Wellman Shew is a lifelong entrepreneur, business leader and professional in the California insurance industry. Based in Fresno, Calif., Shew is currently owner, president and agency manager of Shew & Company Insurance Services Inc., a benefits brokerage firm established in 2005.
Where did the idea for Shew & Company Insurance Services Inc. come from?
The idea to incorporate and create branding came from several peers and was also the result of a marketing course for entrepreneurs. Using my last name in the corporate name was to build credibility with the small business owners who were my biggest customers. Incorporation has also been recommended by a CPA for tax and liability purposes.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day is based on dealing with current issues that need to be resolved. This means communicating with the account manager to oversee and direct when needed. The day is dedicated to overseeing the renewal process for a large block of benefits business as well as working with potential new clients.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas in my world are creative in the best way to communicate a solution to a
problem. At our core, we are problem solvers. We try to anticipate and work in the
parameters given to us. Often the constraints are monetary or temporal or
communication with employees. We serve best when an employer client has
employees who appreciate what is provided.
What trend are you passionate about?
I’ve always had a problem with the lack of financial literacy education. I think this has led to many missteps for millions of families. Why can’t a high school graduate make basic financial decisions? I see the trend of requiring high school courses as a necessary trend.
What is one of your habits that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The ability to prioritize and the ability to finish. Business growth depends on how well things are done on behalf of your customers. Efficiency and time management are key to business growth. Clients pay for results. They rely on us to act on their behalf.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
The advice I would have given myself is to take the time to appreciate those who have helped me along the way. This would include my wife, the various managers who taught me what they knew, and the many clients I had the privilege of serving.
Tell us something true that hardly anyone agrees with you.
Today, I see a lack of accountability and responsibility for one’s own situation. I come from an immigrant family and we were taught that we had to go our own way. We learned financial literacy at an early age. Society wants to teach that most of us are victims of a corrupt system. I do not agree. America offers more opportunities than virtually any other country in the world. Although America also offers the opportunity to fail.
As an entrepreneur, what is one thing you do over and over again and recommend to everyone?
Persistence! My beginnings are anchored in the “one card system” which was designed to create good habits in the art of prospecting in the field of life insurance. These prospecting and meeting-booking habits allowed the focus to be on the details and the sales side took care of itself.
What is a strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Education. Understand your customer’s needs. Understand the business in general. I work in a field where almost everyone has access to the same products. Understanding my clients’ perspective has had an exponential effect on the growth of the business. Who will you buy from when the price is equal? The one who can understand and articulate what their customer needs and wants or the one who just has a product to sell. Act as a consultant and not as a salesperson.
What is one failure you have had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
In sales, you will often fail. I don’t see failure as a problem. Success often means you’ve failed more often than the competition. I strive to increase my batting average but I will NEVER be 100%. Winning means learning from your mistakes. I gained more knowledge in the cases I lost than in the cases I won.
What’s the best $1000 you’ve recently spent? What and why?
The best funds I’ve spent recently have gone to: Clovis Hills Community Church, a nonprofit called Total Life Change, another called Warrior’s Heart Ministry, and another called IHope. I know each of their missions well. Each of their missions corresponds to my convictions and I think it is the best way to give back to the opportunities that have been given to me in my life.
What software or web service helps you be productive? How do you use it?
BeneftPoint which is a CRM software specifically designed for the benefits industry. This system allows me to track renewal dates and keep track of everything we do. As your business grows, you should always track the details and make sure you are showing up to your customers at the right time. Do you see them at renewal time? Are you supposed to review the buy-sell agreement? Did they want to add a new line for their benefits? Do they have an employee who should consider health insurance over the group plan?
What book do you recommend our community read and why?
I know it will be controversial but… Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ”. Lee was an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune who sought to disprove the existence of Christ. He found the opposite. The rest of your life doesn’t really make sense unless you have a good basis for why you’re doing things. Chasing money, chasing after a career, chasing after a reputation, chasing women, chasing after pleasure… makes no sense at some point.