As a small business, your strategic plan will doubtless have been crafted with as much care and attention-to-detail as is reasonably achievable. It’s also likely you’ve revised it once, twice, maybe on multiple occasions as time has gone on in order to adapt to unforeseen or changing market conditions.
Is it a 3-year, 5-year or even just an 18-month strategy? All of those are viable strategic planning horizons, and with smaller businesses operating in a constantly changing environment, maybe you’ve taken the decision only to plan to what you believe is a realistically predictable timeline.
Are you passive or active?
If you’ve only recently started trading online how has that affected your strategy? You may be getting more volume through the door, but at what cost and what do you envisage retention looking like? If you’re planning on engaging with customers approaching renewal in order to try and keep retention figures up, have you got the structures in place ready to do so, or have you got a “rescue campaign” or two in order to pull things back if it looks like retention is dropping further than you expected?
What about mid-term cancellations? In moving online have you seen a shift towards more customers jumping ship part-way through the year? If so, what have you done about it?
For sure, some of these are tactical responses to what will potentially become challenges to a previously-held strategic position, but most businesses that make the transition to trading online either partially or wholly will have to grapple with the reality of changing dynamics.
Some businesses will be able to structure and adapt to the change and absorb the impact accordingly, but many won’t, and will face some tough mid- and longer-term strategic questions.
What if all of the sticky-tape rescue and retention campaigns don’t actually deliver the number of “saves” you were hoping for? Or even if they do, at what cost?
For businesses that have only recently transitioned to some kind of online capability, or even for those who have traded online for years, it might seem like the market is rapidly shrinking with margins also heading in a southerly direction. Couple those factors with dwindling customer loyalty and pressure on commissions from insurers and it might appear to some that continuing to trade is unsustainable. Sadly, in some cases, that will be true.
Getting to the substance behind the hype
You can scarcely pick-up a trade magazine these days and not be bombarded with “insurtech”, “Internet of Things”, “telematics” this or “big data” that. You would be forgiven for wondering how on earth they might be applicable to your business. However, by helping you to see through the buzzword-hype and understand the underlying principles behind them, you’ll be able to evaluate how they might be just what you need to help drive more revenue, more profit, or kick-start a new strategic plan.
Unfortunately it seems like a lot of insurtech start-ups are so focused on “proving the technology” and rather less on “meeting a customer need” that many have and will continue to fall by the wayside. However, to ignore the essence of what they were trying to achieve would be to miss a potentially significant opportunity for your own business. By adopting even some of the very basic principles of what those companies were attempting to deliver, you could potentially either make significant savings, reverse the trend in reducing margins, or find that you attract more customers than you thought possible in a relatively short period of time.
Having taken our own businesses through exactly this process a number of times previously, winning industry awards along the way, we can help you to understand what is already out there, how it might apply to your business, and then help you set about making it a reality, working with you closely all the way so that you have realistic expectations of up-front costs and expected returns.