“From Nelson Griswold…”
Recently I boarded a plane in Orange County, CA and flew cross-country to Orange County, FL, an entire continent away. Yet, in conversations with independent benefits agency owners on both coasts, I heard over and over that in both California and Florida – like agency owners everywhere – they shared the same four key challenges:
- Stay relevant to their clients in the face of ACA;
- Remain profitable with the decline in medical commissions;
- Keep independent when so many owners are selling out;
- Grow the business in the midst of so much disruption.
In just a minute, I’ll give you a marvelous shortcut to discover the proven answers to these agency challenges. So stay with me….
Selling for the wrong reason
A tremendous shake out is occurring in our industry. As the national firms acquire smaller shops at a frenetic pace, some agency owners are selling for understandable reasons. Some older owners are selling as an exit strategy, lacking a perpetuation plan. Others are accepting a too-generous offer from an over-eager suitor. As I said, understandable.
But too many agency owners are selling simply because they don’t know what to do next. They don’t know how to maintain and increase their firm’s valuation in the post-ACA marketplace. These owners fear that their valuation is at a peak they cannot maintain and so they should sell, now. Cash out and let the buyer worry about what to do next.
Those of us who monitor the industry and are champions of the independent agency model are extremely concerned about these agency owners who are selling out for what we see as the wrong reason. Ask them if they like seeing their name on the sign out front. If they like signing the front of all the paychecks, not just the back of their own. If they like being the owner and decision maker at their own agency. If they love what they do and plan to keep doing it for years to come. Any owner who answers yes to all the above is selling out for the wrong reason.
Agency success stories
I am so certain it’s the wrong reason because there are proven strategies and case studies of firms that are not just maintaining their valuation but increasing it dramatically. Many of these strategies are in my book, DO or DIE: Reinventing Your Benefits Agency for Post-Reform Success.
Tim Olson of The Olson Group in Omaha, NE, is one of our agency clients at Bottom Line Solutions. Working with us since 2013 on agency reinvention and growth strategies, Tim has grown his top-line revenue by 55 percent in just two years, almost doubled his staff to 19 employees, and had to double his office space. All while remaining very profitable. Tim has found a way to remain relevant, profitable, independent and growing in this brave new post-ACA world. His success and eye-popping growth landed him on the cover of the September issue of Employee Benefit Adviser magazine as their 2015 Benefit Adviser of the Year!
Would you like to know the strategies that Tim Olson is using to grow his firm 55% in two years?
David Contorno of Lake Norman Benefits in Charlotte, NC, is another progressive and successful agency owner who is growing his business in the face of healthcare reform. David has found a way to remain relevant, profitable, independent and growing post reform. In recognition of his story and success, Benefits Selling magazine put David on their June cover as their 2015 Broker of the Year.
Would you like to know the strategies that David Contorno is using to grow his business and earn market share?
Will Glaros of Meyers Glaros Group in Schererville, IN, is a veteran adviser who has experienced tremendous growth and huge success in his market over the past several years. Will has found a way to remain relevant, profitable, independent and growing post reform. Last year Will was the September cover story when Employee Benefit Adviser named him their 2014 Benefit Adviser of the Year.
Would you like to know the strategies that Will Glaros is using to grow his agency and earn market share?
All three of these celebrated agency owners – Tim Olson, David Contorno, and Will Glaros – serve on the influential Host Committee for ASCEND – The Agency Growth & Leadership Summit that will be held in Nashville, January 21-24, 2016. At ASCEND, you can meet Tim, David, and Will, ask them questions, and hear them discuss the key strategies that have contributed to their success.
In addition, you will meet more than 100 other progressive benefit agency owners who are working to grow their business and take their firm to the next level. Attendance at ASCEND is exclusive, limited to benefits agency owners, principals, and practice leaders, and by invitation only. There is an application process to ensure that all attendees can truly benefit and contribute in the unique interactive, collaborative process at ASCEND.
100% Performance Guarantee
ASCEND is unlike any conference or industry event you’ve ever attended and features top experts on business-building strategies and leadership. We even offer a 100% Performance Guarantee! No other conference does that. So there is every reason to attend and no risk to you.
If you’re an agency owner, please don’t sell out for the wrong reason. You can find the answers to your question, “What do I do next?” at ASCEND! I invite you to apply to attend and look forward to seeing you next January in Nashville!