Reed Security celebrates 20 years
Reed Security founder reflects on 20 years in the business
May 1, 2020 By Alanna Fairey
Before founding Reed Security, a Saskatoon-based business that offers custom-designed alarm systems and high-definition video surveillance, Virgil Reed got his first taste of the security industry working as commercial sales representative for ADT Security back in 1998.
Though he appreciated the vital lessons that he learned from the company, Reed decided to follow his dream of starting his own company.
Founded in 2000, Reed Security started out as an authorized dealer for another company for five years before making another change.
“After five years of being a dealer, we became an independent — and it was the greatest choice I ever made,” Reed said in an interview with SP&T News.
Today, Reed Security services over 5,000 clients. Reed shared that his training and experience in commercial sales allowed them to sell large alarm, access control and video surveillance projects seemingly from the day the company began.
One of the biggest hurdles Reed had to overcome, however, was limited financing.
Thanks to a hefty $30,000 investment from a personal friend and credit cards, Reed Security was able to take off.
Over time, Reed Security developed professional relationships with lenders and currently has a bank that understands their needs.
Looking back on the security industry now in comparison to when he first launched the business, Reed reflected that the industry as a whole has never been more competitive, using the example of aggressive door-to-door programs.
“A customer may have had a contract that would last 10 years and today, door-to-door companies offered a buyout contract,” Reed explained. “The average length of time that a customer stays your customer is lower.”
Reed also shared that customer expectations also add to those challenges that Reed Security faces in the industry today.
“Customer expectations have never been higher,” Reed said. “Consumers want everything now and if you cannot provide it, they will shop elsewhere.”
To combat these challenges, Reed and his team have learned that in order to remain afloat in a changing industry is to never be complacent and to be prepared for the unexpected.
Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many businesses were required to self-isolate and work from home, Reed Security included.
Though he admits that the events of COVID-19 were concerning and disruptive for business, Reed shared that he and his staff adapted to the circumstances at lightning speed.
“The COVID-19 virus has actually created a lot of innovation,” Reed said. “Now my staff remote works, and now they have to change how they sell, as well as our procedures on how we’re going to do installs.”
Reed also shared that focusing on the end result in addition to the process along the way has also helped to contribute to Reed Security’s 20-year success.
Acknowledging that the company can always strive towards better, Reed Security implemented a Scaling Up program back in 2019, a strategy based on implementing Rockefeller habits that has an emphasized focus on leading people, setting strategy, driving execution and managing cash.
Following this new business model has proved to be beneficial for Reed Security, as the program taught them to implement new daily habits that will help them succeed in their business moving forward.
One of those habits, according to Reed, is increasing their communication within the company.
“Six months ago, we would have meetings as we needed them,” Reed explained.
“Today, each department has a 10-minute daily huddle where we all share what’s going on in the business.”
Adds Reed: “Our goals right now are two times the cash flow, three times the profitability, and 10 times the valuation.”
When Reed first started his business, it was his dream to see one of his children join the business, to keep Reed Security in the family.
“Incidentally, nobody really wants to join business,” Reed said with a laugh.
However, Reed shared that he “would like to be able to support them in what they’re passionate about.”
With 21 employees and five dealers, Reed shared that part of the company’s five-year plan is to double the size of staff and to have a large focus on commercial.
For his own personal development, Reed says the most important lesson he has learned on the road to starting his business is to have a great work-life balance and to not take that time for granted.
To manage the stresses of a fast-paced growing business, Reed plays hockey and fat bikes and listens to podcasts to find the best learning and ideas for his business.
“I spend a lot of time with my family,” Reed shares. “And I will continue to spend a lot of time with my family – that’s what’s most important to me.”
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