Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Steve Sloan, CEO of online insurance company Insure 247.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea
I’ve worked in insurance for many years and I noticed that a lot of insurers were neglecting the micro SME space. I thought that we could build a new type of brokerage based on service and scale that provided the same offerings and service across the insurance market – that’s why I decided to launch Insure 247. We noticed a trend that the insurance market was moving more and more towards cloud-based and online systems, and we saw an opportunity to provide the same level of service to the little guys as was being offered to big business.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
We had to fund our business through organic growth, Insuretech was in its infancy when we started and there was not a lot of venture capital for market distributors looking to change a 300-hundred-year-old system.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
We differentiate ourselves from our competitors by tailoring our entire customer experience to meeting the needs of our individual clients. We are called Insure 247, not Insure 9-2, Monday till Thursday, so we need to make sure that we are able to deal with our clients any time 24 hours a day seven day a week. If our customers have a claim they can call and speak to someone anytime then need. A lot of our competitors don’t offer this.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
One of the biggest challenges was when we moved to a new building and the phone system recommend by a large telco simply didn’t work with their internet connection. This meant that we couldn’t use our phone system, which is obviously a major part of our business and the main way our customers contact us. We moved building’s and now only use cloud-based systems, but the initial mistake caused a lot of stress and cost us a lot of money!
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
Our business would find it very difficult to operate effectively without Salesforce or the cloud PBX telephony system, Natterbox that integrates directly into the CRM. This application allowed us to be available to our customers 24 hours per day seven days per week as well as keeping accurate records of all calls, including new sales leads. As we are in a highly regulated industry this system also allows us to keep an accurate record of all of our calls to make sure that we comply with all insurance industry standards.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Follow your passion and the money will follow.
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