Uncertainty in life is a given but it’s amplified in times of economic and political instability. Lately things such as the challenges facing Britain and Europe and the radical rise of Trump in America – global stability is looking shaky and uncertainty is shouting a little louder.
I’ve never let uncertainty hold me back. Thirteen years ago I arrived in New Zealand, I had lost my job, I had three months left on my working visa and I was facing the prospect of going back home. Also I only had $200 to my name. I landed my first job as an insurance broker – I put my head down, worked hard and learned everything I could. After four years I decided to go it alone and started my own broking business. Waiting in the wings was the great global financial crisis of 2008. As we know it rocked the global economy with the collapse of various financial institutions. It was an incredibly uncertain time to be in financial services but I ploughed through it and have built a successful business.
From my experience, when it comes to owning a business and successfully steering it through uncertain times you need to…
- Fight for success
Running a business isn’t for the faint hearted, you have to be brave, have an unwavering belief in what you’re doing and a clear vision for what you want to achieve. The same applies if you’re climbing the career ladder. You need to have a strategy. Therefore, you should…
- Decide where you want to be
- Decide what you want to achieve
- Write it down
- Work for it – harder than you’ve ever worked for anything before
- Don’t give up
- You only get out of it what you put into it!
- Celebrate success and milestones
- Be flexible
In challenging economic times, you may need to re-evaluate your services and create new offerings that meet the changing needs of your clients or customers. When I started my broking business the focus was on selling life insurance. When the GFC hit I changed my focus to educating people about the importance of income protection insurance. In the last few years with the economy booming and small to medium size businesses flourishing – I’ve turned my focus to selling business insurance.
- Protect yourself
Make sure you’ve got a business continuity plan in place that’s right for your business. Key man cover can be a good option, as it protects you if something happens to your business partner. If your business partner dies or is no longer able to work and you don’t have protection, you may end up with their husband or wife as your new partner which could be complicated.
If you‘ve got a job – consider income protection because in times of economic strife job security can go by the wayside. It’s about hunkering down to weather the storm and making sure your roof doesn’t blow off while you’re at it.
Protect your family home – in most cases this is your biggest asset so be wary of using it to finance your business or investments when times are good. If you over extend yourself in this area and interest rates go up, you could lose your home and your business.
In all of these instances seeking independent advice from a financial expert is highly recommended. I really enjoy talking about and building robust plans for people to cover themselves for any type of change in their personal or business lives. It costs nothing for you to get advice (piece of mind) and allow yourself to focus on a successful business or life partnership.
Mike Broadbent is the director of Evergreen Life www.evergreenlife.nz
Read more of Mike’s columns here.