Family business success is different for every family-run entity. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
To honor and celebrate our members who have achieved “Milestone” anniversaries, we are sharing insights into their business journeys. In our first highlight, read what second generation leaders, Todd and Brent Van Haren, share as they reflect on the 30th anniversary of SecurAlarm.
SecurAlarm is a second-generation, family owned business located in Grand Rapids. They specialize in providing comprehensive commercial security services – from cyber security, building security, and more. They proudly address the risks and concerns of their clients from physical property to business continuity.
Where and how did the family business journey begin?
It began in the heart of another family business. Our father, Pat Van Haren, began his career teaching but quickly realized it wasn’t his passion. He shifted to wiring houses and businesses with his dad who was operating a small electrical business, Van Haren Electric. It quickly grew into a successful electrical contracting business defined by high quality people and installations.
Gloria Lubben joined Pat and his brother, Brian, to launch SecurAlarm Systems, Inc as a subsidiary to Van Haren Electric. At that time, there was a gap in the market for delivering complex solutions with high level quality. They cared enough and believed they could do better in protecting what matters to businesses. This is why we exist today.
What’s been most surprising about your family business journey so far?
The generosity of other family businesses and how invested they are in seeing each other succeed. We have learned so much from our fellow FBA members through Peer Groups, events, workshops, and other connections. While each business is different from a family/corporate structure and industry perspective, it’s amazing the similarities and challenges we share.
If you could go back in time, what’s one piece of advice you’d give yourself?
Enjoy the time with prior generations. Capture their story and preserve it. It has shaped so many aspects of who we are. While some aspects might not be as favorable as others, try to understand and leverage them.
Also be intentional about including all family members (spouses, siblings, parents, children, etc.) that aren’t directly involved in the business. Family can be a huge strategic advantage and it’s important to keep everyone informed and engaged.
In SecurAlarm’s 30-year history, what do you see as the family business’s most important contribution?
Remaining dedicated to why we exist: We Care, So We Protect. It drives our decisions, how we measure success, and how we serve our community, team, and clients.
We are in a rapidly changing cross section of industries (construction, security, and technology) and we look to our WHY whenever we’re at a crossroads. We engage with empathy and a desire to see our team, clients, and partners succeed. We invest significant energy into making sure whoever we encounter feels cared for by listening, confronting brutal facts, and taking action on whatever is holding us back. Because of this, our team members tell us they are better individuals, spouses, siblings, friends, and leaders. Our clients trust us and lean on us for guidance.
What do you identify as a pivotal change throughout the business’s history?
Over the last year, SecurAlarm has embarked on a business model shift, which we are still in the midst of. We are shifting our focus from products to services because we believe security is so much more than technology and transactional relationships.
We want to align technology, procedure, and training unlike any other security integrator out there. We want to deliver personalized, comprehensive, and strategic plans and solutions to our clients, who we think of as partners. So much change is required, and it will be a long journey, but we know it will allow us to better serve our team and clients for another 100 years. Why the shift? It goes back to our Why, of course! We Care, So We Protect.
All photos are courtesy SecurAlarm.
This feature is part of our Member Anniversary Program. For more information or if you are interested in exploring opportunities to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Business Alliance strives to help family businesses with the tools, resources, and connections to help businesses succeed. Learn more about our resources including Leading Forward, Succeeding in Succession, and Navigating Governance that help to advance family business in our community.