“Keep humble and keep grounded.” CEO Q+A: Colm Daly, CEO of HomeSecure

CEO Q&A, Charity | Wed 17 Apr | Author – Business & Finance
Home Secure
Colm Daly, CEO of HomeSecure

In our next CEO Q+A, Colm Daly, CEO of HomeSecure speaks to us about partnering with LauraLynn, home security and balance.

Q. What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

Being CEO is not something that anybody can take for granted. I’m acutely aware that I am responsible for the team of people here in HomeSecure and that we continue to grow that team and offer them opportunities to progress – both as a person and professionally. In turn, we are responsible for the protection of our 14,000 customers and their homes. Internally, we prioritise having a keen and engaged team and are constantly striving to improve our customer experience.

Q. What are your biggest challenges as CEO?

It’s a balance of being aware of the day-to-day but also thinking about the next six months to three years. The team, that I’m fortunate enough to lead at HomeSecure.ie, is nothing short of fantastic – this means I have the confidence that those day-to-day matters are in good hands, while I focus on growth and new opportunities for the company. As CEO, I need to be continually questioning what we currently do so I can best steer HomeSecure to achieve its full potential. I am conscious that we need to keep evolving and adapting. We can’t operate in the same manner year after year if the business is to grow and strengthen our client offerings.

Q. How do you keep your team/staff motivated?

Communication and keeping things fresh.

People are more engaged when they are ‘in the know’ and understand what we are doing as a business. Like every young business, we have our rocky patches, but that’s when a strong team shows its true value. We grow as a team, we are hard on ourselves when we make mistakes, but we learn from them and avoid placing blame. Conversely, when we achieve our goals and reach milestones, we celebrate as a team.

Q. What are the challenges facing the industry going forward?

Knowing which technologies to incorporate into our system, while simultaneously knowing which aren’t applicable to our services would be a big one. New technologies are hitting the market at an alarming speed (pun intended), but we wouldn’t ever incorporate one of those into our system unless it makes sense for our customers and their needs. Our business is one of safety, peace of mind, and convenience – not shiny bells and whistles. Innovation for its own sake is novelty – we take HomeSecure and our customers far too seriously to indulge in novelty.

Q. What new trends are emerging in your industry?

We see Homesecure as a technology business in the home alarm and monitoring area. The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow at an ever-accelerating pace. There are currently approximately 26 billion internet-connected devices worldwide – this is projected to grow to 75 billion by 2025. Smart Homes are also growing rapidly, research shows that 80% of Irish people who have a smart home would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about getting one and 45% can’t imagine living without it any more.

Q. Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

Overall, we would always say this market is about home monitoring. That means a connected service within the home ecosystem that can add more elements and services, be it leak detection or health monitoring that can alert emergency services to someone becoming unwell. We aim to educate customers to see the benefits of a connected home monitoring environment.

Q. As an employer are you finding any skill gaps in the market?

Our recruiting focus is not on previous achievements or necessarily experience, we look for people who are the right fit for the culture we have developed at HomeSecure. Skilled and educated candidates are not hard to find – those that share our values and work ethic are.

We have a very low level of employee turn-over – this is not by accident – and we make sure we develop and invest in those people who have invested themselves with our business. Maintaining the culture that we have fostered strengthens our team, further reduces turn-over, and reinforces our shared values. HomeSecure will not be a flash in the pan, but a lasting presence in Ireland that our clients trust, above all else.

Q. How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking crisis and economic crisis?

During the economic crisis I was working as an operations manager for a pharmaceutical packaging company. I saw my role evolve to where I had to streamline the management team to negotiate with unions as we restructured the business. Our strategy and learnings for HomeSecure in terms of the vision and how our business model works came from that.

Q. How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

Currently, we are focused on the Irish market and, as such, we be exposed to any economic downturn as a result of Brexit. The main effects will likely be around our hardware and supply chain. We’ve been working with our suppliers for the last year to limit the possible effects of the UK land bridge not being available. As a small business, stock-piling is a cash flow headache, as is the extra cost of possible airfreight.

Q. How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

Outside of the usual metrics, EBITDA, cash flow and shareholder value, I take personal pride in the company we’re building. We are fully Irish and have grown considerably, despite operating in a very competitive environment.

Growing from an idea and an initial headcount of four to having a team of over 40 is something I’m personally very proud of – directly and indirectly we have generated over 60 jobs.

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

Keep humble and keep grounded.

Q. What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

It was nice to start our partnership with LauraLynn around six months ago. For every new customer who is prepared do donate €1 towards this great cause, HomeSecure will match it.

We have over 750 new customers who are now contributing to LauraLynn and we are on track to raise over €20,000 in 2019.

Q. What’s next for your company?

We are very proud of our successes so far, however, we need to be constantly questioning our practices and always looking for ways to improve. 15,000 customers will be our next milestone, but we will only grow based on our ability to maintain our current level of service to our existing customers.

Q. What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2019?

We are dropping the word ‘alarm’ from our business. Homesecure is a home monitoring company. Of course, we provide everything that traditional alarm companies offer, but we see Homesecure as an umbrella over the home. We want to complement how the modern home operates – not only on the security side.

Q. Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

We think it’s about time that we went out and let people know who we are. We have a fantastic team and a great story to tell. Our product and service offering is second-to-none and we lead the way in the Irish market for what we provide. We blur the lines between traditional alarms and the smart home and need to let the Irish public know that there is much more to HomeSecure than simply an alarm – much more.

We have over 750 new customers who are now contributing to LauraLynn and we are on track to raise over €20,000 in 2019.