Exactly ten years ago today, July 20th 2010, my company, Security Management International, LLC was officially formed in the Commonwealth of Virginia. At the time, I was a naïve 37-year old guy, who thought that I could take on the world. I vividly remember standing on the balcony of my one-bedroom apartment in the city of Rosslyn that day, overlooking the Potomac River and the shiny white monuments of the Washington DC National Mall, and imagining what I could accomplish by the year 2020. It’s amazing what a decade can do.
Today, as I write this issue of the “Monday Security Memo,” I am sitting on the back porch of my waterfront home on the island of Siesta Key, Florida. I’ve graduated from the rat race of city living to a more tranquil environment for me and my family. Behind the palm trees in front of me, I can hear the waves crashing along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Upon reflection, the first ten years of my business weren’t that bad.
How I got from Rosslyn to Siesta Key is a long story… better saved for a conversation over a bottle of 2015 Caymus Special Edition cabernet. However, I can tell you that the ten years between then and now has been a hell of a ride, filled with wild ups and downs. It’s taken me to over forty countries on six continents, has seen me consult for over two-dozen Fortune 500 companies, had me provide security to six billionaires, and has brought me face-to-face with my share of kings, sheiks, warlords and dictators. Such is life an entrepreneur.
It’s funny, the thing they never tell you about starting your own business is this… nobody is going to care about your business as much as you do. In fact, it will astonish you as to the number of people who will silently – or even publicly - root against you. You quickly learn that being a “risk taker” has its detractors. Therefore, learning to filter out negativity – and remain overly optimistic - is a skill that I had to acquire early.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely not easy starting your own business. In fact, it is incredibly difficult. Most businesses never survive past five years and only 25% make it to a decade. I even heard one statistic that stated 95% of small boutique consulting firms never even earn $1 million in gross sales revenue per year. That means, even if you are staying in business, you probably aren’t getting rich. To put it mildly, running a security consulting firm is NOT for everyone.
Therefore, please allow me to take a moment to say a sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me over the years. No matter how big or how small your contribution to SMI, please know that I appreciate it. You know who you are. Without YOU there is no SMI.
I feel very blessed to have had the experiences that operating Security Management International has provided to me. It wasn’t always sunny days, but when you’re an entrepreneur, you learn that dogged determination is your best friend. If there is one phrase that has echoed through my head more than any other these past ten years, it’s the mantra, “Perseverance Pays!”
Anyway, the sky is growing dark, as a summer thunderstorm is about to roll in. My Border Collie, Bandit, is giving me the signal that it’s time to retreat indoors.
Thank you again to all my family, friends, loved ones, employees, partners, clients and fans. You are, and continue to be, my inspiration.
Looking forward to what the next ten years will bring!
Stay safe and vigilant,
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