As a small child I remember a Dunkin’ Donuts TV commercial in which a portly man would get out of bed and shuffle out of his house, repeating, “Time to make the doughnuts.” This memory is timely in that for our new company, it’s time to make the doughnuts.
In 1996, I began buying my father’s family-owned insurance agency. I was 25, he was 55 and he simply walked in and retired. Although I had no idea what I was doing, I was successful in spite of myself and over the next 15 years, built a small but profitable agency.
In late 2010, I began working with another agency, helping with some sales training. It seemed like my skill set might fit their management team’s needs. We structured a deal and on Sept. 6, 2011, I traded in my shares of my company for shares in the new company. My new role was that of producer, sales manager, and marketing manager.
After three months of our new partnership, we all decided that this might have been the worst mistake in the business world since the release of New Coke. Because one of the other owners and I operated in a very similar manner, we decided that two of the owners of the “new company” would start another agency, using the assets and books of business developed over the years by these two agency locations.
As we began thinking about starting our “new agency,” we became rather excited. No more are we tied to our old systems, procedures or habits; everything is on the table, everything can be changed.
On Aug. 18, 2012, our dream of our new agency was born when Someday is Today, LLC (dba The Thompson Group) started operations. In a sense, we’re going back to the future, since my original agency was named The Thompson Group. Our new Indianapolis office will be rebranded from the old name to The Thompson Group and our existing Parker City office clients will experience no change.
Jenny Dils Durr, our CEO, has said for years that people always say they’re going to do something, “someday.” In creating this company, her main focus was that our someday is today. I’ve led my company for 15 years and am now looking forward to following who I think might just be one of the greatest CEOs this industry has ever seen.
Our first steps have been to sign new contracts with our partners, thus allowing our $12 million in premium volume to flow into these new agency codes. We are working very hard to transition our data from an old AMS system and an old Applied Systems program into Applied’s new EPIC system. The functionality of this new system and the ability of our agency to use iPads in the files seems to be a great fit for our “technology platform agency.”
Moving to a VoIP phone system is another major item on our checklist. We ordered Bluetooth headsets and we should be live in 30 days, giving us one phone system for both offices, the ability to record every phone call in and out of the office, and–believe it or not–our telephony costs are being reduced by about $5,000 a year.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be taking this blog in a new direction–sharing not just insurance changes, updates and advice, but I’ll also be sharing the successes and failures of our new company.
Here come the doughnuts!