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The Business Partner You Didn't Know You Needed As a founder, you probably already have an accountant and an attorney. Here's one more professional who can help get your startup off the ground.

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As an entrepreneur, you're naturally driven and focused. You're an expert in your business, but there are times when it makes more sense to delegate.

That's why you brought on an accountant and hired that lawyer. Smart. Make a mistake on your taxes or a contract and you could sink your business.

When it comes to protecting your business against risk, you may think that you need to do it all yourself. But the amount you'd have to know to make an informed decision on your own is enormous, and the smallest oversight could be disastrous years down the line.

You don't need to make insurance decisions on your own and you don't have to pick a generic coverage package you're not sure really fits your business. There is a better way. There are enormous benefits to partnering with an independent insurance agent who can advise you and maximize your protection.

Why you should work with an independent agent.

Independent insurance agents aren't just service providers. They're fellow entrepreneurs. Because they're unaffiliated with insurance companies, independent agents have to work hard to get and keep the trust of their clients. Just like you.

Unlike a captive insurance agent who works for a particular company, an independent agent:

  • Is an objective third-party.
  • Carries deep knowledge of different insurance company offerings.
  • Has a broader selection of coverage and pricing options to choose from.

As a result, an independent agent can create an insurance package that fits your needs and budget.

Just as a bad service experience can be blown up multiple times on social media, a reputation for doing great work can spread far, too. Independent agents make their living through referrals. In order to grow their businesses, they need to be active advisors, look out for their clients' best interests, and maintain relationships for the long term. That's not the type of relationship you'd be able to get if you purchased your coverage online.

Insurance, after all, is about the future. When you start expanding locations, adding equipment, or increasing your headcount, you'll want to have a trusted advisor to call on to make sure your insurance needs are covered.

What you need to know.

Having an independent insurance agent's advice is important because every business is different. An independent agent likely has customers in your industry that are similar in size, so he or she can quickly guide you toward industry-specific coverages you might need and help you identify potential risks and how to mitigate them.

In addition to helping you find the insurance coverage that fits your specific needs, an agent should also be able to provide you with the type of personal service you want.

The key element is trust. Everything hinges upon the independent agent being your expert set of eyes and ears when it comes to risk.

With that in mind, you'll want to find an agent who communicates and shares information with you the way you want and who's an expert in the specific concerns of your industry.

How to pick your agent.

There are many reasons why working with an independent agent can help you better protect your company and position it for success. Here is a checklist of questions to help you select the right insurance professional to meet your business's specific needs.

When you talk to an agent, work through these questions one-by-one to see if you've got the right person:

  • Is the agent licensed in my state?
  • Do he or she have specialization in my industry?
  • How many insurers is he or she appointed with?
  • How many years has he or she been in business?
  • Have my friends or business associates recommended this person?
  • Most importantly, do I feel comfortable with this agent?

This last one is crucial because of the nature of insurance. There are many ways that you can be waylaid by improper coverage, and having an agent you trust is essential to maintaining peace of mind while you focus on growing your business.

A trusted advisor.

Insurance is complicated. Make a mistake choosing your coverage, and one bad storm or a customer injury could wipe out your business. It's time to pay attention to the risk of not hiring a professional to guide you through the process of selecting insurance.

Bottom line, seeking and considering expert advice can set you up for better results than you could achieve on your own. No one's better positioned to get you and your business that better result than an independent insurance agent.

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