How OfficerReports Makes Its Way in a Niche Market
Courtney Sparkman was working in sales and marketing when his father, who had recently retired from law enforcement, said he was interested in starting a security company. Sparkman agreed to research the industry and help manage the business.
As he dug into the industry, Sparkman says he was astounded by the levels of inefficiency he saw in scheduling security officers and writing, sharing and storing the reports from their shifts. “I was all about software and processes, but in security, no one was doing any of that.”
He started looking for solutions, and after a couple of other tries ended up founding OfficerReports.com. “I’m not tech-oriented, but I figured out how to make it happen,” Sparkman says. We talked with him recently about finding a niche and providing meaningful solutions for clients’ projects. Here’s what he had to say about the company’s success.
By Providing Software That Works
The product OfficerReports offers makes it easier for security guard companies to manage and schedule security officers, as well as collect and read the reports they generate on their rounds. The innovation isn’t in the technology itself — it’s moving a process from paper to digital. “It’s not artificial intelligence or virtual reality. We’re not trendsetters, but leverage current technology that’s out there to provide for our customers. And if you don’t have the technology, you don’t know what your officers are doing.”
The industry is taking notice. Sparkman says a property manager who was trying to get a problem tenant evicted used evidence it had gathered from OfficerReports data during a legal hearing. The tenant was evicted, with the judge telling the plaintiff: “Whoever is providing you all this electronic stuff, you need to have them at all your properties.”
By Touting Results Through Marketing
Sparkman says OfficerReports faces the same challenges as other companies that serve thriving but specialized niches: making customers aware of what’s available. “The biggest challenge is letting potential clients know we’re here and finding our customers,” he says. “We’re relatively small but we’re really committed to being out in front of people.”
The company has used social media and content marketing to get the word out about its product and what it can do for businesses. The company’s content focuses on the challenges security guard companies face and how to manage those challenges. Customers love the improvements in efficiency that the software offers, Sparkman says, and the company features those improvements in blog posts and videos.
By Growing the Business Through Relationships
Sparkman says he was involved with a business incubator in a past entrepreneurial effort, and since then has always looked for dedicated groups that support new businesses. As an entrepreneur, you only have so much time, Sparkman says, so it’s important to find kindred spirits who support you. “Business is all about relationships, but it’s not just relationships with the customer,” he says.
Working with the Louisiana Tech Park has helped OfficerReports make connections who can assist the company, he says. He’s met potential investors, innovation experts, legal consultants and other experts through the Tech Park, and says those kindred spirits have all been able to help him in some way. “You have to find a way to meet these people, and the Tech Park plays an essential role in finding them,” he says.