As a customer, do you ever see a business that is in such obvious need of fixing, or see a huge opportunity for improvement, that you just shake your head and wonder what in the world the owner is doing? How can they possibly miss this?!

If they would just offer (this feature), I would pay a premium!   


How can they continue to let that person be their front-line representative?! They are losing business as a result and don’t even know it.


Do they have any idea how antiquated their model is? If I started competing with them tomorrow, they would be out of business by the end of the year.

Distance can provide clarity

The thing is, from the distance of a consumer or outsider, it is often much easier to see the vulnerabilities or missed opportunities of someone else’s business. Sometimes those vulnerabilities and missed opportunities seem to apply to an entire industry.

This last point was reinforced through a conversation I had with someone brand new to the insurance industry. This gentleman had spent 20 years in another industry and was brought into an independent agency with the task of “making them relevant again.”

After just a few months in our industry and 400 hours of research and analysis (believe me, he analyzed every aspect of our industry thoroughly), here is a partial summary of said research and analysis of six vulnerabilities that could bring benefits businesses down:

  1. The brokers chasing individual and small group business are “dead men walking.”
  2. The industry is rapidly aging and filled with (primarily) men who had an amazing run of luck over the past 25+ years.
  3. Most brokers know little to nothing about how to truly run a business.
  4. Most owners are “cowboys” who will not be able to meet the consultative, technological, and cultural changes required in today’s business world.
  5. Providing quotes and reactively responding to client requests, and calling that “customer services” isn’t going to cut it.
  6. Because most owners don’t have a “business owner” mindset, they will be slow to execute any real or meaningful change that the marketplace demands (i.e., technology platforms, cultural change, structure/systems, mentorship, accountability, and marketing), making them like the dinosaurs…extinct.

Is he right or wrong?

Is that an overly harsh assessment? I don’t think so. I think it fairly and accurately describes some of our fundamental vulnerabilities as an industry.

Every one of the questions I asked above could be applied to almost every agency’s business model. In particular, the last question/observation I mention above should scare the hell out of you.

Do they have any idea how antiquated their model is? If I started competing with them tomorrow, they would be out of business by the end of the year.

Who is asking this question and making this observation of your business? Is it one of your employees who could go out on their own tomorrow? Is it a forward-thinking competitor? Or is it somebody you can’t even see?

When opportunity knocks, answer

It’s safe to assume that somewhere there is someone (intentionally or by accidental observation) evaluating this industry in general and your business specifically. And what they see may have a bright neon sign above it flashing “OPPORTUNITY!!”

With such obvious opportunity, they may now be plotting to take over. Kind of a scary thought, isn’t it?

Instead of being paralyzed by that fear, capitalize on the industry's vulnerability yourself. As best you can, step back and analyze your agency and this industry with the eyes of an outsider (if I were you, this would include asking clients/prospects to offer a critique).

Do so, and you can be the one putting your competitors out of business by the end of the year.

To get your business on the right path and to be on top of your industry and your competitors, grab our ebook Five Surefire Ways to Grow Your Benefits Business.

Five Surefire Ways to Grow Your Benefits Business


Photo by gearstd