Case Study: Growth and Succession by Collaboration

A Manageable Operation
A forty-year veteran of the commercial healthcare brokerage profession continued to increase her client base, as she maintained a budget conscious operation.

After many years of managing client relationships through caring and committed service, she realized she had many clients to manage well. With one full time employee, a part time assistant she had set a cultural precedence for all future hires.

The owner’s first team member was a neighbor, a nurse by education and career, who decided to exit the nursing field and was raising three young children.

When the owner learned about this neighbor, she approached with an opportunity to learn the health insurance business as a part time assistant. The owner’s neighbor accepted the challenge and they still enjoy a healthy working relationship today.

The owner’s son decided to work for his mother after graduating college. This addition was timely, as clients were being added and more plans were needed.

The owner’s son took on the role of designing plan options and working with vendors to determine costs.

Now a team of three, and collaboration with the owner’s husband who also sold insurance, the business was operating yet experiencing increased efficiency challenges.

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Building Trust and the Pace of Advice

The team of three became four, with an offer to another neighbor who was seeking a part time opportunity and seemed to have what it takes to help this team sharpen client management.

As the team continued to impress their clients, the challenges from lack of a document management process become glaring. The owner was concerned about the liability, a lack of confidence in her team to leverage their contributions as the agency continues to grow, and missing overall business plan and projections.

As the owner realized she did not have the capability to leverage internal strengths and efficiencies, she hired two consultants; a business growth consultant and FIREPOWER Teams, Workforce Strategies consultant.

The owner was strict about managing her checkbook, and she worked separately with each consultant to resolve her growth pains. Random and separate touch points are not optimal for managing growth, however both consultants agreed to help our shared client.

Without collaboration for four years, each consultant provided as much advice and resolution to managing growth as the owner’s budget would allow. FIREPOWER Teams defined team roles to provide a framework for realistic contributions by each member.

The broad view of her business was overseen by the succession consultant, with recommendations for timing of actions that will stabilize the business. Over four years, the owner built a trust relationship with both consultants.

Our patience was important, as she engaged advice according to her needs. The ongoing advice of her consulting team provided knowledge that helped her to prioritize and maintain her business growth momentum.

A New Pace for Growth

At some point, an owner’s mindset changes. The tenure of their career, the day-to -day management of the business, and the oversight of team contributions, seems to drain their energy and take precedence over a strong desire for higher level work. This is when our client got serious.

2019 marked a year of great transition and success for our business owner client. She decided to pull her two trusted advisors together to frame the future of the company.

The owner will take on a new role of PR, speaking, and executive consulting, and we had one year to prepare the team, the operation, and revenue to land the business in a strong internal and financial standing. The team included her son, who will purchase the business in 2021.

Team roles and responsibilities were updated and leveraged to match personal strengths. The team experienced new alignment of their roles with the growth plan, and they were able to increase their contribute to growth.

Collaboration was strengthened to ensure client processes were timely and accurate. Technology was improved to support data storage and client relationship management. Revenue was projected and targets confirmed, to ensure a unified focus on growth.

The year culminated in celebration that the team was able to manage annual pressure in Q4 to enroll and renew clients. The strength of the team, their full engagement in the client processes and their ability to envision a personal contribution to growth made it possible and enjoyable to hit their revenue target.