Starting From Scratch.

AuthorDeapo, Jamie

* Recently the question came up whether it was possible to successfully start an agency from scratch. I believe the answer is it is possible just not highly probable.

The chances of someone with no previous experience successfully creating a viable insurance agency from scratch are miniscule and fraught with many roadblocks and issues.

Having some insurance experience along with some well thought out planning increases the chance for success greatly. That said this is still a fairly high risk venture requiring total commitment.

Although an insurance agency can be run initially with minimal expense there still will be some expenses that can't be avoided. Do you have the funds necessary in the beginning to pay those expenses? How long can you, the owner, go with little or no income coming in? Knowing what expenses there will be and when you can anticipate revenue coming in is an important part of the pre-planning in advance of going forward.

There are some initial decisions to be made about how you will operate your agency. Will you run it from your home, a work space you can rent or an actual office space? Who will answer incoming calls and assist with helping people when you are unavailable or helping someone else? There are some very good virtual assistants or receptionists available and if you choose to use that type of service you'll need to figure that cost in to your startup costs. Having someone to take incoming calls is very important because you will be working very hard to create interest in working with you and you don't want someone calling in to get a voice message if you can help it.

You need to establish what type of agency you will be and who the potential clients you want to work with are. Will you write all lines of business, personal and commercial or do you want to focus just on one or the other? Do you want to specialize or work exclusive in certain types of clients? In personal insurance it may be affluent policyholders, in commercial lines you might specialize in certain types of business especially if you have prior experience and knowledge in those types of businesses.

Another big question is how you will attract the attention and interest of the type of customer you are looking to write. Do you have skills in marketing or using social media and online advertising to attract potential clients? Are there networking opportunities you can take advantage of because of the areas you plan to specialize in? Don't be afraid...

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