January is coming to an end. How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along?  That week between Christmas and New Year’s Day inspires dramatic future aspirations, but few can convert that enthusiasm into determination and execution.  Studies show that 75% of people who set a new year’s resolution keep them after one week.  After two weeks, that number drops to 71%, and by the end of the 4th week, it drops again to 64%. By the six-month mark, less than half of those new year’s resolutions are on track.

So, why bother setting them at all?  Statistical evidence suggests that people who set a resolution are doing better at the six-month mark than those who set a similar goal but didn’t call it a resolution.  Making a new year’s resolution is inherently propitious.  It differs from strategic planning and budgeting because you’re looking at the upcoming year through a lens blurred with the twinkle of holiday lights.  You weren’t weighed down with facts and figures, sales, pending projects, and questions; you were genuinely passionate and idealistically setting intentions to improve both personally and professionally. I would argue that this is the most visionary approach to setting goals.

As you readied yourself to return to work post-holiday sabbatical… what did you resolve to make happen in 2022?  Beyond the trope annual sales and growth goals, agency owners should resolve to maximize the use of technology, provide exceptional client experience, have a proactive approach to financial management, and foster a culture of accountability.

Maximize the use of technology

Maximizing technology can create cost-effective touchpoints that accommodate clients’ preferences and streamline agency workflows.  Functions like download, e-docs, marketing drip campaigns, social media scheduling, electronic payments, and online client portal systems are fantastic examples of automation agencies must have to thrive in today’s environment.

It’s time to evaluate every step of every agency process and ask: “Is this necessary?” and “Does this add value for customers?”  If the answers are ‘no,’ – stop.  When a procedure is required but not value-added for the client, it is time to implement technology for automation or outsource it.

Provide an exceptional client experience

Leveraging automation means you and your team will have more time.   Spend it wisely and set the tone for staff in the agency.  Historically, time saved from implementing automation was consumed by increasing the book size that each account manager was expected to handle.  Now we need to reinvest f the time savings into improving customer relationships. Become more engaged in your community; attend events.  Emphasize participation in social media.  Visit prospects and celebrate writing new business.  Conduct a client experience audit to look at your agency from the perspective of a potential customer and an existing client.  Talk to your clients, make time to review their coverage, deepen your relationships, and protect your agency from E&O Exposure.   If your agency is not conducting annual reviews, make 2022 the year you start.

Have a proactive approach to financial management

Rather than reacting to disappointing financial results, resolve to be more proactive about getting the results you want.  Agency owners are good at many things, but accounting isn’t often at the top of the list.  Understanding your agency’s balance sheet is one of the best places to start enhancing your financial skillset.   You’ll find that the balance sheet provides you an opportunity to proactively address issues before they get out of hand.  Write down your long-term financial goals for your agency and pinpoint whether and where you need to improve, invest, or both.

Foster a culture of accountability

Accountability, by definition, is to have responsibility.  You cannot grow a culture of accountability without giving people the responsibility to do meaningful work.  Delegation is equal parts time management and discipline.  Author, Stephen Covey, developed the Time Management Matrix to help successful leaders understand where their spent time is most valuable.  Applying activities to this matrix, agency owners can identify what they currently spend time on that can be delegated to appropriate employees or outsourced.  Then, they must have the discipline to allow someone else to own those activities.  Managing your service staff and performing client service work like adding vehicles or sending certificates should be at the top of your list to delegate in 2022.  The great thing about fostering this type of culture, all your other goals will begin to see progress.  When the collective mentality of the agency is to feel responsible for an exceptional customer experience… you will see increased retention and more referrals.

If you resolved to improve yourself and your agency this year, ensure your 2022 goals include these essential steps.  Don’t let your vision of future success dwindle as the daily grind has resumed.  Set your intentions now by calling Angela Adams Consulting and letting us shine the light to your success!

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