I’ve written before about the importance of planning. But for most of us small business guys planning is just so hard. We don’t know how to do it. We don’t know what’s possible. We don’t know what the elements are.
But if we don’t do it we won’t achieve anywhere near what we can otherwise. And with the future of many agencies in doubt being a survivor means we need to reduce risk by planning. So, I’m going to give you some pointers here.
The first element in the plan is setting goals. I suggest quarterly and annual goals with a 3-year time horizon. Too much can happen past 3 years to meaningfully plan beyond that. Make the goals simple. How much production do you want, either in premium or commission, at the end of each period of time?
What’s reasonable? Well, for inspiration go here and watch this 4 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uaquGZKx_0
Back? Good. Now, with a set of revenue goals by quarter and year in mind figure out your average account size. Now divide that by your goal number? This is how many accounts you need. How many have you got? Subtract that from what you need. This is how many you need to go get. Simple.
How do you get accounts now? May I suggest that you start from scratch with this? What kind of business does your carrier base excel at writing? ONLY DO THAT! Don’t waste time working on business that you don’t have good markets for (Duh, but you’d be surprised how often I see this). Now we are setting up to do “niche” marketing. Simple huh?
How do we get them? Buy a list and cold call? Direct mail? Trade shows? Advertising? Word of mouth? Referral? All of those work. Decide what you’re going to do and set weekly and monthly goals for activity. Also set a budget for what its going to cost. This is simple stuff but if you want more detail search my blogs – I’ve written in detail about all of it!
Plan for how many employees you’ll need and when too. Use your productivity per employee – quoting, servicing, accounting – to determine, based on your growth plans when you’ll need more people. Hire them early. Simple!
What else do you need to plan for? Do you have a good quoting system? Customer management? Accounting? Good. You’re all set!
In the next few blogs I’ll elaborate on a few of these points with the other critical things you need to do to insure your success (I mean growth, of course)!