Have you ever met a person who is passionate about their business? I mean, this person is fired up about what they do and often their enthusiasm becomes contagious. Remember the adage "transfer of enthusiasm"? Last month's EBA showed us how important it is to have passion for what you do - to have a mission.

This started with Mel Schlesinger's article, Releasing your inner entrepreneur. As he says, "real success in business is generally born of a sense of mission." Have you found the thing that gets you excited? Schlesinger uses a good word for it - a calling. Maybe it is to help other business owners eliminate administrative hassles. Maybe it is to make sure that clients never have to worry about becoming disabled. Maybe it's to ensure that what happened to you never happens to someone else.

This mission will keep you focused on the needs of others. It might help you become a niche expert. But most importantly, this mission must be at your core. It needs to draw people in with your passion about it. You can't just quickly make up a mission and get away with it. It really has to be a passion for you - something that drives you. It can't be just a marketing tag line; people will see through that in an instant.


International scope

Talk about mission! I really enjoyed last month's cover story about Francois Choquette The globetrotter. His mission is clear - you could read it plainly.

How interesting it must be to travel the world and see how other countries handle employee benefits. Wouldn't he be an interesting person to talk to? This is also a great example of how mission can create a niche market helping multinational companies - remember, Francois mentioned there are only about 40 senior international consultants like him.

Today, as we undergo a major overhaul of our health insurance system, perhaps we should look to other countries for our own planning for the future and what our mission will be. It could be that our new mission is to create solutions to fill the gaps in a socialized system, or to find solutions for smaller clients moving into other countries. This article reminded me that the world is a big place, full of opportunities.

So, how are you going to survive health reform? As I read the article, How brokers can survive health care reform, about the different broker models, I thought of my practice and of the hundreds of other brokers that I know. I started my career as a group sales representative, calling on agents and brokers across the South. I've met all three types of brokers - the "shopper," the "full-service," and the "collaborative."

The collaborative brokers were the best to work with. They knew that their job was to bring everyone together - the client, the broker and the carriers - to achieve a common goal. Carriers were present at planning meetings; open lines of communication were formed - all facilitated by the broker. That was part of their mission. As I've pointed out in previous SoundOffs, good brokers and advisers involve all parties concerned. That's a good mission - to facilitate communication and problem-solving for our clients. Brokers can be perceived in one of two ways - as an unnecessary barrier to the process (not good!) or a valuable asset. Which one are you?

The passion that drives you will keep you focused on the needs of your clients and their employees.

Bryant, founder of Woodlands, Texas-based SB&K Benefits, can be reached at toddb@sbkbenefits.com.


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