August 20, 2019 Comments Closed

Perpetuation: Taking A Long View of Your Business

Posted by:CLIFTON WARREN onAugust 20, 2019

The Talladega Insurance Agency in Talladega Alabama was founded in 1858. It is the third oldest insurance agency in the United States and probably one of the oldest in the world.

There are few financial services firms anywhere that can claim to have operated prior to the American Civil War. That’s what I call a point of difference! The average life span of an S&P 500 company is less than 20 years, so what’s the secret of this business surviving for more than 161 years?

The answer: hiring and retaining good talent. Talladega Insurance Agency is as a fourth generation family owned and operated business, and still serves its local community.

Change will happen

Like it or not, at some point your business will experience a ‘changing of the guard’ at some time in the future. Either you will sell the business, find someone else to lead it, or you will just fall off the map at some point.

Top performing business owners take a long-term view, to make sure their businesses continue to survive and serve their communities and clients well into the future.

Here are seven long-term thinking strategies you should consider:

Build a cohesive management team. The leadership team should share a common vision and mission. All team members should understand their roles and responsibilities, and their individual plans should be aligned with the long-term plans and strategies of the business.

Conduct annual business planning. Hold a formal planning session every year. Carefully document the plans for the business, monitor all progress, and review plans every quarter. Develop actions plans, and hold everyone accountable for his or her individual plan.

Develop your culture. The business should define the behaviours and language that make up the culture. Constantly reinforce this, and hold everyone accountable to the culture of your organisation.

Create a unique process. Every client experience should be defined. This includes all written and verbal communication. Set out to ‘wow’ your clients with every interaction.

Execute marketing strategies. Formal inbound and outbound marketing strategies will maximise opportunities and maintain an overflowing sales pipeline.

Build a culture of accountability. Make sure it is driven from the top down, and that it reinforces the key requirement: ‘Did you do what you said you were going to do?’

Formulate a perpetuation plan. It should outline clearly all leadership and financial matters.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with several financial services organisations that have taken a long-term view. They have been operating successfully from 50 to 100 years, and show no signs of slowing down. These organisations have implemented the seven strategies described above, to ensure they continue to thrive. On the other hand, I’ve also seen scores of promising financial services firms implement only a few, if any, of these strategies. These organisations have simply disappeared.

Even if you just implement the first six strategies, you will still dramatically increase the value of your business. If your long-term plan is to sell, at some time in the future, at least you will receive top dollar for all your hard work.

The founder of the Talladega Insurance Agency probably never imagined the business he started in 1858 would still be around in 2019. Would you like to leave a lasting legacy? Or will your business simply disappear without a trace?

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