James Wood

Do not get too down during hard times and know that hard work will yield great rewards. Keep your nose to the grindstone and to keep pushing forward.


James Wood is Owner and Managing Partner of Hunter Protective Services, Inc. in Burlington, Massachusetts. James Wood began his career in business at age 20 when he founded a real estate development firm that eventually recorded sales in excess of $20,000,000.00. Following the crash of the real estate market in 2007, Mr. Wood needed to reinvent himself and began his employment in the security industry as an account manager at a Boston security firm. Mr. Wood quickly rose throughout the ranks of the company and was eventually named Vice President of the 200 plus employee firm. Several years later an opportunity presented itself to Mr. Wood when the security firm was sold to an out of state conglomerate. Recognizing this opportunity, Mr. Wood joined Hunter Protective Services, Inc. as 50% partner and quickly managed to direct his loyal clients to the new firm. James Wood resides on the North Shore of Boston with his wife and four children.

Where did the idea for Hunter Protective Services, Inc. come from?

Hunter Protective Services is first and foremost a family operation. Many years ago, I was introduced to my business partner, Jason Steiner, through a mutual client who recommended that we team up to bring Hunter Protective Services to a higher level. I visited Jason at his home, met his family, and quickly realized that the partnership would be a good fit for all parties. Soon after finalizing our agreement, Jason and I began capitalizing on existing, longtime industry relationships and before long, Hunter Protective Services enjoyed a substantial footprint in the greater Boston area.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I have always been an early riser. My day usually begins around 3:00AM when I catch up on texts and emails that came in during the overnight hours. I greatly value this uninterrupted quiet time because I know by 6:00AM quiet time is very hard to come by. I enjoy emailing clients at this time of day because it shows them that even when they are sound asleep, I am awake and thinking about their account. Waking up early also allows me to effectively identify the challenges that will present themselves throughout the upcoming business day. With no outside distractions, I can then strategize on how to successfully navigate these challenges.

How do you bring ideas to life?

At Hunter Protective Services we approach all new ideas with an open mind. We value the input of our management team as well as our “boots on the ground” employees. Some of our best ideas that we continue to utilize today have been presented to us by our security officers. If an idea seems feasible we usually try it out real-world to see if it succeeds.

What’s one trend that excites you?

We have always been ahead of the curve regarding technology and how we can best use it to improve the level of service delivered to our customers. We continue to be lightyears ahead of our competitors in our ability to communicate important information to our clients in the fastest and most convenient methods possible. I am excited to be on the forefront of the latest technology to deliver a superior service to our clients.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I have always felt that I had to work harder than the next guy just to do as well as the next guy. I have had hundreds of miserable failures for every single success that I have enjoyed. That is part of being an entrepreneur – it takes a resiliency that most professionals do not possess. I was taught at a young age to never give up, so I have a habit of pushing through even when the odds are stacked horribly against me. I heard a quote on television once related to the entrepreneurial spirit that stuck with me – “in order to be successful you need to be dumb enough to think it’s possible and smart enough to make it happen”. I think that describes me pretty well.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Do not get too down during hard times and know that hard work will yield great rewards. Keep your nose to the grindstone and to keep pushing forward.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I can bench press more now than when I was 25.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Dream big. I heard someone say once “aim for the stars because even if you only make it half way to your goal, you’ll still be out of this world”. I have found this to be true over and over. When we are young, we set lofty goals for ourselves that may never be completely realized. I would rather almost reach an extraordinary goal than set low expectations for myself and reach an ordinary goal.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Our formula for growth has always been the same. We always knew that if we provided a quality service to our clients at a reasonable price, our clients will become our best salesmen and saleswomen. This has been true for Hunter Protective Services and most new business is a result of recommendations from our existing client base. To us, the most important page in our proposal is the reference page, not the pricing page.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I spent nearly 15 years building a successful real estate development business before losing it all during the crash of 2007. After tirelessly working throughout my entire adult life, I suddenly found myself penniless with a wife and four young children to support. Thankfully my wife remained optimistic and would not allow me to apologize for my failure in business. With no money and poor credit from the crash, I took a low paying job with a security firm in Boston. The next several years were very difficult and it seemed that we never had heat and electricity in our home at the same time. During my years with the security company I worked extremely hard and was promoted multiple times, eventually becoming Vice President. The company was eventually sold and the corporate offices were moved out of state. Realizing the opportunity and capitalizing on the relationships made with clients, I joined Jason Steiner as 50% partner at Hunter Protective Services and eventually brought every former client to the new firm. I have found that successful people often see opportunity where others see roadblocks.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think there’s a need for more companies that can maintain electronic security equipment. It’s no problem putting equipment in place but there should be services that regularly check and maintain this equipment as well and can troubleshoot when needed.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

We invest in a lot of training for our workforce. It’s important that all our employees are capable of handling different situations and training is a great way to prepare them. You’ll never regret putting money towards improving your workforce because they’re out in the field doing the work and interacting with the clients.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I am an old school businessman and I still use Microsoft excel for most everything. I designed an excel sheet for Hunter Protective Services that factored in bill rates, pay rates, payroll taxes etc. when we had only one account. At the time, the formula occupied just one line of the spread sheet. Today, that same spread sheet is in constant use at Hunter Protective Services, but the formulas occupy over 100 lines on 5 separate pages.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I have read many good books that have inspired me over the years. Most of them having to do with business. That being said, I have read one particular book every New Year’s Day for the past 20 years. That book is The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley. I first read this book in my early twenties and I could not put it down. Now I like to begin every year with the content of this book fresh in my mind.

What is your favorite quote?

Those who know me best know that I often quote men who I consider much smarter than myself while having discussions and joking around the office. One quote that I have used many times came from my father when I was a twelve-year-old hockey player. I would be reliving one of my games to him on the ride home from the rink and making every excuse as to why I didn’t score on a particular play. Often, at that age, I would do everything right up until it was time to score, then I would make a blind pass or make countless other mistakes preventing me from scoring. He would always say “you can’t score if you don’t shoot!”. I have found myself relating so many quotes from my childhood hockey conversations with my father to today’s business world. Another favorite is “Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle”. I find endless similarities between sports as a youth and business as an adult. I could go on and on about these similarities. I use lessons learned as a twelve-year-old hockey player every day as a forty-four-year-old businessman.

Key Learnings:

• Hard work will yield great rewards
• Dream big
• “You can’t score if you don’t shoot”