Security, Safety and Integrity Programs for Your Business
Are You a "Hard Target"?
Author: John Bocker, Managing Director and Business Strategist, JB Group, LLC based in Denver, CO , August 4,2017
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Target hardening or mitigation is a process wherein a building is made into a more difficult or less attractive target for criminals. It does not necessarily mean the construction of an impenetrable facility, although this would be the extreme case of target hardening. And with the continuing trend of FFL burglaries we are seeing across the country, it only makes sense that you take a good look at your facility and use the guide below to determine if you are solidly doing your best to make your location a “hard target” for thieves. And although we are seeing a higher frequency of FFL burglaries in the Midwest, Southeast and Texas regions, FFL’s are also being targeted daily in smaller towns and cities across our nation. So, if you sell guns, consider yourself a target!
Whatever the target, there are multiple ways of preventing penetration by unwanted or unauthorized persons. To stop a burglary or physical attack on a building is very difficult; any building or site can be breached or even destroyed. However, the more secure your building or site is and the better it is designed to withstand an attack, the greater the odds are that the building will not be victimized by bad guys intent on stealing firearms they otherwise cannot legally obtain.
Vandals and burglars select sites based on their value as a target as well as ease of penetration. If the bad guys think they have figured out a quick and easy way to breach your facility, and if you are known to leave firearms in showcases overnight, you should be planning to invest in additional security. Another key factor in determining if you are a high-value target is your proximity to major roads and highways which allow easy access and escape.
A common method to evaluate burglary threats is to analyze these five factors:
Location – general considerations include type of local industry if any, proximity to major roadways and traffic, proximity to residential areas and class / income levels
Assets - what is the value of your assets stored on the property and what would be the “prize” for successful burglars?
Crime History - what has been the potential threat element in the past and how many times? Have other local FFL’s been victimized in the prior 12 months?
Ease of Access - What would the potential threat element or aggressor hope to achieve and how easy or complex would it be to burglarize your location?
Targeting - Do you know if an aggressor(s) is performing surveillance on your building and have similar recent crimes been reported recently?
Knowing the expected threat or hazard capability allows you to integrate that knowledge with specific building and site information by conducting a security vulnerability assessment. A security vulnerability assessment is an in-depth analysis of building weaknesses and lack of redundancy to determine mitigations or corrective actions that can be designed or implemented to reduce vulnerabilities. The extent and depth of the analysis will depend upon the size and function of the building, firearms inventory stored on site and volume and type of business performed on-site.
The NSSF Security Consultant Team is well versed in determining the vulnerabilities that may exist at your location. In addition, the Cap Index rating, a crime stats and reporting tool, is researched to compare vulnerabilities at your specific location with those of similar local, regional and national FFL businesses. Knowing your CAP Index can help you make sound financial decisions regarding future capital upgrades and improvements for your physical security.
Key features to consider in your “Target Hardening” assessment focus primarily on these areas:
Future articles in this series will help you become more expert in designing, upgrading and managing your specific site security programs for optimal performance.
“How Business Owners Can Safely Respond to a Burglary”
Author: John Bocker, Managing Director and Business Strategist, JB Group, LLC based in Denver, CO , June 20,2016
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The phone just rang and you realize it's the middle of the night. “Oh no, I hope that's not what I think it is”.
Sure enough, the alarm company dispatcher just advised you that several alarms are activated at your store and the police have been dispatched. You tell the dispatcher that you'll be at your store in 30 minutes and quickly start to panic about what to do next as the adrenaline and anxiety quickly kicks in. Unless you’ve been through the drill before, reacting to a “crisis call” in the middle of the night can be quite a challenge. It’s your worst nightmare comes true! Your store has been burglarized!
Speeding to your store in the middle of the night is always stressful. If you've never done this before, there are several key things to have in place before a burglary occurs to make your “middle of the night experience” a little easier to bear.
First of all, prepare by having phone numbers for your key personnel programmed into your cell phone. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll need at least one or two other employees to help recover after a burglary. Next, expedite your journey to the store but travel safely ensuring your own personal safety and the safety of others on the road. When approaching your place of business, use caution as the police activity may still be ongoing and your location may be under search. Keep in mind that the bad guys can easily still be in the area and deemed dangerous. When you arrive, remain in your vehicle with your interior lights on until the police see you. Be prepared to show identification and explain your role. You can also call the police dispatcher and advise them you are on site and in your vehicle. If the investigating law enforcement agents do not know you, they may not assume you're one of the good guys.
Be certain it is safe to exit your vehicle before doing so. If armed, keep weapons concealed so as not to confuse law enforcement (also check with your company owners or documented HR policies regarding carrying firearms while working). As this will be a high-stress situation for all involved, make every effort to alert police that you are a store employee. You should wait outside the store until law enforcement has completed their interior search of the premises.
Now the fun starts. The police are going to ask you to come inside and help assess the damage and identify missing property. Hopefully by now your co-workers have joined you at the store to assist in the crisis and damage cleanup. If possible, try to have someone respond to the store that worked during the closing shift prior to the burglary. This will assist in quickly identifying where merchandise was actually left in showcases and on the sales floor prior to the burglary. You should then assign someone to use the emergency call list and contact vendors that can assist with your crisis.
Service calls may occur in the following order:
a. Door frame repair
c. Glass / window “board up” company. In the event glass repair is not available for you in the middle of the night, there are vendors who will provide “board up” services to secure your premises. You should have contact numbers for both.
d. Glass repair company
e. Your alarm company. Let them know what the current state of affairs is and whether or not alarm devices need repair or replacement. In most cases, the alarm repairs will have to wait until doorframes and glass windows are replaced.
f. Insurance agent. Most insurance companies have a 24-hour emergency / claim hotline that can be called to schedule an insurance company adjuster to visit the store the next morning.
g. Security guard coverage. You may need to hire an armed contract security company until all security protection is properly restored. In some cases this may be several days.
As you begin your clean up efforts and after authorized to do so by law enforcement, take many pictures that clearly show the damaged property including smashed doors, windows, showcases, safes, etc. Photos will assist in the insurance claim process as well as the criminal investigation.
After basic clean up efforts have been completed, a store inventory must be completed and losses determined. Your insurance company will require a complete listing of property identified to be stolen. It is advisable to check with your insurance carrier regarding the type and amount of property loss and crime coverage that you have to guard against unexpected losses resulting from burglaries.
Investigators will also want to know how to access your video security data to support their investigation. Hopefully you had a security CCTV system in place, it was properly powered on and programmed to record the real-time event in low-light conditions if the lights were powered off. All too often we find that security systems are not set properly to record after hours burglary activity to support good investigative process.
Lastly, it is advisable to replace defeated doors, locks and windows with higher-security hardware and laminated glass to prevent a reoccurrence. Very often, criminals will revisit “easy targets” if they “got away with it once”. We’ve heard and seen this occur over and over again. As the old saying goes, “Fool me once - shame on you, fool me twice - shame on me”. We advise to make the effort and the investment to upgrade your protection after a business burglary and prevent future such incidents as much as possible. A repeat-burglar will find your protection upgrades frustrating and seek an easier target. Adding extra layers of protection such as crash-prevention bollards, roll-down coil grills or gates in front on doors and windows, reinforced 3 or 4-point dead bolt locking systems on stock room doors and laminated “smash-resistant” glass on windows and showcases will safeguard your assets to a greater degree in the future.
And the last item to deal with following a burglary where high-profile goods such as firearms, pharmaceuticals, jewelry or other controlled substances are stolen, as well as your biggest headache, will be the press. Very often the local news media will try to create unnecessary drama and headlines around such issues as gun store burglaries. Unless otherwise directed to do so by your attorney or law enforcement, it is advisable not to discuss details of the burglary, how it occurred or the quantity of items actually taken from your place of business. You should do your best to reduce unnecessary liability and avoid any accusations of negligence as a local business owner. Less information to a reporter will yield less drama and allow you to tend to real issues like repairing your store and getting back in business.
Be prepared and stay secure!
4 Simple Ways to Create Amazing Customer Service
Author: John Bocker, CEO and Business Strategist, JB Group, LLC based in Denver, CO May 22,2016
I visited a small specialty retailer tonight and was amazed to unfortunately experience all of the missed opportunities for the establishment to make money! I could have spent more then $200 but actually left empty handed. I have been a retailer across various categories for more than 25 years and continue to be amazed at how much under-utilized information and training is available for retail businesses everywhere. Yet when it comes down to providing great service to sell a product, I continue to find the majority of sales personnel in retail missing the primary opportunities to maximize the sale. Why is this a continuing issue and what can business owners do to correct it?
Retailers across America selling all types of products including tools and hardware, beauty products, apparel, sporting goods, and now even cannabis in Colorado are finding it very difficult to achieve their sales goals and are frequently scratching their heads and wondering why they're falling short of daily sales expectations. Sadly, I also continue to hear from business leaders that “we’ll make it up next week” and other excuses that fall short of addressing the obvious. In this article I will outline four key areas that can quickly turn businesses around with management leadership focusing on the important selling behaviors that matter most.
These best practices have been proven through “A-Team” exercises over and over again where the best selling employees in the company were assigned to execute to the highest degree possible for a short period of time in a specific store. The behaviors and activities were choreographed, specialty areas were specifically assigned to team members, participants were monitored and supported by business coaches, and all were challenged with “stretch” sales goals. In every A-Team exercise, the results blew away sales expectations!
1. Hire the right person! How many times have you heard this?
One of my greatest mentors showed me the real impact of requiring retail sales candidates to actually move to the sales floor during the in-person screening process and actually “sell” a specific product to the interviewer. This simple exercise really challenged the true capabilities of the candidate and revealed whether or not they actually possessed the skill-set, personality, courage, demeanor, presentation skills and product knowledge to be hired as a great sales person. Any candidate can say they know how to sell, and any candidate can say they really want to be a sales person but when you actually put them to the test of impromptu selling, you can quickly and easily validate those who are and are not qualified to represent you well and be a great sales person.
2. Set the expectation with each sales person that every guest that walks into your business has the potential to purchase thousands of dollars in product if provided the best service and sales attention possible! We’ve all been amazed when this happens and we celebrate such events but why not think of this as a standard instead of the exception? When you set the bar very high, it exemplifies the fact that every customer can be the “magical customer” if treated with respect, made to feel important, treated as a “VIP”, and provided outstanding customer service beyond anything he/she can get from any other retailer in the area. Every employee should understand the simple fact that every customer who visits your business will maximize their spend if you qualify their needs, provide a solution, provide great service and build a relationship with that customer.
3. Engage with every guest first by understanding whom they are, where they work or live, their name, their needs and how you can fulfill their total expectations. Today's retail world is unfortunately still filled with sales people who use the old-fashioned and tired approach of “Can I help you?” “Help you find something?” “Find what you're looking for?” and in the worst-case scenario, no approach at all. Today's consumer who is willing to spend as much as necessary for great service and product solutions is just waiting to be over- serviced as a “VIP” and approach that makes them feel special, respected, valued and important. When your customers feel all of these emotions, they become a customer for life and price becomes less important. Great selling is about relationships and rapport and not about price. If your sales people can understand the value of a relationship, you will win in so many ways! This is critical to your success as a retail owner and cannot be left for chance. This process has to be modeled, coached, validated, reinforced, recognized and applauded when executed correctly. Miss any of these aspects of the great sales process, and you will never achieve your full potential as a business owner.
4. Lastly, coach your sales people to genuinely thank and reaffirm with every customer how important they are to the business, how excited you are that they have visited with you, confirm that you filled every need that they had and go the extra steps to find out what their future needs are and build a lasting relationship. Building your client relationship is more important than ever in today’s competitive marketplace. And it's the same reason so many people return over and over to their favorite coffee house, restaurant or lunch spot. There are several great retailers that do this well and if you can model their sales activities and professionalism, you can build your own mini super-retailer reputation and brand that will prompt customers to brag about you and become raving fans of your business.
And don't forget that if you can build a team that executes to these four points, you owe it to the team to recognize and reward them in creative, sincere, fun and relative ways.
John Bocker is a professional retail and hospitality business strategy consultant specializing in maximizing profitability, risk management, employee integrity, training, and driving success! John is Founder and Principal at JB Group, LLC based in Denver, Colorado where he partners with business leaders to exceed sales and profit expectations. Visit www.jbgroupco.com or call (720) 514-0609 for more information.