Running An Insurance Agency Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

People who run in marathons are a strange breed. They frequently enter into competitions they have no chance of winning, but they don’t ever slip into ‘it’s the taking part’ clichés either. Instead, they run their race against themselves. The runner’s time is far more important than who crosses the finish line first. Having known a few of these competitors in my time, my daughters are accomplished runners, I have grown to appreciate that part of the runner’s psyche.

Runners know exactly what success looks like and they have a clear method of measuring that success. They know what they are capable of, and set their expectations and goals based on that knowledge. We encounter many agency owners who never truly develop a picture of what success looks like. All they know is that they want to do better, earn more revenue and grow the business. They have no idea where their expectations should be.

What Is Success?

This only really becomes a problem in later years, when the time comes to consider the future of the business. Many owners expect to go on running their business until they are physically unable to get to the office. Others plan to retire and sell the business, but they can never decide on the ‘right’ time. Both suffer from the same problem; they never set their own definition of ‘success.’

Without a clear definition of your target ‘success’ it can be difficult to decide to sell or perpetuate your insurance agency. Instead, you just keep going until something external forces you to make a decision. In many cases, that external force comes along when your agency has dropped below its top value. This may be because you missed a golden opportunity or because that external force has created damaging uncertainty.

Chasing Achievable Goals

Either way, you have become a runner who passed the finish line, but kept on trying to catch a leader who had long since gone home. You have already missed your real success, because you are chasing one that is unrealistic and are headed for an inevitable fall.

That doesn’t happen to runners, because they know where the finish line is and they can tell if they’ve succeeded the moment they cross it. As an agency owner, you should also set clearly measurable goals. By defining your goals for the business, and identifying all that you want to achieve, you will know when you have crossed the finish line. You will know when you are at the peak of your achievements and you can plan accordingly.

The best time to start identifying those goals is now. Until you start planning, you don’t know just how far away, or how close, that finish line might be.

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