The Mitten High Fives OK YAC Part 2
So…we end up getting up in the front of the room to speak and after a really warm welcome all of nerves and shear panic just dissolved away. Will started off by asking the group who wanted to own their own agency. It seemed like an eternity before the first person raised their hands and then a few more went up. Whew!! There’s nothing to scare the living crap out of you like crickets during a presentation! J
We had about 50 minutes to present so we decided to break our presentation into three parts pre-ownership, years 1-2 and years 3-5. We really tried to scale it back a bit as there is so much to cover but we focused on two or three items per section allowing for some time for questions along the way.
In our first section on pre-ownership we really stressed the importance of having a conversation with your current leadership/management/ownership team to express your interest in possible ownership. Ownership can mean so many things to different owners so it’s open to keep an open mind. One big thing is that the current ownership may not even know that you’re interested in ownership and let’s face it…at times we get caught up in running the agency and putting out fires. This way everyone is on the same page and if ownership isn’t going to be a possibility then you find out now vs. later. If that is the case then you may have to make some tough decisions if that’s what you want to do. If it is a possibility we think it’s important that you come with a plan and an open mind. The current owners may be happy that you are interested but would like you to work on some things before discussions can continue.
The second point was agency valuations and first option to buy conversations. We decided to spend a bit of time discussing this as the agency valuation can get tricky for both sides. The current ownership may feel their book is worth more than the incoming ownership feels is fair. It’s so important to find the proper accountant who not only understands this process but insurance as well. That may sound easier than what it really may turn out to be. We also reminded everyone that this process is also very personal and mindsets are different for both sides so being level headed and calm is very important.
In years one and two we talked about the transition from sales to ownership and the mindset change that has to take place. You shift from working in your business to on your business. Those two letters are pretty important. Will and I struggle with this quite a bit at times and probably more so Will. When your sole focus has been sales and selling to shift into administration, HR, technology, accounting and marketing is really tough. He’s worked so hard to form relationships, trust and respect of his clients it’s hard to shift some of those duties to others.
Stay tuned for Part 3