Setting up shop as a broker has its challenges – however, fortune favours the bold and there are plenty of reasons why tomorrow’s leaders should consider our sector

By Stuart Reid

Stuart Reid

Stuart Reid

Consolidation in our industry is surely a massive opportunity to those looking to run their own business. And why not? Opportunities abound with a reducing number of brokers looking at others – often ageing principals – selling and, in many cases, with no natural succession in place.

Combine this generational change with a very significant minority of people in broking that now work for companies that they never chose and the desire for their own piece of the action grows.

This new world can be a difficult place for those with an independent spirit. A change of ownership can, unless handled well, cause itchy feet thanks to a different culture, a larger company size and less of a voice.

However, setting out on your own is definitely not for the fainthearted.

One look at the FCA website puts things into perspective. Those that reach this stage of the ownership journey are told to be “ready, willing and organised” – all good advice, but obviously much more is needed.

Bold broking

Questioning why anyone would embark on such an endeavour to set up shop is key.

A simple dislike of where you are is not enough. A passion for what you do believe in is key.

Some may be passionate simply for the reward – a hollow goal, but it has propelled a few to significant success.

Dare I say ego plays its part too. If you do not believe in yourself, why on earth would others believe in you? A desire to make your own mistakes, prove yourself, gain recognition for doing it differently have all been drivers for some individuals.

Or it is simply opportunistic – looking at an opportunity missed, doing things a different way, or taking on a line of business that is too small for others.

Whatever the reasoning, starting up your own broker will be a much tougher journey than imagined, but hopefully more rewarding.

If you can find someone to share the load and be a partner, someone you trust, then this can greatly help – it did for me. The range of skills needed is huge, especially in the early years, and sharing that load can be invaluable.

And think about kicking it off with the purchase of a small business. Yes, this will take funding, but it will propel you years ahead of anyone silly enough to start without it.

You need a basic income pretty much guaranteed to begin. Regulation, agencies with insurers, bank accounts, cost of IT and implementation demand it.

Fortune favours the bold and in an industry where we are fortuitously placed with annual renewals, have proved ourselves recession proof and are blessed by enviable cash generation, it is a less risky venture than most – surely appealing to those young enough and bold enough to believe that they can be the business owners of tomorrow.