What does your brand stand for? Why do you do what you do?

This isn’t just some nice-to-have, feel-good idea that marketing people say you must have for your business to “connect with the people.”

You need to know this because the going is going to get tough. If you don’t have a strong driving purpose and vision behind your work, you will struggle to keep up and be tempted to give up when things get difficult. You can’t just keep grinding out the work day after day, hoping that’s what will “take your business to the next level.”

It ain’t gonna happen that way.

You need people on your team who believe in your purpose and vision and want to be a part of it. You need to delegate to these people. If you’re not a delegator, it’s time to learn. When you share your ideas with others and let them develop the skills, ideas, and processes—whatever “it” is you need to delegate—you free up your calendar to instead spend time on business-building activities.

Until you learn to share the load and delegate your day-to-day work to someone else, you risk burning yourself out and squashing your dream. Passion cannot outwork growing demands and stress.

If you’re operating from a place of pure determination, you need to do things differently to change the path of your business. Relying solely on thoughts swirling around in your head to create a new version of your business is not enough.

No offense to you and your ideas, but development and execution are always better with multiple inputs. When relying singularly on your thoughts, you will only grow as far as your current abilities.

When you must share, explain, and defend your thinking, you engage in the critical step of improving the ideas. Soliciting involvement and feedback from people in your circle—peers, vendors, partners, and coaches – takes your ideation to the next level.

With combined suggestions, guidance, tools, and accountability, you will get farther than you ever would on your own. How far you take it and grow is up to you. The cycle of gathering input, delegating, and opening up new growth opportunities is the same.

Start by defining all areas of your business

You can’t scale and grow your benefits business without clear definitions for others to engage with and take ownership of. Set your agency up for scaling success by defining these core areas:

  • Define your brand. Everyone should live and breathe your company’s purpose and value proposition.
  • Define your target market, so you clearly know your desired audience and how to reach and connect with them.
  • Create a healthy and safe team environment where people want to work and contribute.
  • Set up the team to take on other responsibilities. Establish roles and processes so you can feel comfortable delegating.
  • Train the team so they can thrive in their new roles. They will need education and permission to continue learning and growing as your business does.

You can’t scale without processes

Recognize that what got you here won’t get you there. After you’ve defined who you are and how you will be as a team, you must rethink the processes and mindsets that got you to this point in the business. While they were good enough for the first phase, they likely won’t be good enough to get you to the next level in the business.

Processes can be daunting. But if your team knows the reason for doing what you do as a business (your purpose and vision) and understands how your clients benefit (your value proposition), they can help drive process development. No one knows systems better than the team who is executing the processes.

To ensure your team's participation in this endeavor, ask yourself, “Have I created a safe, healthy environment for my people to speak up?” If you’re not currently receiving proactive suggestions for improvement, you need to look back at the section above on creating a healthy team environment and shore that up first.

Processes are for everyone

Processes allow your business to thrive and provide the opportunity for growth and scale. If you don’t have these dialed in for ALL areas of your agency—marketing, sales, service, and leadership—you will lack what you need to grow and scale. You can’t be selective and expect growth to happen.

It’s common to see processes for account management and service, but nothing is required for the sales team. This is a major fail.

A sales process is arguably the most important one to dial in. Bringing in new business is the lifeblood of an employee benefits agency, and it must be done in a predictable way for everyone. As a great salesperson with high conversion and closing ratios, you must learn to transfer that knowledge and skill to your team. If your salespeople don’t also boast great conversion and closing ratios, that’s on you.

It means you don’t have a system and haven’t trained them to achieve the same. The company simply cannot grow and scale to your desire or potential if you’re using different methods to acquire and retain business.

Only training part of your team will leave others in the dark and unclear on what is happening, why, and how. You cannot grow with opaque operations and siloed training.

Instead, you will remain siloed and stagnant because your team isn’t sharing and iterating on ideas for improvement and growth. Your clients will experience disparate interactions across your team. If your clients are not compelled to sing your praises, you simply won’t grow in the way you want.

Extrapolate it out

There are so many ways things can go sideways, and you must control the process. Think about your operation and how everyone performs their roles today. If you hired another sales or service person, would that new hire alleviate the workload on you and other team members? Or would it add more burden to the team to babysit the new hire while they learn how to function within your disorganization?

Now, think bigger. If you desire to add multiple people to your team, open a new location, or buy another agency, what does that look like? If you don’t have clear systems that everyone is expected to follow, people will create whatever they want, and efficient growth will fly out the window. Similarly, if you’re relying on processes that supported your growth to the current plateau, they will likely lead to failure as part of a new growth strategy.

Whether you’re struggling to get started or amped up and ready to get on this path to growth, ask your team what they would change if they owned the business.

Grow with Goose

Learn how Goose, our business education and peer community platform for employee benefits professionals, can help you address your business’s operational goals. We want to be your ultimate wingman. ✈️


Photo by Krakenimages.com.