Congratulations: you've failed. Falling down isn't just for children, it's for everyone. No matter how big your business is or how long you've been working in the area, you will fail sometimes. Perhaps you try a new insurance product or you hire the wrong staff person. What matters most is how you learn from and recover from those failures.
Take an Experimental Approach to Business
In Brilliant Mistakes, Paul Shoemaker argues that mistakes are a part of developing a business. Quoted in Forbes, he states that "organizations should not let them occur by chance but should actively plan to make mistakes." Your insurance agency should have areas of experimentation where you try something new, whether it's a marketing strategy or a hiring plan.
Don't Give Up
Making a mistake doesn't mean that your business is finished. Perhaps you start a marketing campaign that's expensive, and it backfires, leading to poor or no publicity. What now? Do you give up your insurance business? Of course not! You have learned something that does not work. That is a valuable lesson.
Plan for Learning
If you make a mistake intentionally or unintentionally, you need to analyze why it happened to avoid making the same mistake again, and better yet, to improve your processes so that it's hard for the mistake to recur. Improving processes can help with everything from avoiding clerical errors to improving communication with your clients.
Look for patterns in your mistakes. They will show you where your richest areas for learning are. For instance, if you have many people coming into your agency to ask about auto insurance and you don't sell auto insurance, are you giving them the impression that you do sell auto insurance because of a particular bend in your marketing? Perhaps the mistake is that you should be selling it. Use situations like this to help develop clarity about your business and its processes.
Learn from other businesses as well. What is attracting clients to other insurance companies in your area? Is there potential for you to succeed at their strategy as well? While monitoring other peoples' success is important, it's equally important to learn from other businesses' failures. According to Entrepreneur, "One of the ways you can learn from your business mistakes is by looking at the failed ventures before you."
In Case of Failure, Have Financial Backup
How do you become the best possible insurance agency? It's not through lack of failing. It's by creating support systems within your business that allow you to try and try again.
Every business needs a contingency fund. In addition to your contingency fund, you also need insurance to cover your own potential liabilities. E&O insurance will help you protect your business in cases where a mistake can become the basis for litigation.
For example, if an employee forgets to update a customer's address and, as a result, the customer's insurance lapses, you could have a lawsuit on your hands if that customer then needs to make an insurance claim. An error or omission can have serious implications for your insurance business. E&O insurance protects your insurance agency against potential liabilities such as this one.
We are here to learn and try again when you fail. Learn from others in your field through our networking opportunities for independent insurance agencies. Contact us today to learn more about our Alliance Convention and our many products for agencies, including E&O insurance.