Michigan-Based Entrepreneur Peter Vitale Lends Advice For Business Development
Peter Vitale is a Michigan-based entrepreneur, small business owner, and insurance consultant. With years of operational experience as the owner of Bloomfield Insurance Group, based in Michigan, Peter Vitale has perfected the leadership skills needed to develop, grow, and maintain a thriving small business venture in the insurance realm. Through this continued growth, Michigan-based entrepreneur Peter Vitale recognized the potential benefits of lending his expertise to struggling and fledgling insurance businesses. Thus, the seasoned insurance agency owner branched out to become an insurance consultant.
Peter Vitale spearheaded his professional experience in the insurance realm as an Executive Account Manager for Allstate Insurance between 2012 and 2014. Then, he opened his own branch in February of 2014. By 2016, Peter Vitale’s agency was deemed the fastest growing Allstate branch of the year. It was then that he began considering the consultancy route.
As a small business owner, what do you typically do on a daily basis? Are there any methods you implement to ensure that you stay on task?
Though every day can be vastly different, with new sets of challenges and tasks, there are a few tasks that I make sure to accomplish on a daily basis. As an entrepreneur, consultant, and overall busy professional, I rely on task management apps throughout the day to keep me organized, and to make sure that I don’t drop the proverbial ball on anything. I find that these apps not only help to keep me on task, but they also allow me to feel confident and secure in my planning, leaving me able to focus solely on my customers’ needs.
On a daily basis, I try to make progress to resolve client concerns, champion client success and get closer to long-term goals. This can include recruiting staff members, training, and providing ongoing training support to insurance companies. This can also include longer-term planning, development of strategies, and oversight of marketing plans. With this many balls up in the air, it is imperative that I am able to remain flexible, open, and ready to tackle tasks as they come my way. I’ve learned that these innate characteristics are very helpful when running a business.
You mentioned that you create bespoke development plans for each insurance company that you work with. How do you develop successful strategies?
As an insurance consultant, my job is to garner success on behalf of my clients. It takes a multi-faceted approach to maximize success on all fronts, from marketing to staffing. Thus, developing a strategic growth plan for an insurance company requires me to look at all of the facets of the company currently in play, and figure out how to streamline operations, increase profit, generate loyal consumer bases, and set up the infrastructure needed for the company to function successfully.
I do all of these tasks by starting off with an outline. Typically, I will spend two to three days considering the strategic facets of my outline, how these facets will be implemented in day-to-date operations, and what results can be achieved through the implementation of these tactics. Sometimes, plans may appear easy to incorporate on paper, but in reality, may be met with unforeseen roadblocks. Thus, taking the time to appropriately examine these things proactively ensures that I don’t have to waste a lot of time problem-solving on the back end.
Additionally, I like to spend a few days on the brainstorming process to ensure that my thoughts are uninfluenced by any outside or fleeting factors. Maintaining a pragmatic approach is best, and thus, taking the time to eliminate any potential influencing factors allows plans to be totally pragmatic. I spend a few days developing, revising, and finalizing outlines. By the time I am finished, I feel confident that I have a blueprint for success, and can move forward to the action phase of a plan.
What processes and productivity hacks would you recommend to other entrepreneurs and business professionals?
I’m always on the go, and I imagine that other entrepreneurs perform at a similar pace. As I’m always moving on to various tasks, I don’t necessarily have the time to stop what I am doing when a potentially great idea comes to mind. Whether it’s a client strategy or an operational idea, I can be triggered by something that I’m doing at a present moment. To remain engaged in the moment without losing the idea, I make sure to take quick notes. Whether they’re handwritten and later scanned, or taken via smartphone, I take 10 seconds to jot down my thoughts and revisit these thoughts when I have additional time to dedicate to them.
This efficiency allows me to successfully harvest ideas in the moment, while still maintaining focus on whatever it was that I was engaged in previously. In addition to capturing my ideas, I make sure to always keep them organized. This way, I can easily reference various ideas at a later date and utilize previously saved ideas as future inspiration. Often, projects that may come up several months later are appropriate for a strategic idea that I thought about months prior. So, this system works for me, and I would highly recommend it for all other professionals in highly strategic fields.
What advice would you give fledgling entrepreneurs and business owners?
I would certainly tell any hopeful business owner that hard work is a major key to success. I recognize that this advice seems rudimentary, but it is absolutely true. Often, fledgling entrepreneurs believe that they may become lucky, or bypass the grunt work to get to glorious success. Sure, there are instances where that may be the case. However, overwhelmingly, there is no substitute for hard work. Perseverance is one of the most common inherent personality traits of effective leaders. Hustling will help you accomplish goals, and reach your dreams faster than you thought. Don’t be afraid of the abovementioned hard work.
What habits do you find professionally meaningful? How would you recommend that other entrepreneurs adopt these habits into their daily lives?
These days, it is absolutely easy to become distracted. There are so many external stimuli simultaneously vying for our attention. In order to make sense of my thoughts, professional strategies, and overall ideas, I try to sit in complete silence for at least one hour per day. I don’t necessarily consider this meditative, or do it for the mental health and wellness benefits. Instead, I consider this to be “contemplative time”.
During this time, I try to actively contemplate what I am working on, how to maximize success, and what I have going on professionally. I try to do this without distractions, though I recognize how difficult this may be. For this reason, I recommend that professionals who want to devote some time to contemplation turn off their electronic devices and carve out dedicated time that they can sneak away to successfully complete this task. Perhaps it can be at the end of the day, or during a lunch break.
Why and how do you think that contemplating ideas can bring success?
In my own career trajectory, I’ve found the aforementioned contemplative time to be instrumental in breeding the answers to various problems, questions, and concerns. Thinking freely allows me to contemplate various solutions that may not be immediately at the forefront of my mind. These creative thoughts often end up being implemented successfully and are usually borne out of the natural progression of uninterrupted thought. Warren Buffet discusses following a similar structure throughout the day, referring to his contemplative stages as being similar to that of an academic. Obviously, as a successful pioneer, Buffet’s support of this methodology renders confidence in this process.
When it comes to customer service versus sales numbers, which is more important?
While many insurance agents and agency owners want to take on as many clients as physically possible, I believe this strategy to inevitably yield negative results. By focusing solely on the number of clients represented, insurance agents and agency owners may be sacrificing the quality of customer service offered. Without enough staff to successfully support the needs of a growing customer base, customers may be left with unresolved questions, procedures that are unfinished, and an overall lackluster experience.
Instead of this approach, I engage fully with a smaller number of clients, focusing on them with unending amounts of attention, action, and consideration. To ensure that these clients receive unparalleled attention and customer service, I dedicate my professional efforts to ensuring that their needs are met, rather than focusing on expanding my customer base.
You mentioned relying on organizational apps to keep you on track professionally. What other tech do you utilize regularly, and recommend for other professionals?
I use my task organization app, Asana, on a constant basis. Asana is very intuitive and features a web-based service that works seamlessly along with an iPhone app. This multi-platform integration renders Asana the perfect companion for working at the office, or on the move. The platform also allows for collaboration between teammates, which is perfect for projects that require various people to be on the same page at all times. Instead of having to write endless update emails to team members, we can all simply interact on a singular platform that keeps us up to date at all times.
Are there any business-related books that you have found to be useful for your entrepreneurial journey?
I have read several books on general business topics, as well as very niche subsects of my own industry. I’ve found Jim Collins’ “Good To Great” to be very enjoyable, educational, and inspirational. In the book, Collins delves into the importance of mastering basic principles of leadership, and the proverbial fundamentals. Without mastery of the basics, high-level executives and business professionals cannot succeed on their own. Collins’ methods of diving into the examination of how fundamental principles impact success on a long-term basis are brilliant and effective for anyone looking to embark on a professional journey.
As an Insurance Consultant, how did you master the skills needed to help struggling insurance agencies flourish?
Prior to entering this role, I gained a large amount of pertinent “on the job” experience as an Insurance Agent, and Supervisor. I owned and operated my own successful Allstate agency for several years. In fact, my branch was named as one of the country’s fastest-growing Allstate agencies between 2014 and 2016. In 2015, I earned Allstate’s coveted Inner Circle Elite Award, which is earned by only roughly 1% of the over 11,000 agencies operating throughout the country.
These measures of success were representations of the continued growth, success, and scaling that my company was able to achieve. On a day to day basis, these measures were accomplished as a result of successfully implementing worthwhile strategies, maintaining a focus on customer satisfaction, and continued staff training and development. Throughout this experience, I was able to take stock of strategies that worked, implement changes needed to maximize success, and develop solid plans for growth.
It was only after achieving these milestones that I considered pivoting into the role of Insurance Consultant. In order to lead others, you must first master the very thing you are instructing others to do. Thus, after maintaining my own success on such a long-term basis, I set out to establish similar results for others. I find this role to be very rewarding, both personally and professionally.
Originally published at http://professionaltales.com.