Wednesday, October 11 2017
This article was originally posted in SIA of Northern Ohio's 2017 Summer newsletter
Navigate Risk Advisors is based in Westlake and owned by T.J. Worsencroft
What’s the biggest challenge your agency has gone through over the last year?
Our new business production far exceeded what I thought I would produce that first calendar year. In fact, we grew three times as fast as I planned. This caused a problem where I needed to find additional staff and a new office much quicker than I thought I would. The hiring of new staff was the hardest part. It was important that I find people with my work ethic and that fit into the agency culture.
Do you have a new tip or best practice you’ve learned and want to share?
This is a business that takes time before realizing the full rewards. Being dogmatic, getting out there, and working hard is critical to making this work. Getting that initial head of steam required taking a leap of faith. This means hiring people and having a mindset that it is going to work. As an owner, surrounding myself with talented employees has greatly benefitted our agency’s initial growth. Most importantly, we try to create long-lasting client relationships that will continue 20 years or more. Everyone has a different style in new business development, but getting to really know your client, taking time to explain coverages, and being an advisor is critical. I always keep in mind what my dad told me about working to achieve goals, “plug-n-crank”. Determine the right things to do and keep doing them.
Why are you an SIA of Northern Ohio member?
I figured out early in my career what I wanted to be and knew I had about another 25 years ahead of me. As I thought about my long-term plans, I realized my own personal growth might get stunted because I wasn’t the decision maker. I took a leap of faith and decided that owning my own insurance agency made more sense than working for someone else. SIA of Northern Ohio allowed me to accomplish my goal of owning an insurance agency.
What is something that makes your agency unique?
Having a unique brand is hard to do in this marketplace. I think we have accomplished this. When you walk into our agency we have the normal company plaques and brochures, but we also have things like nautical themed displays, pinewood derby cars and custom-brewed pints of beer. The nautical themed displays are personal to me based on my time in the U.S. Coast Guard. The beer is something that my staff brews as a team. It is a great bonding experience and we all love handing the finished product out to our clients and partners.
What causes does your agency actively support?
Family remains the most important aspect of my life. Serving as an Assistant Boy Scout Master with a very active troop allows me to spend quality time with my kids. Oftentimes, we are camping, kayaking, or fishing. And then every year, I play an active role in promoting the annual Pinewood Derby event. Beyond this, I serve on two boards (Horizon Education Center and North Coast Chamber of Commerce) while remaining active in three other chambers of commerce and various church programs.