by Barry Seigerman, PropertyCasualty360.com, December 21, 2017
Developing and Refining Your Business and Personal Plans are Essential to Growth
By now it's probably too late to make any major impact on 2017. The review of the year's goals and objectives and the must-dos and dealing with unforeseen events are, most likely, over.
Certainly you have already started and possibly even finished your plan for next year in terms of growth, profit, expense budget, and important organization and internal issues. These are critical, and are based primarily on financial projections.
Beyond thinking about the “same old, same old” tasks to do at year's end, why not consider 2018 as a great year for a fresh start? Think through the things that you can do to initiate and implement fresh ideas for growth, profit and fun in the New Year. Why not resolve to bring some excitement and new rewards to your business?
Consider New Objectives
If you have all your financial projections and metrics in place, put them aside for now. This is the time to stimulate your thinking and to inspire your staff to consider some new objectives to add to your business plan for 2018.
- Revisit and re-state your mission statement. Do you have one? Is it still the same? Should you ask for employee input? How about input from trusted advisors?
- Pick two of the most important things from last year's plan that you intended to accomplish but did not. Are they still important or even relevant?
- Decide on the two most important non-financial objectives you want to achieve in 2018 and assemble a team for each one. (These objectives could be anything from working conditions, employee benefits, agency hours and incentive plans that could energize your staff.)
- Do you hold regular monthly sales and marketing meetings? Do you really want to? Is there someone who fills the role of Sales Manager? Do you manage sales by results and accountability? Do you invite customers and insurance company people as guests?
- Do you conduct employee performance evaluations, and are they separate from salary reviews?
- Do you hold at least semi-annual and annual agency meetings, with lunch provided, to review the agency's progress and goals? Are you open to modifying these goals as necessary? Do you welcome and encourage active participation from staff?
- Does your agency help to support one or more local non-profits, and do you encourage employees to participate with local organizations?
- Have you scrapped outdated and obsolete marketing activities of networking (usually salespeople with other salespeople), cold calling, direct mail, giveaways (calendars, letter-openers, pens, etc.) and instead are committed to social media for PR and communication with customers and prospects?
- Have you identified your 25 most valuable customers and at least six of your best Centers of Influence and scheduled meetings with each of them?
- Have you thought about your own exit strategy yet — in terms of both money and what you’d like to see yourself doing after the insurance business? This is really a great thing to think about — I have thought about every year for the past 53 years I’ve been in the insurance business!
Whether your business is a start-up or established, you might like this additional idea: Even small agencies can achieve great results with good leadership, emphasis on teamwork and maintaining high esprit de corps (morale).
Create teams for three or four sales and marketing campaigns during the year and combine employees from different areas on each team to include one or more CSRs & producers from personal, commercial, life, benefits, administration, etc., to compete on everything from adding additional lines of business (account rounding), to increasing limits of insurance via policy reviews, or cross selling (personal from commercial from benefits and vice versa).
Don't keep score by premium or revenue: Measure the number of total “wins” — it's the team's activity you are trying to generate. At the end of three months, identify the winning team and reward them with a day off and a $50 gift card each.
Be creative. Engage everyone, especially younger staff. And remember what Max Dupree said: “We cannot become what we need to be, remaining what we are.”