It’s been said, “when you know, you know.” This is true for all major moments in life: getting married, having kids, buying a house, and even when you’ll retire. But, when it comes to insurance agency perpetuation, you need to think ahead for that “the time is now” moment.
Whether it feels like that moment is months, years, or decades away, you need to set the groundwork now. These five steps will get you, and your agency, ready:
- Commit to a timeframe
There is still an element of planning in “when you know.” For many agency owners, it can be challenging to let go when the time comes. Setting a target retirement age will help you move forward with transition when the time comes.
Ask yourself these five questions when preparing for agency perpetuation
- Find your value
Don’t rely on yourself or those in your agency to determine your value – you’re too close to get an accurate read. You can help by tracking things like annual growth and keeping an up-to-date balance sheet. When it comes time, get a third party to give you a true valuation of your business. Look to local industry groups for guidance – for example, Ohio Insurance Agents (OIA) has a page dedicated to valuation and perpetuation. Don’t leave this up to a handshake agreement between you and the buyer.
- Get a commitment
If your agency is family-run, decide on a committed family member who would like to take over. Don’t assume anything. Too often owners see a son or daughter as the obvious choice, but it’s important to make sure they’re on the same page. If there’s no interest from them, you may find yourself with a less than ideal buyer.
Get advice on choosing your successor in our post on “Who’s Taking Over?”
- Care for your team
Prep your team for the transition and make sure they’re in good hands. Independent agencies are small businesses and well connected with their community. You don’t want to leave your employees feeling the need to search for another job.
- Care for your clients
Similarly, prep your clients for the transition. Introduce them to your successor, letting them know they’ll get the same personalized service and care from the agency after you’ve passed it on. Let them know you’re on their side and stay in communication over the transition to ensure they feel connected and cared for during it.
These last two steps are an essential part of your legacy as an owner. Your team, clients, and community are connected to you and transitioning away can be difficult. But, with the help of your agency management system, you can pass on that connection to your successor.
Find out how to best utilize your agency management system for perpetuation
Track your client engagement with features like email integration and streamline communications with marketing automation and prospect management tools. Using these now will not only help you improve client service and grow your agency, it will also make it easier to pass on your personalized touch.
As I talk with our Partner XE agency owners, it’s such client management and engagement tools that make a difference in their agency today, tomorrow, and for the days after they’ve passed it on.
Find out what our clients have to say about the Partner XE agency management system on our client stories page. See how SIS and Partner XE can help you prepare for the future: get in touch with an SIS team member today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jake Thaxton is the Client Services Manager at SIS, helping agencies make the transition from legacy management systems to Partner XE. In addition to helping agents successfully manage change, Jake provides ongoing support to clients. He is well-known among clients for his professionalism, knowledge, humor and sometimes even his khaki pants.