As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Vranicar.
David is the Managing Partner and Founder of FBS Fortified & Ballistic Security in Boca Raton, FL. For the past decade, FBS has worked tirelessly to perfect the art of security with its 100% custom-made fortified doors and windows. In addition to making luxury homes and businesses safer through their doors and windows, FBS has incorporated bulletproofing technology that allows you to fortify the last weak link in your security: the walls. David has more than 20 years of experience as a business leader and an expert in home automation and security.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
My background is in home automation — I worked in the home automation sector for many years. With my business partners we created unique solutions for clients with very particular issues. This was way back in the 1990s (it’s hard to believe 1990 was THIRTY years ago.) Much of the technology our clients wanted just wasn’t on the market yet. My partners and I realized there was a market for technology in home automation that didn’t yet exist and we tapped into it.
Without bragging too much, it’s safe to say my partners and I were pioneers of the home automation industry.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I’ve made so many mistakes it’s hard to choose just one! Most of them are painful because in the end I ended up losing money.
At one point in my career I was selling audio equipment. I had a customer buying top of the line speakers. He was excited, I was excited, and it was a done deal. This was back in the day when speakers were humongous and took up a lot of space. We had guys packaging the speakers up to deliver to his home.
I said, “wow, these are going to look so great in your basement!”
Slowly, the smile disappeared from the customer’s face, and a look of panic replaced it.
“Oh my goodness. These won’t fit down my basement stairs,” he replied.
Sale canceled. It was a sad day for everyone. Lesson learned: make sure you have the full picture of what the customer needs before you start the selling process.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I always go back to “Learning to Lead” by Ron Williams. The author has made his way through incredible challenges. It very much made me realize that our entire lives are a classroom. Everything we have been through up to this exact moment in time has helped prepare us for today. For this very moment we are experiencing.
If we handle our problems one at a time, knocking out the smaller ones first, then we can handle the larger ones that seem overwhelming.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
Absolutely number one is protecting families. Especially in today’s world, there is so much chaos. We are literally living through a pandemic. With such economic and political upheaval that’s coming into play, who knows what that will drive desperate people to do.
Our technology and products work together seamlessly to provide families a safe haven. We make it possible for our clients to sleep peacefully at night — knowing that they and their families are protected. That nothing and no one will come through their doors, windows, or walls. We provide a service that does not exist elsewhere, and we are proud of that.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
Focus on doing the right thing for your employees, your clients, and your company in that order. If your employees are well taken care of, they will take care of your clients. If your clients are well taken care of, your company will succeed.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
All of our doors and windows are 100% custom-made in a factory in Italy. Due to COVID-19, that factory was shut down completely up until May 4. Customers put their orders on hold, and all future orders had to be put on hold until the factory opened back up and production continued. We did not have money flowing for two months.
Fortunately, the products and services we offer at FBS Fortified and Ballistic Security are unmatched in the industry. We do something that nobody else does. We have security doors and windows and the technology that seamlessly brings them together. People are willing to wait for our products because they cannot get them anywhere else. In that regard, we are very fortunate.
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I am a salesman. I love getting to know people and helping them solve their problems. In the past, many of my sales were done by literally going door-to-door. I love meeting with architects and construction firms, taking them out for meals, and teaching them about the amazing doors and windows we have to offer at FBS. Enter COVID-19. Sales calls and client lunches became non-existent. We can’t meet face to face to sell our product anymore.
Thankfully, in November 2019 I began focusing on my website’s SEO. Because of the effort we’ve put into SEO, we now have clients calling us based on the valuable articles they see on our website. We are beginning to have phone calls come in based on our website alone. It’s very exciting to see the results, and the timing could not have been more beneficial.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
I truly believe that the economy and the world will bounce back from this. We are resilient. Don’t get me wrong, it is a tragedy that so many people have lost their lives. But I truly believe that we will come back stronger as a country and as a world.
The pandemic has very much made the world feel like a smaller place. We are all connected and we are all in this together, uniting to fight a bigger cause.
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
More people than ever are working from home, and it’s likely that some companies will see the benefit and have their employees continue to work remotely, at least on a part-time basis.
Because people are at home more with their families, I absolutely think their minds will naturally turn to security. How safe are they in their own home? Are they prepared with doors, windows, and walls that can withstand hurricanes, thieves, and are bulletproof?
Think about the most-touched objects in your home that are total breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. Doorknobs, light switches, thermostats, remote controls. We can automate all of that and eliminate the possibility to pass germs between guests and people in your home.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
I think that for a long time, we will be more aware of our surroundings and behavior. Am I standing too close to someone? Should I shake my customer’s hand? Should I stay home because of a simple sore throat or headache?
I think about 9/11 and the permanent changes it brought to our lives like airport security. I don’t think COVID-19 will be unlike 9/11. I think during the influenza season, we will be asked to socially distance. I think employers will need to be much more understanding of people calling in sick. If you have a sore throat, stay home. If you have a fever, stay home until it’s been gone for 24 hours. If you feel even slightly ill, stay home until you feel better. It’s time for us to take care of our employees and their families and allow them to stay home and recover, not just for their health but for the health of everyone they come in contact with.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
I plan to continue to focus on things that are within my control. That’s all anyone can do. I can continue to work on my website’s SEO to bring customers to my site. I can continue to offer a unique and valuable product that isn’t offered anywhere else in its sector. I can continue to provide quality customer service to the customers I have so that they will want to provide referrals in the future.
Again, I truly believe our economy will bounce back, and I think it will bounce back sooner than people realize or hope.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
If, as business owners and entrepreneurs, we continue to take those risks and work hard, eventually we will find opportunities for growth and success.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. You can walk into a room and act like you know everything and have the best product — but unless you care — the customer won’t give you a lot of latitude when a problem comes up. Developing a relationship of trust and making sure the customer knows that you truly care about them helps them feel more comfortable with the buying process and knowing that you are selling them a product you truly feel will benefit them.
How can our readers further follow your work?
There are numerous informative articles on our work that can be found on our website at www.customsecuritydoors.com.
Our LinkedIn profile is https://www.linkedin.com/company/getfbs/
Our Twitter handle is @FBSdoors
Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/fortifiedballisticdoors/