Articles by Bill Schoeffler and Catherine Oak

Oak is the founder of the consulting firm, Oak & Associates, based in Northern California and Central Oregon. Oak & Associates. Phone: 707-935-6565. Email: catoak@gmail.com.

Minding Your Business: Making the Competition Irrelevant by Differentiation

As competition intensifies, agency owners have found it increasingly difficult to grow their business. Profit margins have shrunk, leaving many to turn to acquisition to sustain a high level of growth. This is known as a red ocean trap, where …

6 Industry Trends to Exploit for 2018

To prepare for the future, business owners need to observe what trends are occurring and then evaluate how those trends could impact their business. It is a guessing game, but an educated guess is usually proven to be better than …

Disaster Planning for Agencies: Minding Your Business

Northern California and specifically Sonoma and Napa Counties have experienced the worst wildfires in the history of California. Most of these fires began around Oct. 8, 2017, during night with extremely high winds, that knocked power lines out in hills …

Minding Your Business: 10 Rules for Family Businesses

Family businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. They generate more than 50 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 70 percent of job creation. However, only about one-third survive into the second generation, and 12 …

Minding Your Business: The Tale of Two Values

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” This opening line in Charles Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities” summarizes the contradictions and …

Minding Your Business: Agency of the Future

Yogi Berra once said: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Ignoring that wisdom, what will the insurance agency business model look like in 10 years or 20 years? Right now there are several major trends that are …

Minding Your Business: Preparing for the Loss of a Producer

Recently, a client of ours had two producers leave to start their own agency. The impact on the agency was significant. These two producers generated about half the agency commissions. The owner was scrambling to adjust to the change. Producers …

Minding Your Business: Key Deals Makers and Deal Breakers Today

Why are some transactions or “deals,” as they are called, most likely to happen or not happen? There are a number of factors that come into play, and those of us in the industry call them deal makers and deal …

Minding Your Business: Now Is the Time to Get Rid of Outdated Beliefs in the Agency

Quick, what color is a yield sign? Many adults, especially those more than 50 years old will say unequivocally that a yield sign is yellow and black. The image is so clear in their mind. Well, the yield sign is …

Minding Your Business: Trends to Exploit in 2017

It is a new era for our country, with President Donald Trump coming into power with the theme to “Make America Great Again.” Perhaps it is also the time to do the same for agency planning. Are there things in …