After the busy season, reviewing your business strategies is a great way to start the year. We recommend reviewing for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
On our ASG Podcast, host Sarah J. Rueppel describes how agents can use a SWOT analysis to evaluate their insurance practices and improve their strategies for the upcoming year.
To hear the full episode and learn more about SWOT analysis, listen here:
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. In order to complete the [SWOT] analysis, you need an objective, or something to analyze. For the sake of this example, we’ll be doing a high-level analysis of our insurance business.
You’ll want to create a way to record your analysis. There are a couple ways of doing this, and I’ll start with my favorite, segmenting a page into four equal quadrants; they can be squares or rectangles, but you want them in a two-by-two grid.
Then, assign one step of the analysis to those quadrants as follows: Top left, strengths; Top right, weaknesses. Bottom left, opportunities; bottom right, threats … Then, go through and make lists of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, adding those notes in the appropriate quadrant.
You could just as easily create four notebook pages, one for each of the SWOT words and organize your thoughts that way. There’s more than one way to format a SWOT analysis.
What does your insurance business do well? What are your differentiators? What sets you apart from other insurance businesses?
What resources go along with those strengths? Is it a certain plan presentation style that enables you to write dental, vision, and hearing policies alongside Medicare business? Maybe it’s a downline agent who has a great retention rate with their clients.
While it might seem a bit like a glorified pat on the back, there’s a reason for recognizing your strengths.
Strengths can include strategies, processes, mindsets, even concepts like intellectual property. They can be proprietary technology, actual technology that you can hold, specific devices, even people. This is an internal assessment of what you’re doing well with the resources you currently have.
While it might seem a bit like a glorified pat on the back, there’s a reason for recognizing your strengths. You’ll be able to pull out details of why those strengths work so well. Maybe it’s a process or strategy you can implement elsewhere.
As you move through your strengths, it’s very likely that you’ll spark some thoughts about the next part of our analysis.
If the last step was an internal snapshot, this step looks both ways — internally and outside of your insurance business.
What’s missing from your insurance business? What are your competitors doing better than you? Are there limitations to the resources you have? Maybe it’s a lack of a particular resource, or a need to replace a resource.
Have you differentiated yourself from your competitors, or is it hard for prospective clients to know why they should choose your insurance business?
And for a word of caution here, be kind to yourself as you take this step. There’s no need for a scathing negative review of your business. Beating yourself up or getting caught up in the emotions of your weaknesses isn’t going to help you. We’re here to identify, then on to the next one.
What do you hope to achieve?
Maybe after looking at your AEP data, you realized that people were interested in a product that wasn’t in your portfolio. Maybe a new hospital is coming to the local area and that means a new network of choices to learn about.
Take a look at your weaknesses, how can you use what you’ve identified and turn it into an opportunity for your business? Did you have an issue with a printer during AEP? Consider looking into paperless enrollment options like what we offer here at Ritter Insurance Marketing.
This is the time to get some of those ideas down on paper that you’ve been having throughout the year, and as you work through each of the steps, you’ll see the process start to come together.
While having dreams and goals comes easily, you want to be practical and realistic in your planning.
This step is about taking those dreams, goals, and identified opportunities, and critically looking at whether or not you can move on them. And same caveat as with the weaknesses step, don’t get discouraged by your emotions here. This is the place to get a high-level idea of business risk down on paper.
You can’t fight your enemy if you don’t know who or what that enemy is.
You want to identify threats, because you can’t fight your enemy if you don’t know who or what that enemy is. What obstacles are standing in the way of your opportunities?
Threats can be as simple as a product or carrier you didn’t have in your portfolio, or they could be larger, like implementing new technology into some of your processes.
Maybe during this AEP, you used a service that didn’t quite work out. This is the chance to identify those issues that came up during AEP and figure out how to reclaim the money it left on the table.
Maybe it’s not technology related, let’s go back to that new hospital coming to town. What if you’re not contracted with the biggest carrier in their network? That’s a threat you can mitigate by getting that particular contract.
What you decide to analyze using this method is up to you. As I mentioned earlier, you can start out high-level with your business, and delve into your selling portfolio, a social media presence, partnering with an FMO like Ritter, or adding technology like CallVault and Shop & Enroll to your business.
The SWOT analysis is a great way to make decisions deliberately, ensuring that you’ve truly thought through the process.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to improve your business using SWOT analysis, listen to the full podcast episode. Become a Ritter agent today to access even more resources to help you succeed all year.
Editor’s Note: This article is based on an episode from our ASG Podcast. We have modified content from the original recording. To listen to the full episode, visit RitterIM.com/podcast.