Fall is upon us and the holiday season is quickly approaching. If you have not done so already it’s not too late to begin your insurance agency’s strategic plan.
You may ask, does my agency really need a strategic plan? The answer is a resounding YES!
Every agency needs a plan so you can tackle your year effectively and bring your team into 2024 with clear goals for what your agency’s focus is going to be.
Whether you have already participated in an Agency Assessment with one of our ridiculously amazing coaches at APP or you are going it alone, our planning guide is the place to get it done.
Year end planning is critical to understanding what was accomplished last year, where you may have fallen short and creating a great strategy for the next year to make sure you exceed your potential and can celebrate all of your accomplishments!
II. Understanding the Insurance Agency Strategic Plan
An insurance agency strategic plan consists of identifying where your agency is today.
We think about this like getting on the scale to see where we are at so we can identify where we need to go and how we are going to get there.
You will then want to get a good understanding of your metrics and reports so that you can build your roadmap. Make sure to involve key stakeholders and get team feedback to ensure that you consider your teams goals during the planning process.
Then you will go through the process of identifying your future plans, setting goals and how to engage your team and build excitement around the future of the agency for the coming year.
Then be prepared to execute and track those goals with supporting metrics starting at the 1st of the year. Don’t let weeks pass you by because you waited to plan….spend time preparing so you don’t have to spend time repairing.
Having a well defined plan moving into the new year helps you remain focused on goals and not stomping out fires.
You will be able to prioritize your agency needs and say no to competing priorities making sure to keep a list of future goals to consider for your next annual plan.
This will help create clarity for your team, keep you focused on outcomes and not transactions and provide a better customer experience when you are not spreading yourself too thin with too many competing priorities.
III. Why Your Insurance Agency Needs a Strategic Plan
The state of our industry and the challenges that agencies are facing in the current landscape requires that you have a strategy.
Hope is not a strategy and this market is not going away anytime soon. Now is the time to get laser focused on what means the most to your agency. Really sitting down and creating your insurance agency’s strategic plan will allow you to understand what you are going to need to do as your agency’s leader but also what is going to be required of your staff to support your vision for the coming year.
Agencies that are being proactive and creating trusting relationships with their clients are winning in this market.
You may be thinking we are so busy putting out fires that we don’t have the time to be proactive.
I’d like you to consider when was the last time you were in a position where you could be proactive with clients? Your answer may be surprising or may support my next statement which is “There is never the perfect time to make big changes and ask your team to stretch outside their comfort zone and try new things but there is the right time!”
That time is when you know it is for the betterment of your agency to drive your agency’s growth.
IV. Setting Goals and Who Should be Involved
When developing your insurance agency’s strategic plan it’s important to identify realistic goals and targets. Be intentional about your goals and objectives and ensure you don’t have too many competing priorities.
Stay focused on accomplishing objectives that drive your agency growth and create a better customer experience. When you focus your efforts on too many things nothing actually gets done. You can also overwhelm your team because they don’t know where to focus their efforts so be sure to do a few things at a time to make the most impact.
You can always add additional goals if you accomplish goals early.
Understanding how your team feels about the state of the agency will be helpful in your planning process as it will give you insight you may not otherwise have.
Utilizing our End of Year Team Planning Questionnaire is a great way to incorporate their input into your planning process. It is important to involve the right people in the decision making process but this does not mean everyone needs input as only you see the BIG picture of your agency.
Involve key stakeholders in the decision making and goal setting process but then deliver the goals to your team with a strong well thought out plan so they understand how they will support these goals throughout the year, how progress will be tracked and how you have fun and celebrate when you crush it!
V. The Role of End-of-Year Planning in an Insurance Agency Strategic Plan
If your agency already has a strategic plan or if this is your first time creating a strategic plan for your agency then you are in the right place. It’s important to remember that you want to begin planning during Q4.
Don’t wait to introduce a plan after the year has begun. This will allow you to optimize your year and use every bit to its fullest potential from the start of the new year.
Set time aside at the end of each year to really analyze your agency’s performance and conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. It’s critical to be objective and honest regarding your agency’s performance so that you can effectively and thoughtfully set goals for the coming year.
Look at all aspects of your agency’s performance from staff performance, customer experience, technology and financial wellness. If you have not downloaded our End of Year Planning Survey head there now to grab this useful document that will assist you in organizing your thoughts.
VI. Tips for a Successful End-of-Year Planning
After conducting a thorough review of your agency’s performance, share the results with your team and celebrate the success of the current year.
Many times you get to see this information and feel proud of the work your team accomplished. Be sure to give them the opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment and celebrate with them the wins from the year.
This will be important to give them encouragement as we will be asking them to set new goals for the coming year and may need to ask them to do some hard things if you are considering setting some stretch goals.
Celebrate the wins from the current year to get them inspired and ready to take on the challenge of the coming year.
Consider your team and what inspires and incentives them. It can be anything from a year end growth bonus to some awesome insurance swag from our online store! Gratitude goes a long way to build trust, loyalty and happiness in the workplace. We can all use a little joy in our day.
It is important to remember that even though your agency may have had their best year ever, this is a new year and a whole set of new objectives and your insurance agency’s strategic plan needs to be updated to reflect that.
The awesome news is also that your agency may have struggled and faced some challenges and it’s now time to hit the reset button and start with a fresh slate moving into the new year.
Each new year gives 365 chances to accomplish new goals. You and your team need to be ready on Day 1!
VII. Implementing the Insurance Agency Strategic Plan
Communicate the plan across the organization so that everyone is aware of what is going to be required of them as they step into the new year.
This will help them plan and mentally prepare to tackle the next steps. Be sure to assign responsibilities across the team allowing them to stretch themselves and potentially take on new responsibilities that will help them grow professionally as they assist the agency in its growth and development goals.
Don’t take on every goal yourself. Teamwork really does make the dream work! It allows your team to have a sense of ownership and also feel a great sense of accomplishment when goals are achieved.
Be prepared to monitor progress of goals and how you will obtain the metrics you need. Share this information regularly and be flexible to potentially make adjustments as needed.
Create a feedback loop where your team can provide honest and constructive feedback that allow you to make adjustments when needed to keep everyone focused on where you are going.
When making adjustments to goals be sure to communicate what is changing, why the changes are happening, if there will be changes to tracking of the data and how the updated goal will be accomplished.
Communication is key and when you think you have communicated enough, communicate again!
We recommend that you hold a Kick Off meeting with your team to deliver the plan for the year. You want to make this meeting informative and FUN!
X dad Insurance is hard even when we aren’t in a hard market. Find ways to have fun with your team and a Kick off meeting is a great way to allow your team to get to know each other on a deeper level and work more effectively with a common goal in mind.
You may even want to give them a treat and have one of our Ridiculously Amazing Coaches come out and speak at your kick off meeting so your team knows you are invested and committed not only in your insurance agency’s strategic plan but also in them.
VIII. Evaluating the Success of the Strategic Plan
Be consistent in checking in and evaluating your plan’s effectiveness. Depending on your goals will depend on the key performance indicators that you will want to be tracking.
Ensure you have FACTS to monitor progress because you can’t substantiate feelings. Analyze those results and measure your agency’s growth to determine when you are on track or off track with your plan. This will allow you to identify quickly what is working and what is not working.
Monitoring performance and backing that performance based on factual numbers will assist in learning lessons that can be applied to future planning cycles. It is never too early to start planning and making your notes for the next year so you can be prepared when the time comes again to begin the next planning year.
Keep your planning workbook handy throughout the year to keep track of important information you want to consider so that you can jog your memory of items that may have come up early in the year later in the year.
- Summarize the importance of an insurance agency strategic plan
- Encourage readers to prioritize end-of-year planning for their agencies
- Offer resources and tools for creating a strategic plan and preparing for the new year
Every agency needs a plan for a successful year and what doesn’t get written down doesn’t get done. Get to writing so you can set a clear roadmap to take on the new year.
Then share that plan with your team to be accountable to reach those goals. Celebrate and enjoy when you crush those goals but don’t lose focus because meeting one goal means another is on the way. Make planning a priority so that you can kick your year off focused and not waste a moment of a fresh start.
If you need tools and resources to help with your insurance agency’s strategic plan we are here to help. We have a whole course in our school that walks you through the process step by step or you can work with one of our coaches who can help guide you through the process.