I have finally met the networking queen in my community. She is a small business owner who spends over 50 % of her time in networking meetings and another 20% on social media. She proudly told me that she orders 1000 business cards every three months and her goal is to run short by the end of the third month.
I met this person several years ago at a friend’s house and yes, I received her business card. I saw her at several different civic functions over the last few years but we never spent any time talking about her business. I was surprised when she called to set an appointment to talk about my services. The following story is shared with her permission.
The business is four years old and she worked for a similar company before she started her own firm. She used her retirement account to fund the business, then set up a corporation, rented an office and hired an assistant to run the office while she worked on developing a new clientele. Selling insurance is a very competitive business and she felt that the business would grow if enough people heard about it. Due to restrictions in her previous contract, only a handful of clients followed her to her own company.
Four year later, she is a recognized figure at most networking meetings. Her business is making barely enough money to pay all the overhead as long as she doesn’t take a salary. The marketing budget is the cost of attending networking meetings, paying dues, meals, entrance fees, etc. She is the proud owner of 6 shoe boxes filled with cards she has gathered over the past four years. The 30 % of her time that is allocated to working in the business is meeting with prospects, mostly over the phone, quoting rates and calling on people she met about purchasing insurance products.
We are now two months into working together. Handing out 300 cards a month has been replaced with phone calls as well as personal calls to her existing clinets. For the first time an actual budget exists which includes the necessary income to pay her salary as well as building a reserve account. A “most important goal” business plan was developed and is being implemented.
Our marketing consisted of taking cards from her most recently filled shoe box and setting up three, in person visits, a week. We crafted a carefully worded story about how she got into the business, why she is in it and what makes her different. She made arrangements with an attorney in her building to use their conference room to offer educational sessions for her clients, both personal and business. A monthly “important insurance news” newsletter will be published for the first time next month.
For the first time in the business history there has been a plan with accountability. We meet weekly for one hour, review action items and set goals for next week. At the end of the second month we showed some financial progress and hope to be at break even, including her full salary, by the end of the fourth month. In the second month she added more new clients than in any other previous month and retention has improved.
There are still a lot of hurdles to overcome but she insisted that I tell her story in order to emphasize the importance of getting support, establishing a plan and working it.
“It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world.” Og Mandino
At Strategic Duck we concentrate on applicable, affordable and sustainable support for our clients. Contact Nick at : Www. strategicduck.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.