All companies need a solid business plan. A business plan gets you off on the right foot, creates a blueprint for your success, and can help you secure outside funding from investors and financial institutions if you need it.
For insurance agencies, many insurance carriers will require you to submit a business plan before they partner with you. Unfamiliar with the process? Here are the basic steps to create an insurance agency business plan.
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1. Write an Executive Summary
All business plans start with a strong Executive Summary. This is a relatively small section that serves as the introduction to your insurance agency.
The Executive Summary should serve as the guiding force of your insurance agency. It can include things such as your mission statement and why you’re opening your agency—if you’re a startup. If your company has had past successes, you can detail these in your Executive Summary as well.
This section should also include your areas of specialty, the opportunity in the market, your plan for capitalizing on the opportunity, and how you plan to separate yourself from the competition.
2. Describe Your Company
In this section, you’ll dive deeper into the key aspects of the business. You’ll highlight what makes your insurance agency special. You’ll also want to outline the general structure of your business, such as whether you’re a limited partnership, a general partnership or a sole proprietorship.
Next, outline your company’s history—or your personal history if your company is new. Then, describe how your insurance agency will fill a demand in the market.
End the section with a short analysis of how your company will earn a profit. This part can include a full analysis of your market so you can show how you’ll delineate yourself from other insurance agencies.
Within this company description section, you can also discuss the structure of your organization. This should include the owners of the company and their background as well as the critical decision makers and their pertinent skills.
3. Outline Your Products
This section will describe the products and/or services that your insurance agency will offer. You should break down in detail not just the areas you’ll cover but the costs and revenue that you anticipate for each.
For example, you’ll want to include a detailed breakdown of renters insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance and any other products you plan to offer. Show a projection for each insurance category and the value that you’ll deliver for that category.
It’s important that you fully describe all the basics of each insurance category in this section. Assume that the person who will be reading your business plan will not be fully familiar with what you do.
You shouldn’t get too technical with these categories, so you don’t confuse the reader of the document. Avoid buzzwords that the industry uses, and go with the most basic descriptions you can provide. It’s important that your insurance agency business plan is easy to read and understand.
4. Communicate Your Strategy for Sales and Marketing
Any good business plan will describe in detail what the plan is to market and sell the products being offered. This section of your business plan should describe your strategy for reaching customers and then selling them insurance. You should detail your plan for generating and nurturing leads from first contact through final sale.
This plan should include the channels you use to reach this audience. For instance, do you plan on using traditional print media, social media, email, content marketing or some combination of all of the above?
Once you’ve detailed your marketing plan, it’s important to outline how you’ll close deals. This should include not only your internal strategy in terms of personnel and how you’ll sell, but offers, pricing and value propositions that should be attractive to customers.
5. Detail Your Financials
The final section of an insurance agency business plan will describe one of the most important aspects of any business: your financials. Starting and running any business requires money. This part of the business plan will describe how you’ll obtain that money to get your business off the ground.
Many investors and/or financial institutions will focus heavily on this section of your business plan when they’re making a decision about whether to loan you money or invest in your business.
This section should include a cashflow statement, profit-and-loss statement, sales forecast and balance sheet. If your insurance agency is a startup, you should include projections for all of these, with data and facts to back up your projections.
You could boost your case by providing an analysis of your agency’s break-even mark, which will include how much you need to earn in revenue to make a profit. This section should also include what money you’re bringing to the table to fund your insurance agency, including any personal money or other outside funding you’re using.
The financials section can be highly technical, so you may want to seek the assistance of a certified public accountant when preparing some of these documents.
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