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The “Nature” of Business

March 4, 2011

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Recently, I was taking a drive through the magnificent hills of Western Connecticut the morning after a fresh snow fall. I drove quietly puffing on my pipe while making my way through the winter wonderland that exists between our Torrington office to our location in Lakeville on the New York State border. While I was driving along it dawned on me that there are some similarities that nature and business have in common.

Our Founders Lakeville CT building in the late 1800's

Nature evolves as does business. Throughout history different species have come and gone. Some of those species existed for countless generations prior to extinction. The species that have survived have often been able to do so by their ability to adapt to the threats that each new generation poses.

The business world evolves as well. Those that don’t adapt to changing conditions won’t survive. Many bemoan the takeover of the “big box store” culture. But the reality is that many of these big box stores started out as small businesses. Their formula was what the public was looking for at that time. What is interesting is the number of competitors that often tried to compete on the same playing field as their competition. Anyone that follows sports knows that you always would rather play on your home field and not the field of your competition.

Personally, when shopping locally, I prefer to shop at a small business because they offer me something that the big box stores don’t offer. However, if that small business doesn’t distinguish itself from the big box store, than the box store is simply a better option for me.

Being a small business owner and in my twenty fifth year in the insurance industry, I am very aware of the evolution that is taking place. Just in that period of time, we have seen the introduction of the cell phone, the laptop, the internet and countless other tidbits of technology, all of which have had a significant impact on our business. We have even seen exciting new technology like the fax machine, already on the verge of extinction. Our industry has also seen unprecedented advertising budgets that have led to a deluge of television, radio, print and web advertising. Personally, I went from being a salesman with a thousand index cards filled with potential new clients to my new life as a blogger.

In order to adapt to the ever changing business landscape, first we must define our value proposition and make sure that our proposition is relevant. We must then understand how to best communicate that proposition to the buying public in a manner that lines up with how our target market wishes to buy. We should be aware of what the competition is doing, but be careful to not assume their identity. It’s important to be an innovator, not a copycat.

At Founders, our roots date back more than one hundred and twenty five years. It’s a rich history to draw experiences from, just not one that we want to live in permanently.

Have a great day!

Chris Garlasco

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