The title of the popular hit song “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities describes what entrepreneurs Karen and Anthony High help their clients with each day.
Since 2006, the husband-and-wife business partners have proudly operated their own small business called Special Operations Security Services, Inc. in Dunellen, New Jersey. The company employs a staff of about 32 security officers.
The firm provides a full array of security services for a variety of clients, including manned security services, personal protection, and executive protection. Schools, churches, senior communities, and theaters are just a few of the places the company provides security for, and it can be on a daily basis or for a one-time event.
“Our security officers have to go through a 24-hour in-class training program and have to be fingerprinted at both the state and federal levels,” Anthony says. “Many of our officers are either current or retired law enforcement.”
Entrepreneurs point to many reasons why they believe starting a business is a great option for them. Anthony says it was a career-ending injury in the line of duty that put an end to his 10-year career in law enforcement. So he thought he would take all of his knowledge and experience to put to good use in a small business that contracts with other security professionals. Running the company allows him to have some hands-on experience in the field, while Karen handles more of the administrative responsibilities.
Several ingredients are required to make the most delicious recipe for startup success. Karen explains what she feels has made their small business work like a well-oiled machine.
“I think it’s the passion and dedication that we both have for the business,” Karen says. “We feel like there is no other option than for us to succeed. This is our bread and butter. We live, breathe, and eat this business.”
According to Karen, the most rewarding part of being small business owners is that she and her husband know they are providing excellent opportunities to those who deserve them.
“Being able to help individuals gain employment so they can provide for their families is what really matters,” she says. “America is run by small businesses, and we’re glad to have a part in that big picture.”
Competing in the Small Business Realm
She says there is no shortage of competition in the security and personal protection industry.
“We are always competing against others. Most of these companies are much larger than us, and most offer lower rates. It’s very tough, but word-of-mouth referrals are huge.”
To advertise their small business, the Highs utilize a variety of marketing strategies. They have a website at www.specialopsusa.com. They also hand out business cards and pamphlets, attend trade shows, and take classes on various security measures. However, Karen says it’s word-of-mouth marketing that really drives new clients to the business.
Small Business Challenges
Starting a business opens the door to a whole new world for entrepreneurs who have never crowned themselves as business owners before. With so many backend responsibilities at play, Karen admits it’s been a little overwhelming.
“We are a 2-person team, and everything is done primarily by us,” she says. “The bookkeeping, recordkeeping, HR, marketing, competition – it’s really a lot for only us to be handling.”
Despite these ongoing challenges, she offers some helpful hints on how to effectively run a company from the start.
“First off, get a good accountant and bookkeeper. You don’t want to play games with the IRS. Make sure you have all your licensing, certificates, and other documents ready and accessible when you need them. Your business license shows you are official.
“Stay educated with any classes, webinars, conferences, or events. There is so much information out there for small business owners to use. Finally, time management is so important.
The Highs say self-employment comes with both pros and cons.
“It’s great to be able to control your own destiny,” Karen says. “It has truly afforded me more time to do things I couldn’t do working at a 9-5 job. I can set my own hours and devote more time to our family.”
Anthony adds that the financial freedom is nice.
“Having access to cash is big,” he says. “It has really helped our family in different ways. Also, it is truly an advantage working with my wife. We don’t have time for arguing, and we’re always talking about ways to grow the business.”
As for disadvantages, Karen admits managing people can be stressful at times. But finding the best employees who are dedicated to their work is what it’s all about.
The Highs are clients of 1-800Accountant, the nation’s leading accounting and consulting firm for small business owners. Karen says she and Anthony have been impressed with the services and assistance they’ve received from the accounting firm.
“The idea of being able to have a bookkeeper, an accountant, and a CPA under the same umbrella is so convenient. We don’t have to worry about contacting multiple companies for all of this. Knowing that we have an accounting team that is reputable, certified, and knows what they’re doing takes a lot of stress off of us.”
Photo credit: The photograph of Karen and Anthony High was provided by Special Operations Security Services, Inc. and is used with permission.