The ‘blank sheet’ approach to building a brokerage business
As agencies approach the fourth quarter, it is important to tear up current business model and start with a blank sheet. It would allow the owner / leadership to look at their market, their business model and staffing concerns in a fresh way. Here are just a few of the questions that I consider when I go through the exercise myself:
1) How can I remain relevant to my customers? From a strategic advising standpoint and a tactical execution perspective?
2) Where can I have an impact on my customers expenses, help them avoid risk, or get more out of their employees? Can I help my clients gain new clients?
3) What are the environmental issues to consider — changing and evolving regulatory landscape, client’s competitive environment, competition for labor, other political considerations?
Over time, the questions above have shown that the evolution of the employees benefit industry has brought to light how connected the employee benefits topic is to compliance, to a client’s administration and technology infrastructure, and to compensation planning. We are no longer a silo or just specialists in employee benefits — we provide business solutions in the compensation and benefits space. Further, how does addressing the topics noted fit within the capital budget that is available for a client to spend in that fiscal year?
These are the questions and challenges an adviser confronts in the working relationship with their client. The business and political environment will continue to be unpredictable and we all need to adjust and adapt — along with the clients — to the changes quickly. The business issues are complex from a strategic nature and to be flawless in execution requires a real depth of technical knowledge. This places enormous challenges on the agency as it considers what services and how to provide those services to their clients.
Change has always been the one constant in our industry and as I move forward throughout my career, I try to keep in mind a saying that is attributed to J. Paul Getty. It states, “In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.”