J&L – 25 Years and Counting As A Leading Workers Comp Consultant Company
J&L Insurance started in 1996 as a Workers Comp consultant company handling the proper filing of claims forms for large self-insureds.
We added services as the market requested it such as premium audit services, general consulting, blog reporting, expert witness services, and Mod audits, actuarial services, and forecasting to name a few.
I had forgotten the anniversary this past March due to being in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Talking with so many business associates I became amazed at how many now want to strike out on their own and start a business across their kitchen table as I did in 1996.
Top 10 Lessons Learned In A Workers Comp Consultant Company
The Top 10 below lessons that I have learned with a Workers Comp consultant company. The first five are general. The second five are workers comp centric.
- You are not the same as your last job. People, governmental organizations, and companies that you have worked with in your last job may not be the customers that you had counted on for business when you started your company. This lesson becomes a shocker for many people that tends to make them not stay a consultant for very long.
- The first five years are rough. Making an appointment with a prospect and then having them not make the appointment and not return your calls or emails. Balancing family time and work time can be a very tedious task. If you can make it five years, most businesses will survive in one form or another.
- The first year comes off as horrible. Often, your first year has little business generated while you must afford to live and market on a shoestring. Keeping your head up the first year is very critical. You will be told no so many times that most people go back to a regular salary-based job.
- One of the most important – do not think you have failed if you go back to a salary-based job as an employee. You made the choice to not own and run your own business. I tried to start my own business while working at night and then would go into my regular job during the day three or four times in the 1980s and 1990s. My heart said go for it with the Workers Comp Consultant company. My brain said – the bills do not stop, you have more personal bills and now business bills.<<super-critical point.
- The #1 expense that new businesses experience which can easily cause failure – hiring employees too early. I heard this warning in a public relations seminar that I attended with the local Chamber of Commerce. The presenter said that she had made the same mistake and then cut her staff down to four people from over 20. Could having many employees count as a status symbol? – Possibly.
- Watch the minimum number of employees that causes Workers Comp insurance requirement. In some states it is one employee! Can a new employer afford a $500 a day fine? Of course not
- Workers’ Compensation has not changed that much in over 20 years. Many buzzwords and trends have been recycled over the years. Working across states lines can pose some difficulties, but workers’ compensation has the same variables and procedures.
- Blogging remains a requirement in this industry. Websites are even more of a requirement. Google, Bing, and other search engines do not rank you in the search results because you have a spiffy website. Content is king and queen in almost any industry. Blogging must be in your blood to write a 900-word article such as this one you are reading now.
- Right now – Workers Comp sits on the back burner of the stove. The pandemic caused a large amount of governmental action. Most businesses try to survive daily by having remote employees and all the other benefits. The Affordable Care Act caused businesses to do the same thing to Workers Comp in 2010 – 2016.
- Keep educating yourself in insurance subjects even when you do not have enough time to add on a designation or degree. Reading workers’ comp publications each morning or night and heavily on the weekends keeps you abreast of the current developments. I read approximately 20 publications to see the trends in this industry. Many are free if you will sign up for their newsletter. Some bloggers think they are gurus – be aware of what you read in insurance blogs.
- Bonus – Watch out for the SFNs. Yes, the Something For Nothings. Like any type of consultant, your product equals your available time. Many SFNs think that you can give them free advice. We receive calls almost every day from someone “just wanting some advice.” You will develop a sense of the difference between a prospect, potential buyer of your services, and someone just wants you to work as a free consultant. You must develop those screening skills very quickly to survive.
This list could go on for 50 more suggestions. Do not take these as “stamped in cement.”
One huge advantage that you have if you are a sole proprietor or very small business consultant comes from being able to change your business to fit the market very quickly. Do not try to make the market fit your business.
With the pandemic, if you have decided to start your own Workers Comp consultant company or as any insurance consultant, or any type of consultant – do not give up the ship too quickly. Good luck.
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