3 Lessons Learned in 30 Years of Business

On March 1st, 1989, First Response opened its doors for the very first time, with a mission of providing a higher standard of security services and a professional atmosphere for both clients and employees.

Now, as we celebrate our 30 anniversary, First Response founder and CEO, Dave Foglio, reflects on 3 of the biggest lessons he learned in First Response’s years of providing patrol and guard services, electronic security and 24/7 local alarm monitoring to the Portland metro area.

Below, you’ll find the lessons and his advice to both employers and employees. Here’s to another 30 years!

Lesson #1 – Appreciate your employees

Being in the “people” business in both my janitorial company and with First Response, I had to accept that not every employee cared as much as I do about providing a superior service, and that over time many would let me down. I also learned that there are many hard working employees who, if you make them feel appreciated, will be most loyal employees an employer ever had.

Advice to employers: Don’t give up on “average” employees, they may be the most loyal and teachable.

Advice to employees: Try to understand the goals of management and the Company focus — you will be a key employee.

Lesson #2 – Recognize the need for diverse skill sets

I also had to come to grips with the fact that as my business grew, I needed to have employees with different skill sets, and they needed a company which could use the skill sets that they have. It was challenging because I wanted to have a team of employees who had been with our company for the entire 30 years, but that was not realistic with the ever-increasing updating of our software, procedures and expectations.

Advice to employers: Train and educate your key supervisors and managers.  Also look for talent outside of your Company who have already been where you are going.

Advice to employees: Ask for more training. Cross train on multiple jobs in your Company so you are more valuable to your employer.

Lesson #3 – Aim for a mutual understanding between management and employees

Most people want to work hard for a company that values them and their skill sets. The challenge is aligning the expectations of management and employees in a way where they both focus on a common goal and accept that neither is going to be 100% correct all the time. A successful business is one where management is understanding and accepting of some variations from employees, and employees understand that it is the responsibility of management to steer the ship in the direction it needs to go to stay relevant. And hopefully, we are blessed with more wins than losses. Here at First Response we certainly have been!

Advice to employers: Stay focused on your goals. Don’t let day to day challenges and obstacles deter you. They may slow you down, but regain focus and momentum. If you aren’t steering your Company, who is?

Advice to employees: Understand that your supervisors and managers are people just like you. They have an assignment just as you do. Help them to succeed in their job and you will be successful in your job.