News & Events

What is Customer Centricity?

A strategy that aligns a company’s development/delivery of products/services with the current & future needs of a select set of customers to maximize their long-term financial value to the firm.

Do you ever get a customer that pays a low bill rate and never seems to be satisfied with your service? If that is the case, a customer-centric focus will be ideal for your company as it was for mine. WPG has implemented a customer-centric program into our Threat Management & Executive Protection Company. I highly recommend that all security companies consider such strategy and here is why… some customers can take 80% of your time while paying the lowest bill rate. These are the customers who call you at 2 am over some minor issue, cause intentional constant turnover & intentional unbillable overtime costs for your company. It is as if they do not want you to make a profit.

The phrase, ‘the customer is always right’ is just not true. I propose the paraphrase, ‘The right customers are always right’.

Have you ever fired a customer? You may need to if you are operating with a small profit margin, high turnover of employees, & you spend a significant amount of your time on this customer. In the end, this customer may hurt your reputation & brand. It is simply not worth the stress.

My thoughts on creating a strategy for a customer-centric company are as follows:

  1. Recognize the fundamental differences between customers. Which customer produces the highest revenues & profit margins? I suggest ranking your customers in the order of importance. You hold a strategic advantage over your competitors by knowing your customer’s needs as well as theirs.
  1. Acknowledge there is real and quantifiable value to be found in understanding your customers. Use this understanding towards your marketing efforts in order to acquire customers that will generate long-term revenues, good profit margins, and increase value to your company. Remember you want the right customer not just any customer. You want a customer that believes in your cause & has an emotional connection with your company. Avoid relationships based on a low bill rate or a customer who is so concerned with saving money that it compromises your desired level of service.
  1. Utilize formulas to measure the value of each one of your customers to gain insight. How much are you willing to spend on a current vs. a new customer? Who much will it cost you if you were to lose your best customer? How can you get more referrals from existing customers?
  1. Initiate a highly focused relationship management system. This allows you to gather even more information on your customers, creating positive leverage. Serve your customers

on a personalized and genuine manner.

  1. Implement a strategy to target the right customers who believe in your purpose. Maintain and foster business with your most valuable customers that produce revenue, high-profit margins, and appreciate your service.
  1. Engage your employees. Although engagement is critical in the services industry, most companies fail in this area as many employees do not work in the corporate office. They are our in the field & the corporate office has very little contact with them. 7 out 10 employees are disengaged.
  1. Customer engagement you must anticipate the needs of the customer before they ask. Gather intelligence on the customer to present them ways on how you can better serve their needs. Keep track of all customer preferences.
  1. Create your own operating standard. Remember that the more value you can create & differentials of operating, you will naturally build long-term relationships with clients that won’t leave you because of the bill rate. Find a service standard model that reflects your corporate culture. People will notice the difference between your company and other competitors.

Recommended book: By my Wharton Professor Peter Fader, Customer Centricity.

Creating Business Growth, Strategic Alliances for Executive Protection Companies

One of the most important classes I took at the Wharton Business School was on Strategic Alliances. Out of 8,000 security firms in the world, 95% report less than $5 million dollars in revenues. They are mostly “mom & pop” companies. The Executive Protection industry is a small niche operating with only 1-2 main accounts forcing the owner to work the executive protection detail vs running his business. So how do you get to the next level with your company? By creating new growth! In a Harvard Business School Bain Consulting study 7 out 8 companies failed to achieve profitable growth even though 90% of those companies had detailed strategic plans. 96% of all business fail within the first 10 years and lack of growth within the company is a major contributor, creating a significant concern for companies that are strictly dependent on executive protection service to grow & survive. Unfortunately, most will not survive or have to provide other services just to break even.


So what is a strategic alliance? A strategic alliance is a cooperation arrangement between two or more organizations designed to share a strategic goal.   Whether to directly increase profits or simply for exposure, the ultimate desire result is the growth of both parties involved. There are two types of alliances: shared equity and non-equity alliance. A great example is an alliance that I have built is with an insurance firm that specializes in clients of high net worth. The alliance is based on holding joint events where we set a number of lunch seminar talks. We are not competitors but targeting the same clients, and we each have our own marketing materials. Our target goal is 40-50 attendees typically held at a 5-star hotel or restaurant to translate our high-level premium brands. There is then follow-up after the event & the goal is to turn the events into new business.

A study done by my Wharton Professors, Harbir Singh & Preshant Kale, revealed that the top 500 global businesses have on average 60 major alliances. There are risks & almost half of them fail, but hey have achieved 25% higher long-term success & four times market wealth upon the announcement of their alliance.

The realities of the alliance are that both companies must build trust between each other. They must find ways to operate even though there are cultural differences. The first two years of the alliance is the highest risk. There must be buy-in from & commitment from the executive level. There cannot be a hidden agenda by either company.

Both companies must set time to meet & constantly work on the alliance & they must communicate all the time. Strategic alliances are great for small to medium size businesses to accelerate growth & do not have the marketing budgets to compete against large companies. The other advantages that small companies have are that they do not have the company politics & layers of management that sometimes slow the process down as well as sometimes sabotage the alliance from working together. Small to medium size companies need to be innovative & creative to increase revenues & create growth. If you are considering a strategic alliance with a target company I would suggest that you set up a meeting & use the outline below are some of the guidelines to explore working together for common goals. Each company has some great strengths but also weaknesses. The alliance company you are considering can be that you tap into each others strengths for creating growth. It could be used to create one marketing team & business development people to share resources & to keep your costs low. Another idea is you may want to use one company’s technology that can help you & you have a strength that may help the other company. Strategic Alliances do have a tremendous value to compete in today’s complicated business world. I would suggest you use the outline below to use when forming an alliance as well as making sure that you are aware of the past problems that have caused alliance failures.

An outline for Strategic Alliances to create growth

  1. Non-disclosure agreement
  2. Executive Summary of what the alliance will promise and execute by all parties
  3. Contract
  4. Do the cultures fit or clash?
  5. Strategic budgeting & cost to do that
  6. Transparency
  7. Shared information
  8. What is proprietary and what is not
  9. Equity distribution
  10. Value proposition to the clients
  11. What are the individual company goals
  12. Clear performance metrics, benchmarks, and measurements
  13. Length of alliance
  14. Communication to the public
  15. Covenant not to hire each others employees
  16. Meeting- How often do you meet? My suggestion is monthly
  17. Each meeting we should have a clear understanding of task ownership and estimated time of completion
  18. Each partner should write a press release on what we are doing then compare
  19. Create value for each companies’ clients
  20. Cross sharing of clients


Potential problems with the alliance

  1. Poor communication of individual company goals
  2. Company cultural conflicts
  3. Change in industry or environment, such as the economy
  4. Poor organization with partners
  5. Poor strategy analysis
  6. Hidden agendas
  7. Regulations
  8. Changes in the industry
  9. Ego’s & stubborn behavior
  10. Poor negotiation skills
  11. Maintaining focus on the alliance & have boundaries
  12. Do not try & steal clients
  13. Miscommunications
  14. Disproportionate equity in the alliance

Martial Arts for the Executive Protection Agent

I am a huge fan of martial arts and the techniques and principals I have learned and practiced have been influential to my Executive Protection. Over the course of 46 years, I have earned a 7th Degree Black Belt Kyoshi/Shihan certified by a Japanese organization, trained in Aikido with Sensei Haruo Matsuoka & Shihan Steven Seagal, and continue to train at the Gracie Academy in Jiu-Jitsu.

I recommend that all Executive Protection Agents train in martial arts. An attack is a race against time and speed in which one needs to create distance, stop the bad guy, and get the principal to a safe area. Martial arts techniques such as self-defense, joint locks, pressure points, along with a knife, club, and gun takeaways are all effective tools to use during an attack. With that being said, I believe there are useful techniques in each of the martial arts that can be used in Executive Protection specifically the major points below:

• The goal is to never have to use martial arts in any Executive Protection detail or operation. 2014-Spring-cover-web

• Use of force can subject you to criminal arrest if not justified and/or a civil suit.

• If you have to use force or your gun, you have failed. The US Secret Service has not had used any martial arts or the gun for approximately the past 20 years.

• Most private protection details are small (1-2 person) details. If a member of the protection team gets involved in a scuffle with someone, other members have to cover and evacuate the principle out of harms way.

• You must always be prepared for a secondary attack that could be bigger than the first. If one member is dealing with a threat by using force you now have only one person to try and survive an attack

• Never go on the ground with a bad guy. Once that happens, you have taken yourself out of the picture in being able to protect your principle.

• Assume everything is being filmed. Whatever techniques you use will need to be justified in a court of law.

• Pushing & shoving is assault & battery.

Photo of Kent Moyer courtesy of Masters Magazine 

Positioning Your Company in the Executive Protection Market

Think of positioning your brand in the market like an acupuncturist finding that one point with a needle that hits the right spot & location on your body. If you are able to hit the right spot or location on the body; that one needle triggers a positive response in your whole system. This is the foundation to create your brand. You need to find your “right spot” or “position” within the market.   Positioning is one idea, that your customers & clients associate your name with.

The position is very powerful and it is one of the tools in the marketing strategy of a successful business. In another blog, I stated that “You cannot be trying to create to a Rolls Royce Company on the outside while you are driving a beat up old Chevy”. The two need to match (Inside & Outside)!

Many in the industry try to be something they will never be. In creating your position, it is not about how great you think you are; it is what your customers or clients view you as. Some companies in this industry think they are a high-level company in a quality of service and price, but behind the scenes within the industry, everyone knows they are dysfunctional and have poor service. When I look at their web sites, they are designed about who ‘they’ think they are vs. what ‘their clients think about them.’ I sadly think they are delusional and just quietly laugh and shake my head. There are many in the Executive Protection Industry that operate this way.

Many times companies create these big positioning statements, mission statements and vision statements, that become meaningless because no one in their company knows they exist and they become just words on a piece of paper or on a web site. They have never even trained nor re-trained their employees to let them know who they are and what they stand for. It is not embedded in the “Employees DNA.” They also overanalyze and make huge statements that are not very creative such as, “We are the Best Bodyguard Company in the World.” There are about 8000 security firms in the US and I would bet that many of them have similar claims on their web sites.

Everyone thinks they are the best, but very few in the industry run their businesses to the level of a ‘true’ high-quality company. I know; I have worked for many of them and have met with at least eight companies over the years in an effort to possibly acquire them. All of them were run poorly.

Consumers today have so much overload of being sent marketing material, social media, sales calls, and advertisements. So I am suggesting to create your position, by keeping it simple and based on a single idea.

It is not about gun pictures, repelling out of helicopters, targets with bullets all in the ten ring, pictures of celebrities on your web site, nor pictures of you and the client at a movie premiere. I could go on and on about this ad infinitum. I could write a blog on just this issue alone. You may think it is cool, but in actuality, it is meaningless to clients. They are not interested in what gun you carry nor what degree Black Belt you are.

The position is nothing more than basing your positioning statement on sound business principles. Consumers are looking for that ‘one idea’ that connects and resonates with them. Forget about your company when creating your positioning and brand. Work backwards from the client / customer; to the service model that resonates with the marketing target.

The goal is to build an emotional connection with the client / customer, that every time there is a security need, they keep coming back to you. If there is no emotional connection between you & the client, it is just a financial transaction; or, they are just shopping for price, which is a big part of the security industry.

Some final thoughts:

  1. Create something unique to the market.
  2. Create a specific idea that means something vs., “just being words on paper.”
  3. Create a singular idea that when your customer / client sees or hears about it; they will undoubtedly say, “That is you!”
  4. Find one idea and stick to that one idea. Don’t bounce around and try to be many things.
  5. Everyone that thinks they are the best, but it does not work in positioning / marketing. It is not about you!
  6. Remember when you create the one idea, it has to be ‘what your customers think of you; not what you think you are.’
  7. Work backwards from the client / customer to your service.
  8. Be creative. I recently started building a luxury entity to my company. It took 4 months just to create the logo, tagline, and to co-brand it with WPG. It was vetted by my Wharton and SDA Bocconi Business School Professors, as well as my classmates in a Strategic Management of Luxury Businesses course.
  9. Do not try to imitate what your competitors are doing.
  10. Be yourself not someone you are not.

Executive Protection Company Branding


One of the key elements is market positioning. This begins with strategizing how you and your company are different from the competition. As part of this process, come up with a one-word positioning statement.

As an example: Volvo’s word is “safety” while Victoria Secret’s is “sexy”.

What is yours? Once complete you will want to rank your company on a positioning chart relative to your competitors in the industry. The axes of the positioning chart are up to you, but I like to use cost and quality. Are you low cost but a high quality or high quality but high cost?

When creating your brand, it’s important to think about your ideal demographic and the service you will provide them. That then becomes the brand the archetype for your company. It’s also important to consider the name, of your company, logo, and tagline. They all have to look great if you want to be the best.

If you are marketing Executive Protection, you don’t want to market EP to grocery stores. You are marketing to the top 1% of high net individuals in the country or your geographic area. Remember that Executive Protection services are a small niche market. How successful will you be marketing Executive Protection services in Alaska? I have not done any studies, but I would guess that there is not much EP in Alaska, so you may starve and go out of business.

The purpose of a brand is not what you think about yourself, it is what the customers think about you. As an example, WPG does a number of security briefings in Beverly Hills, CA. Where we hold the luncheon is important to elevate or lower our brand. If I choose the high profile restaurant, Spago, in Beverly Hills, then I am creating an impression about my company that is high end and high quality. Alternatively, if I decided to have the event at a restaurant in Compton, California the impact of the low rent location would deteriorate my brand. No high net worth person would even show up. All of our actions every day will either lower or raise the brand.

“Remember the ‘brand’ is not what you think about you, it is what your customers say to other people.”

So do you want to be the Rolls-Royce of protection or the Ralph’s grocery store of Executive Protection? The Rolls-Royce brand alone is worth 60 million dollars.

Business Lifecycles for Executive Protection Companies

Where are you at in your business lifecycle or do you even know? Knowing where your business stands will help you predict problems that are natural to each stage. Just as diapers are a typical problem for a toddler, business development can be a challenge from infancy to the young adult business lifecycle. Each business lifecycle is a transition to a new phase where you will encounter new problems & issues. The key to minimizing stress, get formal business training, & optimize growth to be prepared.

There are ten stages of a business as per my Tony Robbins Business Mastery training.

Birth – The most uncertain and exciting stage. This is where you take the most risk and bet against the odds. Statistics show 96% of businesses will fail within the first 10 years and only 40% of businesses are profitable. 30% are losing money & don’t even know about it.

Infancy– You trying to survive, cash flow is extremely important at this stage. You are running most of the operations, doing protection details, marketing, etc. As you start valuing your time differently, it is most likely you will hire your first full-time employee to assist.

Toddler– You are the still the core person that making key decisions. The business starts to walk and talk on its own. You might still experience some cash flow instability. You are being reactive and managing by crisis, plugging holes in the areas where you are weak in.

Teenager– You begin to grow. The crises are created by the lack of management business skills. Cash flow is less of a problem. You build a website but have no SEO. You become over confident. You start developing a team to manage the business. More means better. Focus on getting some business skills vs a handgun class.

Young Adult– You start to settle down and get serious. You make better-committed choices. You start to focus more on business systems. You have a re-birth of your identity and what services you offer. You start looking at long-term goals and success. You need to get out of doing protection details and trust your team to do them. Invest on your business skills & training.

Zone of Maturity & Maximization– You begin to reap the rewards of you company. You develop a system of business management. You start becoming a business owner instead of an operator. You are no longer working daily protection details. This is when you have a full management team in place. An HR Director, Vice President’s of operations, accounting, business development, a marketing team, in-house training of your own and outside security. At this stage, you are developing ways to serve your clients with better service. Sales and profit are growing. You have more than the average 5% of growth in the security industry. Your gross margins and net profit are excellent. You have SEO/social media & formal marketing plan. This is the time to have an exit strategy and possible sell not when it starts going downhill or the next life cycle.

Mid-Life Evaluation– Things begin to start breaking down. You need to innovate. Sometimes you are unaware this is going on because you are in denial believing the maximization stage will last forever. The lack of business skills starts to show as things deteriorate. Small operational & business details go unmanaged. You need to assess and evaluate if you can rejuvenate the company or sell it. New gross revenues are slow. Sell before you get to this stage!

Aging– State of denial. You begin to blame or attack others in your business. The talented employees begin to leave. You identify yourself as the victim. The business breakdown accelerates. You don’t hire high-paid business educated employees with a business experience. Growth is stagnant or non-existent. If you sell you will not get the price you think it is worth. What your ego thinks it is worth vs sound business valuation is totally different.

Institutionalization– Your business is barely alive. No innovation. You are coasting on what you think you used to be. Your brand has been deteriorating and you are completely oblivious to the current state of the business. You are running high personal expenses through the business. Credit card debt is starting to mount to pay bills. You are losing client/customers.

Death– No one supports you. You cannot sell your business to anyone. Your old vision is no longer sustainable. You just took your business to the grave.

Top Ten Recommendations To Brand Your Company

When building a business, it is essential to take into consideration the way in which you will create and build your brand. In time, your brand will become your most valuable asset by setting you apart from other similar competitors. For instance, take a look at companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds and Microsoft, they all are remarkably valuable and successful because they have created and maintained an exceptional brand. Although your brand will be managed by you the owner, the success of your company will ultimately be determined by the way, in which it is perceived by the customers. Here is a list of the steps we recommend when building and establishing your brand.

  1. Create a name, logo, color scheme, & tag line to start & market your band.
  2. Create positive benefits to your customers.
  3. Connect customers to your company.
  4. Establish how you’re going to position your company in the market.
  5. Build the brand on emotional benefits to your customer.
  6. Start your brand on the first day of starting your company.
  7. Every employee should know your brand and maintain that brand on a daily basis.
  8. The brand has to reflect in everything you do.
  9. All services & products should reflect the brand.
  10. Don’t take shortcuts and dilute the brand.
  11. Appoint a brand manger that monitors the brand.

Why Do Businesses Fail

Business Failure Facts

  1. 7 out of 8 companies failed to achieve profitable growth, although more than 90% had detailed
  2. strategic plans- Harvard Business School (Bain Consulting Study)
  3. 96% of businesses fail after 10 years.
  4. 96% of businesses never grow to 5 million in revenues.
  5. 95% fail within 5 years.
  6. 50% of businesses fail within the first year.
  7. 40% of all businesses are profitable
  8. 37% chance of survival in the first 4 years.
  9. 30% break even
  10. 30% are continuing to lose money.

10 reasons businesses fail?

  1. The owners are unaware of the market and demographics they are in.
  2. Lack of company goals and/or a business plan.
  3. There is too much overhead and/or expenses.
  4. The business was started for the wrong reasons and lacks the experience or training needed.
  5. Insufficient Capital.
  6. Poor Management.
  7. Poor location.
  8. They don’t have a Coach.
  9. They over expand too fast.
  10. There is no website or SEO. 

Buying my first business at 24.

Although I was lacking any former business experience or training, through proper mentorship and coaching, I was able to buy my own business at the age of 24. The current owner of the company I was purchasing agreed to lend me the down payment and to finance the business to me with a low interest rate. I worked out a consignment deal with him in regards to his entire previous inventory. Every time something from that inventory was purchased from me I would pay him his share. My purchase agreement allowed me to default on three monthly payments per year for the first five years, if I did not make enough revenue for that month’s payment. At the end of five years I was required to pay back any payments that I was unable to make over that time. This was a dream come true considering I was only 24 years old, had no money, no previous experience and no business education. Five years later I sold that business and was afforded the same opportunity again with a second business. Overall, both businesses turned out to be successful and profitable, and thus started my journey in life as an entrepreneur.

The World Protection Group, Inc. – 2001 to the present

In 2001 I started The World Protection Group, Inc. As the business started to grow, I began to realize I needed to have formal business school training. I went back to Wharton University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. and graduated in 2007. Getting a formal business education from the world’s top business school has helped me to take my business to the next level. Since the founding of the World Protection Group in 2001, it has expanded from 1 to 6 states with offices in Beverly Hills, Scottsdale, Az., New York City, and Mexico City and employs over 200 security professionals.

14 steps to buy a business.

  1. Make sure you buy a business that is right for you and you understand that business.
  2. Train in negotiations.  Every day you should be negotiating & will need it to get the best deal when buying a business.
  3. Go on the SBA web site and use the resources to help you.  Consider applying for an SBA loan.
  4. Start a relationship with a business friendly bank.  Get a line of credit once you buy the business.
  5. Make sure you don’t over pay on the purchase price.
  6. Get the owner to finance the business.
  7. Get a professional to value the business.
  8. Hire the best finance experts to help you understand & interpret the financials statements of the business you are thinking of purchasing.
  9. Don’t buy on emotions.
  10. Do market research and competitor research to understand the market you are thinking about buying into.
  11. Put together a business plan & SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, to make sure the business is right for you.
  12. Make sure you have great legal advice and a solid agreement with the owner.