By Harlan (Hucky) Austin
Although the accumulation of great wealth is a good thing, it does not come without certain concerns. Basically, the more an individual has the more they have to lose. This is where executive protection comes in. In most cases high net worth individuals who earn over $500,000 per year have already begun to take certain measure to protect their wealth including advanced security systems on their homes and vehicles.
In some cases high net worth individuals hire executive protection companies to provide armed officers to stand static posts at the home and or office.
The problem is that wealthy and famous people can often create enemies on their way to the top, or simply being on the top causes others to want to do them harm. Living a high profile life or having a position of power can also put a person at odds with masses of people or individuals that do not agree with policy and business decisions or with a stance one has taken on controversial issues.
There have been a number of cases where actors have been subject to stalkers who mean them harm simply because of a character they portrayed in a movie. For example, Jodie Foster was stalked by John Hinckley Jr. after she played the role of a young prostitute in the movie Taxi Driver. Hinckley followed Foster to Yale University and enrolled in writing classes just to be near her.
In an attempt to gain her love and respect, Hinckley stalked President Carter with intentions to assassinate him, but never carried out this plan. In 1981 Hinckley did attempt to assassinate President Reagan.
The rich and famous are aware of their vulnerability and most are open to the possibility of using executive protection. The interesting thing is that most people whom have successfully acquired great sums of money have done so by being frugal. Therefore, it is usually not until they have received credible death threats that they understand how executive protection is in their best interest.
A survey by Prince & Associates indicates that high net worth individuals are concerned about being victimized by acts of violence.
Most high net worth individuals are not concerned about becoming victims of petty crimes because they have already taken measures to protect themselves from such nuisances by living in better neighborhoods, and working in places that are less hazardous, but they remain vulnerable to other threats which normal people spend little time worrying about.
Although I do not recommend the executive protection equivalent of “Ambulance Chasing”, there is an opportunity here for those looking for work.
As the executive protection field expands and evolves it is important to identify and create a niche. Consider looking at the news from a different perspective. When you read or hear about circumstances that place high profile people at risk, prepare an action plan for these individuals that includes your services.
Like any other business, executive protection is an entrepreneurial enterprise wherein problem solvers are the ones invited to the table. As you watch the news and discover these opportunities make a plan which identifies the need for protective services and spells out in detail how you will respond to this need.
Statistics and research are on your side. Those with an excess of power and money are already thinking about how they will keep themselves and their families safe but not all of them have decided that executive protection is right for them.
Wealthy people tend to see most things like a ledger which has columns for profit and loss, asset and liability. Your goal is to help them see that your services are an asset to protecting themselves and all they have acquired. Far from being a matter of taking advantage of a person’s vulnerability, your goal is to show them where they are vulnerable, and how you will make them more secure.