Do you make niche branding a priority in your agency?
If not, you should.
In the past year I’ve learned a few very powerful lessons about focus and it’s impact on growth while building my own insurtech startup, Effective Coverage.
Effective Coverage was founded in 2008. Over the last 9 years, through blood, sweat, trial and error, we’ve experienced considerable growth in our renters insurance program.
It seems as if almost everyday, new opportunities arose that could help our renters insurance program break into new markets.
As a budding entrepreneur, I saw this as our, “gas pedal moment.”
So we accelerated. We expanded into new areas and new lines of business, assuming the same methods which grew our renters insurance program, would yield similar results in new markets.
Growth is hard. Growth in lines of business you don’t have a natural affinity for is down right difficult.
Our focus on on expansion drained resources and strained company moral.
We were so used to winning that we walked right into a classic startup mistake.
Whereas our proprietary renters insurance program created value and differentiation, we had no competitive advantage in the new markets and lines of business we had attempted to expand into.
I had to make a decision. Throw good money at a bad decision or cut bait and refocus.
In the end, the choice wasn’t as tough as you might think. I didn’t start Effective Coverage for media headlines or large venture capital investments. Effective Coverage was my answer to the question, “Why do so few renters have renters insurance?”
A question I asked myself after experiencing firsthand the devastation of an uninsured apartment fire.
2016 delivered some tough challenges. We may not have made it through if it wasn’t for all the hard work we’d done building a strong brand in the renters insurance niche. But we made it and are now poised to thrive in 2017.
Here are five niche branding lessons learned while growing my insurtech startup:
1) Core Growth Wins
Growth feels good.
Hitting significant milestones month after month fuels the fire to grow even more. But if you’re not careful, it can also give you a false sense of confidence.
When we decided to expand Effective Coverage into different markets, it seemed like it was the right course of action.
We saw our monthly renters insurance business growing and didn’t think twice about our ability to repeat that growth in other marketers.
We’re rock stars, right?
In hindsight, our rapid growth in the renters insurance space was due to strategic partnerships we’d put in place early after our launch. Our early growth was not because of some fancy growth hacking strategy.
But rather hard fought relationships built over an uncountable number of phones calls, emails and in-person meetings.
The reality is, your core business, is your core business.
LESSON: Concentrate on your core business till you’ve drained every drop it can produce. Don’t be too quick to move to the next shiner product or line of business.