growth

5 Trends to Watch in the Insurance Industry

These days, ‘“business as usual” seems to be anything but. Across different industries, people are having to adapt quickly. While much may seem up in the air right now, many of the recent changes faced by the insurance industry are moving it forward into a better future. Here are five of the biggest trends I’ve seen lately in the insurance industry and how they’re impacting insurance companies, financial professionals and consumers. Due in large part to the coronavirus crisis, the majority of carriers Brokers International does business with now have e-apps — and a few of them require producers to use them.

8 ways your AP process leaks spend – and how AI can prevent it

Today’s companies put huge efforts into negotiating the best terms with their suppliers. Procurement teams regularly spend weeks or months going back and forth on contract terms and volume discounts to get the most bang for their buck. Too often, these savings aren’t realized. Suppliers may ignore the negotiated terms when invoicing, and AP teams, faced with a deluge of invoices and limited time to get payments out the door, only sample select transactions and only do basic 2 or 3 way matching of volume and price. This inevitably means costly invoice problems fall through the cracks — from mismatched invoice and contract terms, to unapplied discounts, to completely bogus charges, and more.

Seven FAQs employees have about HRAs

Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) are becoming increasingly common as more employers are seeking an alternative to traditional health benefits. Employees that are newly offered an HRA through their employer can be confused about how an HRA works. They might be used to another type of health benefit, like traditional group health insurance. This could even be the first time they’ve been offered a benefit by an employer.  For employees in this situation and employers wanting to help them, we’ve compiled 7 of the questions employees most frequently ask about HRAs...

The Asian Millennium: More Fact than Fantasy

When I started my business in Hong Kong in 1998, it was a time of great uncertainty in Asia. The Asian economic crisis was was well underway. Hong Kong’s exchange rate, linked to the US dollar, and the stock market, were threatened by speculation by international investors. The British had handed over the island nation to China just the previous year and nearly half a million people had left the country worried about a future under communist rule. And, it was also the height of the dot com crash. The confluence of these factors worked in our favor...

Financial Planning for a Recession

As we learned in 2008, recessions can come on swiftly and cause major crises for all businesses, big and small. In today’s economy, it is essential to practice intentional recession planning as a small business. By mapping out your plan in advance of a recession, you may find that when a recession hits, you not only survive, but thrive.

Are You Making the Single Worst Brand-Building Mistake a Company Can Make?

At the foundation of a compelling brand is empathy—putting yourself in the customer's shoes. You have to truly get to know the humans you're seeking to connect with. When you don't, you'll not only fail to persuade them to buy and build a loyal relationship over time, you may put out a tone-deaf message—like Chase did—that blatantly alienates them...

Struggling to Find Great Talent? Consider Candidates without a Degree

In a super tight labor market, the old ways of hiring no longer hack it. Danny Iny offers eight tips to improve your chances of finding a great employee—and some of them may surprise you. The U.S. Department of Labor has just released its latest numbers and unemployment rates are holding firm at 3.7 percent. This is a nearly 50-year low. If you're an employer you don't have to be told what this means: it's really tough to find great talent right now. Expand your pool of candidates by considering those who don't have a college degree...

Uncertainty Over Brexit Leaves Businesses and Banks in Suspense

When talk turns to Brexit, much of the discussion revolves around what will happen once the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union. While the United Kingdom Parliament hashes out a withdrawal agreement, with Prime Minister Theresa May at the helm, the economy is already shifting in anticipation of… what? The trouble is, no one is quite sure. Even experts can only make educated guesses since their research hinges on the type of withdrawal the United Kingdom and European Union ultimately consent to...

Is It Time to Join the Gig Economy? Why It’s a Great Time to Be a Consultant

There's never been a better time to become a consultant. Why? It boils down to three words: the gig economy. By 2025 a majority of the workforce will be employed in an agile capacity, as a consultant, contractor, temporary, or freelance employee. In fact, a recent report predicted that as early as this year, as much as 50 percent of the workforce will be comprised of agile workers. If you have a skill to share with the world and you long to be your own boss, you’re on the right side of economic history...

Why Managing Remotely Is So Tough—and Eight Ways to Make It Easier

Managing remotely has quickly become the norm in today's work world. And yet, it's not easy. With more employees working remotely or on flex schedules, it can be tough to create the kind of connection you need to help people do their best work. You can't pick up on non-verbal cues. You can't tell if they're having a good or bad day. You can't have those quick, informal interactions needed to form comfortable, cooperative relationships...

How the 2017 Tax Reform Bill Impacts Small Business

As a small business owner, you've likely always struggled to minimize your taxes and stay profitable. Now at last, there's some good news! When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act federal income tax bill took effect in 2018, it produced many changes that reduced and positively impacted small business taxes. With tax season right around the corner, it pays (literally) to know how this reform impacts your small business's bottom line...

Eight Unwritten Rules Self-Determined Managers Live By

At the heart of the job of managing people is the imperative—and opportunity—to create the environment within which the team does their work. The best managers know that the informal rules around how people should work make a substantial difference to what people do and what they pay attention to, and they seek to shape that in a way that maximizes success...

Narrative vs PowerPoint: Which is the Right Tool for Your Business?

Over the past few years, a veritable who’s who of business leaders (from Virgin’s Richard Branson, to Tesla’s Elon Musk, to Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg) have outwardly questioned the effectiveness of traditional PowerPoint presentations while gushing over the benefits of good-old-fashioned narrative. Jeff Bezos has taken it a step further: in his 2018 annual shareholder letter, he wrote that “we don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations at Amazon”. Instead, Bezos requires his executives to compose structured, six-page narrative memos to be read and discussed at every meeting...

5 Steps for Choosing the Proper Analytical Tools for your Organization

Data is quickly becoming a company’s most important assets. To monetize this asset, organizations leverage analytical tools that generate insights in order to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. One issue that has plagued corporations for years is the lack of standards and methods around their analytical capabilities, one example of which is deciding which analytical tools to build deep competencies around. How can an organization gain efficiencies, reusability, and build deep common skillsets, if each group is using a different analytical tool?

The Four Types of Objections That Derail Salespeople (and How to Deal With Them)

No may be a tiny word, but for salespeople it's the most dreaded word in the English language. Nothing causes your heart to sink quite like an objection from a prospective customer. This is true not just because it presages a negative impact on your income, but also because it's incredibly painful to hear. It's no coincidence that "objection" rhymes with "rejection"—and the latter is one of the deepest, darkest, most primal human fears. There's no way to avoid objections. They're going to happen. What you can do is learn how to rise above the emotional disruption they cause and, hopefully, salvage the sale...

11 Ways to Make Smart Use of Technology—Without Losing the Personal Touch Clients Crave

Technology does a lot…but it can't do everything. Sometimes we forget that. We can get so dependent on email and social media that we lose sight of what people really need from us—especially in business. Yes, clients expect to connect with us in various high-tech ways, but they also crave the deep and meaningful connections that can only come from face-to-face (or at least voice-to-voice) connections. It can be tricky to walk the line...

BANT Alone Is Dead: Four Ways to Go Beyond Info Gathering and Build Real Rapport with Your Prospects

If you've been a salesperson for a while, there's a good chance you swear by the "BANT" approach.It may be a tried-and-true approach to qualifying prospects—but in a world where prospects usually qualify themselves, it just isn't enough anymore. Asking questions around Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline has long been the framework for qualifying prospects. These days, BANT alone isn't enough to make the sale anymore...

Cash Flow Surprises? Here are Four Ways to Recover

Even the most prepared small business owner can get blindsided by a sudden financial emergency. Luckily, there are financing options that can help when you’re in need of immediate capital. By understanding what emergency cash loans are available, you can apply for the one that best fits your needs and quickly recover from any unpleasant cash flow surprises. Here are a few of the best small business loans for an emergency, and valuable financial management strategies that can come through for you when you need them most...

Is Your Business Telling the Right Story?

Google processes over 3.8 million searches per minute. That's a lot of people looking for answers. This is happening because the way people buy has changed. People no longer respond to outbound tactics like spamming and cold calling. Instead they research products and services and find what they're looking for on their own. The message for companies is clear: You must provide lots and lots of content that's engaging and persuasive enough to pull in readers and win their business. This is called inbound marketing, and it's the way businesses today "get found"—by helping, educating, and entertaining prospects with valuable, relevant, and consistent content...

Eight Common “Flow Breakers” Leaders Face—and How to Defuse Them

Sometimes it seems like the workplace is designed to keep you doing anything besides, well...working. If you're a manager, this is a serious problem because everything at work hinges on your ability to effectively lead your team. Still, distractions abound in most offices, from buzzing phones to watercooler chit-chat to the endless lure of surfing the web. With all this chaos, it's difficult to achieve the intense state of concentration known as flow, where employees of all levels do their best work...

Disruption Doesn’t Happen Only to the Other Guy: Why YOU Too Must Be “Inbound”

Are you still running your business like it's 1989? Most leaders know (in theory) that buying and selling have changed forever, yet their own mindset and corporate structure are decades out of date. Everybody wants to grow but nobody wants to change. It's as true for companies as it is for people. Despite the fact that customers have changed everything about the way they buy—and have an endless array of sellers at their fingertips—too many organizations treat them like all parties are in a (pre-Internet) time warp. This is not just short-sighted; it's self-destructive. And it points to a massive collective blind spot that keeps leaders from seeing the disruptive forces flying up behind them...