time. Before long, you’ll have an entire roster of lifelong customers within your niche.
What physical security verticals are you considering adopting as your specialty? What factors drew you to a particular market?