We spent five minutes with Rob and asked him some questions about running a business.
How do I engage and motivate employees and keep them?
I only recruit people I really like, which makes a real difference. We have a clearly defined objective and work on sub-goals for each quarter. If you’re transparent about the business, where it is heading and what it means for everyone, you can trust your colleagues to “get it”.
How do I maintain and enhance margins?
Good quality, helpful service. Everyone says: “Putting the customer first,” and that is true, but I think great service in my industry is about translating insurance for customers and giving them options. People are happy to pay more for better service. Customers want to choose, not be told.
How can I put my prices up and keep my customers?
We are an insurance broker, not an insurance company, so we’re more often arguing to keep prices down for our customers. We keep customers by demonstrating that we are doing our best for them.
I’ve got this great idea – what do I do with it?
Think about how your idea changes things for a customer. It’s not your idea that’s important; it’s how it makes life better for others. Get support and advice from people who know the marketplace – and then go for it. There’s nothing worse than regrets.
How do I protect my reputation and enhance it?
Work to your values, and don’t compromise them, no matter what. Of course, it’s helpful if you work out what they are first.
What can I do about competitors who have an unfair advantage?
Reframe the situation. Is it an actual unfair advantage, or is it someone doing things differently, or have they been doing it for longer? Make what you do well the unfair advantage others envy.
How do I network to my advantage?
Don’t think about networking like that. Find people you like and then see if you can work with them. Ideally, see if you can help them first.
How can I shut off from the business and manage the work-life balance more effectively?
Sometimes you need to find things that will distract you from working, like a physical challenge. However, if you love what you do (if you don’t, that’s a different story), get used to it being life, not work-life. There’s no magic equation to balance, but caring for yourself within the mix is the key.
How do I cut my overheads and outgoings without negatively impacting my business?
Treat all spending like it’s your own money. If you wouldn’t spend it personally, don’t do it for the business. If the overhead isn’t contributing to the goal, then think twice.
How can I move my business to the next step, stop working in the business and free up more time to work on the business?
Find smart people to work with who will be honest and be prepared to challenge you. Always look to find your replacement in the company, then you can free up that critical thinking time to work on the business.