Putting together a business plan when starting your own independent insurance agency helps you to:
- Think through the key planning elements as you develop your new agency
- Create a roadmap for how to structure, launch, run, and grow your business
- Get carrier appointments and set strategic goals for sustainable and successful carrier relations
- Communicate your value to potential business partners and investors
A good business plan clearly and concisely:
- Introduces your business model and establishes credibility
- Defines the structure of your agency, including roles and responsibilities
- Lays out what type of insurance and financial services you will provide
- Identifies your target market(s) and where you will be doing the majority of your business
- Creates a clear plan for how you will acquire, communicate with, and retain customers
- Determines performance goals, forecasts costs, and develops revenue projections
What should you include in your independent insurance agency business plan? If you already have your ideas, you can click here and download our quick Business Plan Template.
1. Executive Summary
This is a brief overview of your company. Think of the Executive Summary as an introduction you would provide carriers and future investors that summarizes your plan and why you will be a successful new business. Don’t be afraid to boast about your strengths but stay concise. It is just a summary introduction after all. A good executive summary is typically only one to two paragraphs. Below are a few questions you can answer as you develop your plan:
- What is your value proposition? A value proposition is your elevator pitch. It is one to two sentences that defines how you address a certain market opportunity. Need help creating a value proposition? A good place to start is filling in the following blanks:
- I provide [product, services or offerings] to [target market] in order to help with [description of the problems your business solves].
- What significance will you bring to the marketplace? This is where you can focus on what will set your agency apart from competitors and why you will succeed as a new business. Depending on your situation it could be your prior experience, expertise, motivation for starting an independent agency, high-valued location, niche approach, or unique mission.
- How will your business be structured? Will you be starting this business on your own, with business partners, part of a support network, etc.? This is just a quick summary. You will go into much further detail in later sections of your business plan.
- End with: What do you plan for the future of your company? Remember, this is just a quick overview synopsis to entice people to keeping reading.
2. Products and Services
Go into detail regarding your current and future offerings. Think appetite. Will you focus on personal, commercial, life, and/or health insurance lines? Reference your history or plans for education to properly pursue your appetite. Most investors will also want to see how you plan to acquire your product offerings. This is where you can mention
joining the Agent Support Network of America (ASNOA) to help with your direct appointment process.
3. Organization and Management
Describe how your company will be structured and the people who will own and/or operate the business. You just have to answer two main questions:
- What will be the legal structure of your company? An LLC, S corp, or C corp?
- Not quite sure yet? ASNOA recommends consulting with an attorney or tax accountant to guide you through this process.
- Who will be in charge of what business function?
- Make a list and include: Name, title, role/responsibilities
When thinking of your organization’s infrastructure, it is good to lay out current staffing status and projections. How will you grow as a company to meet increasing demand? This is the section where you can establish credibility to carriers and investors. Detail your qualification and the experience of any staff. You may attach a resume or CV of key
players to provide the full picture.
4. Marketing and Sales
In this section you will answer key strategic planning questions:
- Who is your target market? Need help defining your audience into a “buyer persona?”
- HubSpot has a handy online tool that walks you through defining your target market: www.hubspot.com/make-mypersona
- Who are your competitors? Why are they successful? How will you do it better/what makes you different?
- What are your key resources? Do you have any centers of influence like a professional association, personal or professional network, or business partners?
- How will you attract new customers? Get specific with your answer to this question. You will want to indicate which channels you will be focusing on in the first-year vs five years from now. Will you use:
- Print marketing (mailers, magazine advertisements, billboards, signs)
- Digital marketing (emails, website, social media, digital ads, search engine marketing)
- Physical marketing (special events, cold calls, referrals, branded giveaways)
- How will your customers interact with your business?
- Will everything be done by hand in-person or will you have automated solutions online to help with scaling your business?
- What channels listed above will you use to communicate with your clients?
- ASNOA recommends a good mixture of the above channels in any marketing plan. Be realistic, what can you handle within your current budget and time restraints? We always suggest marketing in tiers and/or phases.
- Our marketing experts are always happy to help consult new agencies through this process. To learn more how ASNOA helps launch new agencies, go to asnoa.com/services/.
- If you want to take a stab at it on your own, you can start here: www.hubspot.com/marketing/marketing-plan-template-generator.
5. Cost Structure and Revenue Stream
Basically, any carrier or investor will want to see how you plan to make money. This section allows you to highlight how you will prepare for and handle significant costs. What are your cash flow projections, production forecasts, significant expenses, and performance goals? A budget is important for any good business to succeed yes, but a strong financial plan for how you will reduce costs and maximize value is even better.
Here is a handy guide from the U.S. Small Business Administration to Calculate Your Startup Costs. The guide includes:
- Calculate your business startup costs before you launch
- Identify your startup expenses
- Estimate how much your expenses will cost
- Add up your expenses for a full financial picture
- Use your startup cost calculations to get startup funding
Or you can jump right to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to small business
Last Tips & Tricks:
As you develop your business plan, try to keep everything within a SMART goal format (click here for more info on SMART goals). This approach is appreciated by carriers and investors alike. And, developing a business plan that is goal-oriented allows you to hold yourself accountable during your self-review periods.
Remember, keep things concise and simple. Bullet-points are a great way for you to stay on topic and get right to the point. We’ve put together a simple Business Plan Template you can use while developing your own plan. Click here to download your free template today.
ASNOA helps independent insurance agents set up their business plans before submitting applications to carriers to ensure the upmost success. To learn more about how we help with this planning process, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is made available by ASNOA for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not aim to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog, you understand there is no attorney-client relationship between you and ASNOA. We strongly recommend consulting a lawyer for individual needs of your business.