Stephen Doecke of Blenheim’s Asset Insurance Brokers only opens his office four days a week, and in the three years since setting up his own business as a member of PSC Connect he’s managed to cut right back on advertising spend.
Despite this, business has never been better and now Doecke has secured NZ PSC Connect’s inaugural Member Broker of the Year award, announced at the network’s Auckland conference this month.
As well as meeting financial and growth targets, Doecke says he believes his decision to re-think his marketing budget really gave him the edge.
“I now invest back into my clients. Through our leadership scholarship fund, IQ-M (Intelligence Marlborough), we help fund young business leaders to attend the Icehouse leadership development program in Auckland.”
Doecke credits his wife Sid with helping him to come up with the idea.
“My greatest asset is my client base, and my clients’ greatest asset is their staff. So we thought we’ll help our clients become better leaders because better leaders will always create a better business and that’s basically where it started from.
“Brokers spend a lot of time and energy in getting new business, so once you get it why wouldn’t you want to care for it?”
He added: “I’m a great believer in word of mouth marketing and while I always knew it would have a positive effect it’s been even better than I thought.”
Coming from a small town in Australia, Doecke has always been keen to support the community of Blenheim he’s called home for the past 8 years, where he has held roles on the board of trustees of the local intermediate school, the Marlborough College Charitable Foundation, and Chamber of Commerce and Rotary.
The IQ-M fund is his way of helping the local business community, he said.
The former Crombie Lockwood
broker decided he was at the time of life where if he didn’t take the plunge to set up in business on his own now he never would.
He said it made perfect sense to join PSC Connect, which now boasts 130 authorised representatives and member brokers in Australia and New Zealand and generates over $100 million in gross written premium for its 40,000 clients.
“If someone is prepared to back themselves I can’t see why you wouldn’t do it,” he said.
“PSC Connect gave me an opportunity to start my brokerage with minimal expense, they provide me with a computer program, professional indemnity, and access to major players in the industry.
“I really can’t speak highly enough of them. In three years I now have two staff and have built a saleable asset in the way that I wanted to build it.”
Other key drivers to Asset Insurance’s success, he said, were the measures he put in place to keep him and the business on track.
“From the outset I got myself an advisory board together to help me in areas that are not my strengths.”
Doecke’s board includes an accountant, a property guru whose expertise boosts his commercial presentations, and a retired insurance broker who has been through the same experience.
“It’s a way of keeping me accountable and on track to where I want to go, so that would be my one piece of advice for anyone trying to go out on their own.”
The other key aspect which Doecke said makes him the envy of many of his clients is working a four day week.
It began that way as his office staff could only manage four days, but now Doecke says his Fridays have become incredibly valuable time.
“Everyone we talk to, all my clients, say they wish they had more time to work on their business, and that’s basically what we are doing.
“On Friday it’s a mental thing where you can actually work on the business, or on your relationships or key business people instead of just pumping out paper.”
Doecke said the other four days are pretty ‘full on’ and he will still always take a call from clients on Fridays or at weekends, but his other business motto means he knows there’s a good reason for it.
“We won’t insure anything we haven’t seen and we won’t insure anyone we haven’t met. That way I know what I’m getting myself into and so does the client.”
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