The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Zabi is a fine example of "the entrepreneurial spirit" - an ability that we all need to develop if we are to be successful as entrepreneurs. I talked to him recently. Mr. Zabi Kator is the President and CEO of guardNOW a rapidly growing company that offers security services. His story is all about a questioning mindset backed by meticulous thinking and planning that can lead to success that eludes many, if not most new ventures.

This 28 year old entrepreneur turned his pet idea into a nationwide success, growing it from zero to five franchises within 9 months. What’s more he achieved this feat in a niche few would have ventured into because they would not have even noticed it. All of which make Zabi an inspiring example to would-be, as well as established entrepreneurs.

A Questioning, Exploring Mindset

As we grow up we stop looking at the world with the curious and questioning mindset we did as kids. We take things for granted, we don’t question, and we lose out on hidden opportunities. It’s almost as if money is sitting right in front of you on a table for you to pick it up, but its covered by a mat, and you don’t get it because you don’t question what’s under the cover. This is a sad loss because it is the inquisitive mindset that fuels rapid learning in the growing years and drives champion innovators at any age.

Sometimes we discard or disregard an idea thinking that it’s not big enough. What we don’t realize is that it may not be big enough for a large corporation but if we segment it, it can turn out to be big enough for a new, or small player. It may help a new company get entry into the industry from where it can go into other segments and grow bigger, like AMD did with the low cost chip. For Intel the low cost chip market may not have been big enough, at least initially. But AMD identified and latched onto the opportunity sneaking up on Intel’s market so much so that the latter was forced to follow on the footsteps of the former by launching its own low cost chip. But by then AMD had already established a strong foothold in the market.

His questioning, exploring mind helped Zabi identify a pent up demand in the security industry which is looked upon as a stable and matured industry. Zabi found that most companies in the industry were focused on supplying security to organizations. They did not think about potential individual customers who had a variety of security needs. These needs could range across the requirement for temporary security guards for a home whose occupants were out of town, or ensuring that wedding parties and other such special occasions for celebration were not ruined by drunken relatives or brawling cousins, or even calling in an expert to execute unpleasant situations like firing of employees, or for evictions.

Zabi spoke to people to learn more about their day-to-day security concerns and created guardNOW to address these needs for which people did not know whom to turn to. Many of these concerns were such that going to the cops would not be feasible, and trustworthy professionals were not available otherwise. With the company and its carefully thought through services in place, Zabi went ahead on a mission to raise awareness among people about unforeseen but real security issues that could ruin much cherished events, or cause greater damage.

Growing to the Next Level

Zabi received unexpectedly tremendous response from across the length and breadth of the country which convinced him of the high growth potential of his idea. It took him sometime to figure out how to manage that growth. He studied several growth models including licensing, franchising, growing naturally, or hiring people, and realized that to give the kind of dedication needed for growth, franchising made more sense. Although he also saw that licensing would offer him the opportunity for fastest growth but chucked it because he would have less control. Zabi recommends entrepreneurs who are planning to grow their business to consider franchising as a growth model. They should give it the due diligence and spend time in finding out the best way to put it together. He also recommends engaging with franchising attorneys and specialists who might be able to help put together the franchise.

About Zabi Kator

Zabi Kator is the President and CEO of guardNOW, a security guard company which specializes in nontraditional security guard services. Under Zabi's leadership guardNow has grown into five franchises across the United States in less than nine months.

About Nick Vaidya

Nick Vaidya is the Managing Editor of The CEO Magazine. He focuses on metrics driven experimentation in sales, marketing, and strategy to manage planned business growth. Nick has spent over 15 years helping firms like eBay, Dell, Microsoft, Trilogy, IBM, etc. as well as SMBs improve revenue & profitability. He conducts seminars on sales, marketing, and strategy.