I was recently speaking with another broker, who was working on starting up his own business and becoming an Authorised Representative. He was struggling with figuring out multiple aspects of running a business as he had never owned or managed a business before.
In the last 6 months since I started my business, I faced these same challenges. While I wasn’t going in blind, setting up a business from scratch is a challenging experience. There are so many small details to do, many of which you may not even have considered important.
To help people like this new broker, I would like to share what I have learnt and my tips for those starting their own insurance broker business. This is part one of a two-part series covering my experiences, and this covers everything business based from mentors to marketing.
Here are my top 6 business based tips for setting up a new insurance broker business.
Surround yourself with the right people.
Networking is a crucial part of doing business. One good lead from a colleague can lead to a multitude of clients coming into your business. Having a network of people who are in the same industry and who can mentor you is an amazing resource. Joining your local chamber of commerce is a great way to start building your network and company reputation. It’s also a great way to generate leads and gain clients.
Know when to get outside help
Starting a new company is a world of new experiences. Some of which can leave you out of your depth and struggling to keep your head above water. If you are putting in your all but aren’t getting any traction, talk to your contacts and ask for help in areas where you need help and get their advice on how to proceed and how they tackled the same or a similar issue. If you can’t figure something out on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Pay special attention to marketing – Leverage social media.
It used to be you won’t succeed in business without a website, but times have changed and now if you want your company to succeed you need a social media presence. Social media is a key part of marketing, and it is also the main platform where you can build your company’s reputation. When choosing what platforms to utilise, Facebook is a good basic starter, but to target your audience further, look at what platforms people from your industry are using and use them to promote your business. It’s also important to keep up to date with the new platforms that are coming into being regularly. If it looks like your target audience could use a platform in the future, create an account, so your brand has a presence on it. Even if you don’t use it straight away, it is important to own your brand’s real estate and name on the platform.
Get a coach/virtual coach
If you are struggling in a certain area or skill set, getting a coach to help you in the area is a good idea. Having a coach on hand gives you someone to learn from and help plan your business steps in the future. While having a physical coach that you can bounce ideas off is ideal, there are a multitude of virtual coaches who are just as effective. My personal favourite coaches are Gary Vaynerchuck for social media & branding and Tony Robbins for life & business strategy, both of which you can find on YouTube and via Podcasts.
Accept that learning more equals earning more
In life, you never stop learning, and it’s the same when in business. Taking the time to upskill and update your knowledge means that you have the most recent and up to date industry information. This means that your clients get the best outcome and you can target areas that were previously out of reach to you. Virtual courses on websites Lynda are a great way to pick up a new skill, quickly and cheaply. My philosophy is “when I’m not earning, I’m learning.”
Owning a small business is stressful. Take the time to practice mindfulness and de-stress. Try taking a single minute to focus solely on your breathing, letting go of the stress and clearing your mind. There are multiple different mindfulness and meditation techniques available online for you to try and find the best ones for you. Personally I like go to the gym, have a massage or take a long warm shower.
Owning and operating a small business is hard work. Remember to take care of yourself and ask for help when you need it. Forming a mentor bond and talking to those around you in the industry are the best ways to figure out if you are moving in the right direction, and help you plan for the future.
Part two of this series will cover all things, clients, from finding your target market to building your portfolio.
I offer a 30-minute business review session. During that session I provide my advice on if and how I can help with any of these steps in your business. To find out more email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0401 109 324.