We’re all in a period of transition and recovery as we face health and economic challenges which impact not only our personal lives, but our businesses as well. Shelter in place orders have been lifted in large parts of the country. But, as we speak the virus is still a real threat, and in some places a growing one. In this uncertainty you may be asking yourself “What now?” or “How do I get my agency back on track?”
We spoke to a few District Managers to see what they are advising their agents to do.
“Control the controllable.”
District Manager Brian Daniels wants to remind agents to “Control the controllable. We can’t control the market, the government, what virus is circulating, or how our clients and loved ones react to any of these items, BUT we can control how we react: our perspective, attitude, and effort.”
We couldn’t agree more, and one of the things you can control is your financial plan moving forward. Your Credit Union business consultant is here to discuss your plans and goals, and may be able to help you bring them to life quickly and cost-effectively. Call today to set up a remote meeting with you or to be a special guest at your next staff meeting!
“We win as a team…”
Many agents are back in the office now, but not everyone has been allowed that luxury yet. And with the virus on the rise again who knows if stay at home orders will be placed on us again. So it’s important to make sure not only you but your team is capable of making that transition smoothly.
Here are some best practices District Manager Michael J. Crawley shared to help you with your Agency Business Continuity Plan:
- Utilize online clock apps like “On the Clock,” for hourly employees to login and enter payroll hours.
- Provide laptops to employees or confirm personal computers are in compliance with Farmers’ encryption policy. MS Pro is available for $99.00/computer. (Turn on Bitlocker) Encrypt entire disk.
- Have phone lines transferred to a remote cell phone. Either have employees take an office phone home or download your phone carrier’s app to a cell phone.
- Utilize Zoom (basic option) or Skype for webinars with clients (also for internal staff meetings).
- Use the CamScanner app for documents that need to be uploaded to the dashboard by your staff.
- Use DocuSign to get electronic signatures from your clients.
- If cash payments are necessary, utilize disposable gloves.
- Set up Mobile Banking to submit ACA checks by phone to avoid trips to the bank or ATM.
- Email and/or call clients to educate them on all digital and mobile apps available from Farmers.
“The [Credit Union] lending options have been incredible.”
Recovery will come, and now is the time to prepare for it. Your Credit Union is part of the Farmers family, which means we’re committed to supporting you in ways banks can’t or won’t. If you need help marketing, staffing up or to just bridge the gap, we can help you finance this quickly, painlessly and on favorable terms.
As Bill Matlock, District Manager, notes “The lending options have been incredible.” District Manager, Jeff Ellis, stresses, “While this is a unique situation for everyone, new business does not have to suffer. Customers are still shopping, and in fact now have more time to shop around. Agents need to find new marketing systems that will work for their agency. [Having the Credit Union to provide] access to funds…to hire additional help to handle the customer call volume…has allowed agents the financial security to continue to stay open and handle their customers during this time.”
This Forbes article on small-business recovery affirms Bill’s advice. It also adds the value of a prioritized recovery timeline with frequent reviews and adjustments as needed. They also stress the importance of contingency planning for the next crisis or lock down. This may be needed sooner than you think!
Whatever your circumstances or plans, your Credit Union is here to help, and we continue to use our financial strength to help our Agent Family. Know that we succeed when you do, so be sure to take advantage of our support and services, including our special value, agent-specific loans and products.
And most importantly — stay well. Even if it seems “all clear” locally, things change in a hurry. So here’s some expert guidance to keep yourself, your staff, and those you care about safe as you get back to “normal.”