Real Business talked to business owner Andy Morrison about how he stays afloat in an uncertain economy and focuses on the fundamentals of his security enterprise in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Director of Stag Security Services, Morrison entered in the security industry after leaving the army in 1992. His business story is slightly unusual: after working security for nearly thirty years, Morrison has worked in every department you can imagine, from door work to cash-in-transit. It is a broad industry, ranging from debt collection to cyber security, but Morrison’s business focuses on the bread and butter of security, with his bespoke uniformed guard service for business sites.
“I always had the idea of starting my own business but in the end, I was essentially thrown into it.”
Working in house as a contractor, Morrison’s employer unfortunately went under. One of the companies that had contracted Morrison to work for them on site offered to give him his own contract.
“Basically, they said to me “we like your standards, we like what you bring to the table. If you start your own company, we’ll give a guaranteed, three-year contract.” I had very little warning.”
Morrison had just under a month to get his own business up and running, otherwise he would lose out on the lucrative opportunity. Turns out, it was the exact push he needed. It was a risk, with the security market being over-saturated, especially in Morrison’s local area of Hampshire. He knew he couldn’t run the competition down with something wildly new, so he decided to focus on providing a fundamentally excellent, high-quality, reliable service. Stag Security Services have an extremely thorough recruiting process, holding their team to high standards in order to ensure the company’s attention to detail and rigorous standard continues to be delivered.
“We would rather turn work away than do a bad job. That impacts our reputation, and you have to be reliable in this industry for people to trust you and your team with their assets.”
Once Morrison is sure he’s found the right staff for Stagss, he invests in them. All his members of staff are SIA licensed, a compulsory security guard license that any individual or business needs before they can operate within the private security industry. The company has also set aside time and money to have their team trained as First Aiders, Fire Marshalls, and had them all advanced DBS checked, so his company are able to support establishments involved with children or at-risk individuals.
Their careful and selective recruitment process has served the company well. Stagss has been operating for over four years now and in that time, the company has never lost a contract. During the pandemic, Morrison and his team found that the need for on-site uniformed guards increased significantly, as premises and businesses like hotels and warehouses, that were usually occupied 24/7, were suddenly left empty and vulnerable.
Despite their success and their ability to continue trading through the lockdowns and restrictions, Morrison has still felt the impact of the last year. Having grown up in the area Stagss now operates, he is incredibly involved with helping the local community and is very committed to being there for those who are struggling.
“It’s terrible what has happened to the world, and it’s shown us how a lot of people are only two paychecks away from losing everything. We registered with the local council to deliver shopping to vulnerable people and just tried to do our best to help.”
Stagss do a considerable amount of work with charities and services in and around Portsmouth that help and support the local homeless population. The company sponsors the local football teams to give back to the area and are heavily involved with the Friends Fighting Cancer charity.
Morrison has grown his company by focusing on the fundamentals of the business. By building an impeccable reputation, maintaining, and enforcing good business practises across all his staff, and being transparent with his clients, Stagss truly stands out in the risky and highly competitive market.
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