combsandco


Feature Friday: Business As (Un)usual?

Business as un-usual

Business As (Un)usual?

Guest Blogger:  Kevin Trokey
Original Post:  Click Here

I recently posted an observation on LinkedIn. In one 24-hour period . . .

  • We entered a bear market.
  • A significant travel ban from Europe was imposed.
  • The NBA suspended its season while the NCAA announced March Madness would be played in empty arenas (talk about surreal).
  • And, what may have been at the top of the surreal scale on any other day, a former vice-presidential candidate (Sarah Palin) sang “Baby Got Back” on “The Masked Singer.”

Of course, that surreal 24 hours has grown into an exponentially more surreal week with no end to the escalation in sight.

The questions are endless, personally and professionally. In that post, I offered some suggestions to maintain SOME level of personal grounding. I suggested we all . . .

  • Sit in 10 minutes of meditation
  • Go for a walk
  • Read something for pure enjoyment
  • Call a friend and have a nostalgic conversation (i.e., nothing about current events)
  • Just do something to restore a sense of sanity and control to your day

I encouraged us to all – Be safe. Be smart. Be balanced.

I feel these suggestions are still solid but, given the events of the 72 hours or so that have transpired since then, they only begin to touch on the significance of what we are experiencing. This is a much more significant health crisis than we knew even that short time ago. It seems clear we still don’t just how significant it will prove to be.

It cannot be denied; we are all being impacted personally.

But, what about professionally?

At the risk of seeming impersonal and insensitive, what about our businesses? What adjustments do we need to be making?

We see many government-imposed changes. Restaurants and bars are being closed or put on restricted operations. Schools are being closed or moved online. Gatherings of more than 10 (as of this writing – it was 50 when I started) are being canceled or postponed.

Beyond the government-imposed restrictions, many businesses that rely on “social proximity” (I know, not necessarily the right use of this phrase, but I mean the opposite of social distancing) have chosen to close on their own.

I understand the need to protect health and life at all costs, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about the long-term business implications of these decisions. How many businesses will fail? How many employees of closed businesses will never recover financially? Again, these aren’t life and death questions (in most cases), but they’re still very real.

A business “gray” area?

And, what about businesses that are either already virtual and remote in their operations or are capable of performing at least some activities without threat to others? By maintaining some “new normal” level of business operations, do they run the risk of appearing insensitive? Or, is it maybe their responsibility to continue operations?

Before I share my thoughts, you should know that our entire business operation runs virtually and remotely. Each of our team members works individually in their own office space. We are among the “socially-distanced elite” in that regard. While this arrangement does present limitations, it has prepared us for where we are today. Over the next few days/weeks, we’ll be sharing some tips that have helped us build a successful business this rather unusual way.

Here’s my perspective and opinion.

  • If a behavior puts anybody else at risk, it needs to be changed. The physical health of everyone has to be our number one priority.
  • I believe our mental health has to be a very close second to our physical health. For me, that means maintaining daily activities that are as close to normal as possible. Sure, we may have to work from home instead of going into the office but, if that’s possible, I feel it is way healthier than not working at all.
  • Finally, we will come out of this and, when we do, we need businesses to be as strong as possible. That can’t be the case if we bring everything to a complete halt.

So, what will I be doing personally?

  • I will be aware of my physical movements and the effects they have on others.
  • I will be respectful of the decision others may make to more drastically curtail their business operations.
  • I will continue to work/live as much of an uninterrupted daily life as is responsibly possible.
  • I will be understanding of those who have a different opinion than mine.

What about us as Q4intelligence?

Our role is to help our clients build stronger businesses, and we’re finding there are a lot of needs right now to that end. We’re helping our agencies make decisions and take actions in the best interests of their own businesses and the lives of their clients. So, our work isn’t slowing down.

  • We hope you aren’t offended when you see us active on LinkedIn.
  • We hope you aren’t shocked when you see our blog posts pop up in your inbox on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • We hope you don’t mind when we respond to your inquiry.
  • We hope you understand the spirit in which we will be working for the foreseeable future.
  • We hope you know how much we are thinking about you during this unprecedented time.

Above all else, we hope for your health, safety, and balance.

Photo baranq.



ShowMe the money: How to charge fees in a commission-based practice

pexels-photo-259027.jpegBack in college, I worked for the University of Missouri, and to this day, the coolest job I’ve ever had was working as an event manager for the Hearnes Center. This is where the magic happens when it comes to concerts and sporting events. During that time, I got to work with some amazing people, one of whom happened to be Bob Dylan. And as Bob once said, “For the times they are a-changin.” As benefits professionals, boy, don’t we know it!

I’ve had a lot of great role models in my life and one of my most incredible ones has been my mother. Like me, she was an entrepreneur. She owned a Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio and a travel agency in my hometown of King City, Missouri. My mom had worked for a number of years in the travel industry with American Airlines and Auto-Train (later sold to Amtrak) in Washington D.C., before relocating to Missouri with my father and working for a small travel agency. She later opened her own, and I remember that she saw a major shift taking place in the industry when the airlines decided that they were no longer going to pay travel agents fees on airline tickets. She made the decision to start charging fees and I remember her telling me, “If you don’t value your time, no one else will.”

Click here to keep reading!

 



More women who are changing the insurance industry.

Series 2

I’ve enjoyed all the positive feedback on this new series, “What’s the good news, ladies? Women who are changing the industry.” It really has been fun!  For our second installment, I wanted you to hear from four women who come to the industry from entirely different backgrounds.

Juli McNeely, who took over her father’s practice and helped bring it to the next level; Kristin Alfheim, an award-winning financial advisor who runs a successful practice in Green Bay; Meghan Wilke, who took her production experience to the home office level for Mutual of Omaha; and Julie Yunker, who is thriving under a big transition that happened earlier this year with MetLife.

Now sit back, relax and get ready to be inspired by some astounding and accomplished women as they share some of their high points from this year.

Click Here to read all about these amazing women!



The Best Way to Prospect

Prospecting Pic

So I have the pleasure of writing for the Succession Initiative for LifeHealthPro and they come to me with questions from their readers and I get to respond to them!  Here is the latest one:

The Challenge…

How can I make appointments effectively?

Meeting The Challenge…

Hi Terry,

First off, I basically equate that to a mother not teaching her son how to cook and do laundry because she knows he’ll find a wife to do it for him! Learning how to prospect is a life skill in sales. You have to get it down pat in order to be successful in this career. Being handed leads are the reward after you have proven yourself, you know?

OK … now to get off of my soapbox and offer a solution.

Network.

Network with everyone and anyone if you are starting out. Book lunches, coffees and drinks with other salespeople and business professionals in different fields. Get your elevator pitch down and be specific about who you want to be introduced to that are good lead sources for you (CPAs, attorneys, etc.) Be specific about your ideal client, too; if you say “business owners,” they are going to hear Charlie Brown’s parents talking and you’ll go nowhere.  Click here to read more!

 



Start. Stop. Continue. By Susan L. Combs

Stop Lights

I was supposed to be heading back from Atlanta today, but Snowmageddon had a different idea of me and I was unable to leave NYC after about 30 inches of snow fell in my neighborhood. So I did the next best thing as a Millennial/Gen X-cusper and Skyped in for a two-day board meeting for WIFS, the national organization where I currently serve as the Immediate Past President. My biggest takeaway was the concept of Start Stop Continue, which was introduced to me by leadership coach, Whitney Siavelis.

Such a simple thing really, but I think will be tremendous in both my practice and my board work and I wanted to share it with you! It’s a way to be more intentional with what you are doing and realize what is working and what isn’t. Click here to continue reading.



Decoding the millennials

Millenials

So I recently spoke at the Mutual of Omaha National Sales Symposium in Omaha, Nebraska and one of their keynotes was Jason Dorsey. If you’ve never heard him speak, he’s high energy and a lot of fun. He’s basically the “magic decoder ring” when it comes to figuring out millennials.

I’ve always thought that I just missed this generation, but I was informed that Jason is almost exactly a year older than me … and I was annoyed to learn that at age 36, I’m part of this group. He also enlightened me with the knowledge that most Gen Yers feel like they are special and don’t belong in this group. Ho hum…

Click here for some of the key takeaways from his talk that really gave me some “aha” moments.