Since I’ve taken the role Associate Director at Inspire I’ve been out meeting some of their clients whenever I can. Part of the visit is getting to know their business, working out how I and Inspire can help them on their growth journey, and part is telling the owner my story and how I’m qualified to help them.

All this in just a couple of hours seems tough but actually if you’re focused and the business owner prepared its not at all.

I was with one such client today, and after seven years working with smaller businesses sometimes I am still amazed by what I find and where.

I’m driving down what can only be described as a farm track, but it is sign posted to the business park I’m looking for and at the end I find a few business units in typical 1970’s or 80’s design. Little did I know what was inside.

Polarm is a security business. A small security business, but with two specialisms. Chris, the owner, is ex-forces and his time in the military was spent in both the special forces and the military police. He’s the operations side of the business. Claire, his wife, runs the day to day business including sales, marketing and finance with a background in senior management in corporate business.

The objective of my meeting remains to get a little under the skin of the business and make recommendations to aid growth wherever possible. As part of this conversation we discuss Polarm’s two specialities.

The first is managing and removing protesters from private property. Yes, that’s protesters that may have bolted themselves (or worse) to street furniture, trees, buildings and more. I saw an assortment of ‘props’ protester insert their arms into before layering them with concrete and filling them with expanding foam to make their removal as hard as possible! Dealing with these determined individuals is of course a challenge, but its all in a days work for Chris, very qualified and experienced, along with a team of up to twenty five other operatives. Commercially the model is fascinating. Provide logistical and operational support to businesses that face potential or real threat from protesters, with Heathrow airport on their client list. Polarm offer this service on retention or call out only.  It’s a speciality only possessed by Polarm, and perhaps one other in the UK and with the police under staffed, and potentially lacking expertise it is an exciting prospect.

The second speciality however is even more interesting. Behavioural Detection. The art of identifying an individual intent on causing harm BEFORE they commit the incident, and taking appropriate action to prevent it. Purely by observing behaviours such as body language and facial expressions. Chris and his team provide the only certified training course on this in the country as far as we know. Among their clients, Network Rail’s customer facing teams and Wembley Stadium. Now this is interesting. In an ever more threatening landscape Chris can provide boots on the ground providing the service, and train clients staff how to be on the look out themselves at both major events as everyday locations such as train stations. There is evidence to support that just putting a poster up stating peoples behavioural patterns are subject to scrutiny reduces offences, and in actual deployment Chris and his team have prevent untold incidents, many of which will not make the press of course. By watching the video at the base of this post you’ll understand better what ‘BD’ is all about.

So, thats the first part of my objectives covered. I know a little about the business. Now for my side of the bargain. Over a period of thirty minutes or so we mapped out the greatest challenges and concerns to Chris and Claire and worked on some objectives to address this. So here are some small examples.

Among these are identifying growth opportunities in existing clients as well as new client acquisitions, and treating the two objectives separately from a marketing perspective.

We’re looking at proposal documents and customer interaction processes to hold attention and increase conversion rates.

We’re also going to collate content of Chris and his team at work in both training and real scenarios, documenting the positive impact that have for their clients, and we’re going to shout about it.

I have spent two hours with the two owners of Polarm. I have been blown away by their service, their professionalism and the ways they have made a positive  difference for their clients, and for members of the public that probably don’t know they were event there. Now it’s time to help them shine properly.

If you’re an Inspire client business this service is available to you through the small team of associate directors and staff. Get in touch on www.inspirebiz.co.uk

If you would like more information on Polarm their website is polarmgroup.com or mail me on mail@asbusinessconsultants.uk and I’ll pass your details on.