Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I am a big fan of the TV show “The Profit” on CNBC. It is about an entrepreneur named Marcus Lemonis (owner of Camping World) who helps turn failing businesses around, or takes mildly successful businesses to the next level. Marcus comes in and points out trouble areas or areas of opportunity very quickly, all while the owners argue and disagree, touting their “business acumen.” What I find so intriguing when watching the show is that my wife and I can usually spot the problem areas just as quickly as Marcus can. This is not because we are exceptionally business minded or insightful, but because it is that easy to see problems from the outside looking in. However, for those who are in the midst of the problems, it is usually almost impossible to recognize them for what they are. The question that arises from considering the above is obvious: what are we doing as a company that needs to change, and what areas can be improved?
As a company we are motivated and driven by providing such an exceptional level of customer service that the industry points to us as the benchmark. We know that we will continue to grow by helping homeowners and treating them as family in the wake of property damage. As we grow, we are challenged to continually improve processes and procedures to not only accommodate the growth, but also to ensure that we are continuing to provide the highest level of service in all areas of the business.
I believe it is extremely important to get feedback from our internal teams on a consistent basis. But it is even more important to take the feedback seriously and act on areas that need attention. Unfortunately, far too many businesses reach a certain level and then stop growing, innovating, and eventually plateau. What every business owner needs to remember is quite simple: growth is mandatory! Change is mandatory! What got you to $1 million in revenue will not necessarily keep you there, and may not get you to $2 million. Processes and procedures will need to be created, implemented, managed, and then amended to account for change and growth.
Far too often I meet with business owners who say things like: “this is the way we have always done it,” and “why fix what isn’t broken?” These mindsets are dangerous and will eventually lead to the downfall of their business. A perfect industry example is that of Loss Ratios. Years ago insurance carriers paid little attention to loss ratios on an agency level. Fast-forward to today where there isn’t a single carrier out there who doesn’t already have penalties for high loss ratios or who is not implementing systems to address them on an agency level. I have met with owners of agencies who have told me that they don’t care about loss ratios because they write so much business and the carrier will let them slide. Not surprisingly, some of these agencies have lost appointments as a result of high loss ratios and subsequently gone out of business.
The thing to keep in mind is that in business and in our own lives, we need to continue to grow and ask some important questions: What are we/am I doing that should be changed, and what areas can we/I improve? Honestly look at your business and/or yourself, and take the necessary steps to grow.
– Written by Aaron Getty