Don’t Leave Your Kids a Dinosaur
Planning for a change of ownership at an agency is a challenging process.
When you start to think about succession, you’re forced to take stock of your company, whether you’re entrusting it to family members, a long-time employee, or an outside buyer.
You don’t want to leave something that’s more T-Rex than 21st century.
If you’re at the point when perpetuation is a focus, it’s time to ask yourself some serious questions about the agency you built and lead. Is it ready for the future? Has it continued to adapt as the world has changed around it? Is it prepared to meet the demands of customers that will have different expectations?
I’m sorry to lay on a second metaphor this quickly, but your agency isn’t the forest and you’re not on a camping trip. This is not the time to leave everything exactly as you found it.
When it comes to long-term success, tech is the foundation.
If you’re in a position to pass the torch, you’ve enjoyed a great run. Take some time to reflect on your success. But toss away the rose-colored glasses, and recall how much time you spent, especially early in your career, on administrative tasks you didn’t love.
No matter what challenges the next year or the next decade may bring, the operation you pass on will have a much better chance of long-term success if it is an automated, fully digitized organization. If that doesn’t describe your agency at the moment—and be brutally honest with yourself about this—don’t worry, there’s still time. You can introduce changes that will be transformational in far less time than you may have imagined. And if you champion them now, you will leave behind not just a great business, but a legacy you can be proud of.
And guess what? That next generation of leadership, the one that will take over from you, demands this stuff. Believe me, millennials and Gen Z have no shortage of ambition or drive, no matter what you might hear when Boomers gather to complain about them. Fact is, when you grow up learning that a car can be bought with the click of a mouse or a new destination can be reached without ever consulting a paper map, you have little patience for tedious administrative work that is begging for a better solution.
Whoever takes over your agency will know that the right software can do things more efficiently and can create more time to do things most business people truly enjoy. Like building relationships that create growth. Developing a team of driven, like-minded individuals. Golf.
What’s more, the next generation leading your agency will have clients that are more like them and less, well, like you. Just as you’re deciding to move on to the next chapter, so are many of your customers. The people who assume leadership at their companies will also expect—demand, actually—that their agency makes securing coverage far easier and less complicated than it was for their parents or mentors. By putting the right technology in place now, you can be confident that your agency is ready to meet the needs of these customers.
I founded Broker Buddha to make insurance faster by replacing outdated paper forms and clunky PDFs with intuitive, online smart forms. Agencies that use it transform the renewals and application process—instead of labor-intensive and time-consuming, it becomes automated and incredibly efficient. Our users are amazed by how much this change improves their overall operations and helps grow their book.
After putting years of effort into building your agency, I’m sure you care about the legacy you’re leaving behind. You have long-term employees, decades-old client relationships, and a brand within your community. It’s only human to want it to endure and continue to succeed. Lean on technology now to make it happen.
Jason Keck is the chief executive officer of Broker Buddha.