Referral Power

 

Referral Power

Referrals are an important part of any small business. As a new business owner ofwww.alpineridgeinsurance.com I have been attending training with Safeco Insurance and the City of Auburn Chamber of Commerce. I have even driven as far as Montana to attend training. I have noticed that the training from these different sources has somewhat blended into each other so that central themes start to rise to the surface. One theme has been that of customer referrals and there importance in the business world.

So what is a referral and why is it so important to anyone in business. Basically a referral is when someone outside a business recommends another person or company. I have identified two resources for referrals as I look at the market. The first referral source is that of individuals that I know or have provided services to and would make a recommendation to others. The second is a professional referral from an individual I would like to work and partner with in order to provide a higher level of satisfaction to our combined clients. Either way referrals are important because they provide a personal connection to an individual who is in need of services.

The key word to referrals is “personal”. Making that human connection that provides for the beginning foundation of trust. I have found that identifying referral sources, such as individuals I know, and talking about referrals is a lot easier then implementing the concept of referrals. This is because referrals are not something I directly control, I can only try and influence others and hope for a good outcome. The good outcome being a referral.

If you are running your own business, or looking for a new position, think about the importance of a personal referral. If you know of a well-run business think about offering up a referral to someone you know or post something nice on their web page or social media. You can be both the recipient of and the giver of something special, a referral.

Dave Haynes | Alpine Ridge Insurance Agency

25-833-9501

Retirement Ready

 

Thinking about retirement, now or in the future?  Sure you are. Is your thought process kind of fuzzy or not in focus like the photo above? I recommend you take some time to clearly think about the future. During my first career I thought about it off and on and then gave it serious consideration as I approached the latter part of my career. I was fortunate to retire from my first career just over 4 years ago at the age of 54. I would like to share with you some personal insights I have learned along the way.

Invest – Don’t wait, invest in your future today! Contact a financial advisor, check with your company finance department to see what investment options might be available to you, and did I say, do it TODAY! Invest, Invest, Invest…

Information – Arm yourself with information. Become an expert on your retirement plan and what options will be available to you when you are ready to retire. Know what the options are reference your investments and possibly any social security you may be entitled to.

Decision – Making the decision to retire is a difficult one no matter how you look at it. You spent your whole life building and sacrificing for your career and now you are just going to walk away from it into the unknown. You are going to walk away from the identity you had with your career such as Senior Partner, Chief of Police, or City Manager. That walk may not be easy for some, prepare yourself.

Transition – Prepare for your transition into the second half of your life. I don’t think that most individuals reading this think that sitting on a quiet beach the rest of your life is going to do it. You are drivers, type A personalities, builders, leaders: with that I would recommend that you focus some time on that second career.

As for me, retirement has been great! It has provided me with needed time to recuperate, time to take care of aging parents, freedom to do the things I enjoy, and the opportunity to build a new Insurance business;www.alpineridgeinsurance.com . I am as excited about the second half of my life as I was about the first. So make your investments, get the information, make the decision and enjoy your transition into the second half of your life.

Dave Haynes | Alpine Ridge Insurance Agency

253-833-9501

Business Plan

 

New Business?

Ever thought about starting your own business? Were you filled with excitement, apprehension, questions? Having just started our new business, Alpine Ridge Insurance Agency, www.alpineridgeinsurance.com , I would like to share a few comments for those brave individuals who are contemplating stepping into the unknown.

My comments for this post will focus on one primary area of thousands, the Business Plan. A Business Plan is a document that you produce prior to starting a new business. The document is used by prospective investors, bankers, or in our case Insurance Companies to evaluate compatibility. For me our business plan identified areas from Vision, 5 years of income projections, to a marketing strategy. I knew from the start that the business plan would be more than just a historical document produced to meet requirements of a banker, it would be a guiding document during our startup phase and beyond.

Over the past 6 months since we opened our doors we have referred to our business plan over and over again. One example is our business philosophy of Integrity, Service, and Community. When we have been evaluating options or making business decisions we have fallen back on our business philosophy and that has helped us to stay focused on what we have identified as being important. Take community for example. When we are deciding where to spend our time and energy we know we want to be a part of our local community. As a result we are members of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and the Auburn Rotary and attend local networking meetings. We decided that we would make a contribution to a local nonprofit, Young Life, for identified client referrals. We advertise in the local Auburn Reporter as well as with the Auburn Symphony. In addition to our local advertising we also utilize Social Media with Face Book and Linked-in for example.

If you are thinking of starting that new business make sure you spend the time to create a quality Business Plan. Your Business Plan will be looked at by others and it will pay off both in the short term as well as the long term. Venture into the unknown…

Dave Haynes

Alpine Ridge Insurance Agency, Auburn WA

253-833-9501

Fire Storm – One Year Later

 

Part 3 of 3

It has now been one year since the Carlton Complex Fire (2014) swept across Okanagan County in Eastern Washington. The after math is still physically visible on the county side and its impacts on neighbors still fresh in their minds. Destroyed homes are in the process of being rebuilt, at least the ones that were insured. The grass is growing back and starting to cover the scared ground. Building lots stand empty where once stood a home and some lots sit silent as if it was the day after the fire.

The State Park at Alta Lake is once again filled with campers enjoying the weather and outdoors. Some of the campers however now camp in sites where trees and underbrush once covered the Park. The Park has made a concerted effort to jump start the restoration by planting new trees and removing burned trees and downfall. It is evident the Park is well into its renewal.

The City of Pateros is returning to normal and was filled to capacity at the July Apple Pie Jamboree. It was difficult to find a parking space as people filled the park area for food, fun, and entertainment. There are still many homes in the city that are missing and there is no doubt many individuals are still suffering the loss.

The Carlton Complex Fire is a disaster that is beyond comprehension and will never be forgotten by those that experienced it.

As I was in the process of writing Part 3 of Fire Storm – One Year Later, I was interrupted by news that a Pacific Northwest Storm struck Eastern Washington leaving lightning generated spot fires in its wake. Unfortunately those spot fires grew into large Complex fires that spread across Eastern Washington and they are still burning into September (2015). The State Park at Alta Lake has been converted into a very large fire camp that supports the firefighting efforts. We are now into the biggest fire season in Washington State history (second year in a row).

Although we have been very fortunate in that the fires burned around my community at Alta Lake I know that many others were again impacted with tragedy. This year we lost three firefighters who were working in the Twisp area. Please take a moment to think about their service and their families.

Fire Storm – Community among the Ashes

 

Fire Storm – Community among the Ashes

Part 2 of 3

Thank you for joining me for part two of a three part series called Fire Storm…

Following our narrow escape from the descending Fire Storm we made our way to the City of Chelan and a Red Cross station. Never before experiencing the need to utilize the services of a Red Cross station this was a new venture. I have dealt with various types of critical incidents in the past as the one in charge and with a certain amount of control. So now my wife Kim, our dog Lady, and I suddenly found ourselves on the other side of the equation. As we entered the Red Cross station (Chelan High School) we found it was full of people that were seeking refuge for the night or beyond. There were families with children, adults, emergency responders, beds, food and the like.

We were approached by a Red Cross volunteer who started out by asking us if we wanted some water. I found that this simple question was just what we needed as the reality of the situation started to sink in. The volunteer worked very closely with us to make sure we were okay, provided food, and a place to sleep. There were even toothbrushes. Kim found this out by seeing a 6 year old with a brand new one. The little girl said, “Mine was burned up with my house”. Kim slept inside the shelter and because these types of shelters can’t accommodate pets, Lady and I spent the night in the back seat of the truck. Yes it is possible for one full grown person and a dog to sleep, well sort of, in the back seat of an F-150. Just don’t tell Lady she is a dog.

The response of the community began to come into focus during the night at the Red Cross station. I am very thankful for the service the army of volunteers provided. They knew just what to say and how not to ask questions of people who were in dismay. It was evident that they were highly trained. The next morning we attempted to return to our cabin but were stopped as the fire was still burning and now blocked our access up highway 97 along the Columbia River. After many hours we were finally able to make our way through a smoke-filled and still burning countryside. We were more than relieved to find that the fire had burned to within 200 yards of our home and stopped. We were safe but not yet out of danger.

The fire had destroyed the power poles and lines and had taken down the land line phone system. I was told that in one area the fire burned power lines that were located underground. Now let us discuss what happens when there is no power. No power means no wells; no wells means no water, no water means no toilets; no water means you can’t put out spot fires around your home; no refrigeration, no refrigeration means no food storage so cooking becomes difficult.  I think you can start to see the problem especially since the fires were still burning around our homes.

Community is a wonderful thing to experience when the chips are down. You would always hope that your neighbors would come together in a disaster but you don’t know for sure until you experience it firsthand. One example was when a man dropped off a portable generator in my front yard and allowed me to use it for the duration of the event. He was a friend of our neighbor and brought 4 generators from Canada. Another neighbor assisted with the hookup of the generator. Another neighbor provided us with a $1,000.00 fire pump so that we could pump water out of the lake for fire protection. He told me to keep it as it was now mine. Another neighbor brought in a large water pumper truck into the neighborhood to provide extra protection. The list goes on…

The largest single example of community was the aide station that started in the Town of Pateros following the fire. The station started with the cooking of some food that was dropped off at the High School and grew into a service that continues to today. At its height the station provided all daily meals, fellowship (very needed), clothing, banking opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and fire updates. For me I found my time at the station provided a needed relief and connection to the community.

What I learned. Fire and Police resources become overwhelmed quickly when a major event strikes. Calling 911 expecting a response may not be practical. When a major disaster strikes, look to community for support while at the same time provide what support you can in return. When the world takes an unexpected turn, neighbors do unexpected things to help. So here is an emergency management question. Are you ready to take care of yourself if disaster strikes and are you ready to volunteer and help others in need? Preparation only occurs before the need…