Wellman Shew is an entrepreneur, business leader, and long-time professional in the California insurance industry. Based in Fresno, California, Shew currently serves as Owner, President, and Agency Manager at Shew & Company Insurance Services Inc., an employee benefits brokerage established in 2005.
Where did the idea for Shew & Company Insurance Services Inc. come from?
The idea of incorporating and branding came from several peers and also was a result of a marketing class geared towards entrepreneurs. The use of my last name within the corporate name was to enhance credibility amongst small business owners which were my largest customers. Incorporating was also recommended by a CPA for tax purposes 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 spent overseeing the renewal process of a large employee benefits block of business as well as working with potential new clients.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas in my world are being creative in how best to communicate a solution to a
problem. At our core, we are problem solvers. We try to anticipate and work within the
parameters that we are given. Often the constraints are monetary or time or
communication with employees. We best service when an employer client has
employees who appreciate what is provided.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I have always had an issue with the lack of education in financial literacy. I think this has led to numerous mis-steps for millions of families. Why can’t a high school graduate make basic financial decisions? I see the trend to requiring classes at the high school level to be a necessary trend.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The ability to prioritize and the ability to finish. Business growth depends on getting things done on behalf of your clients. Efficiency and time management are critical to business growth. Clients pay for results. They are looking to us to operate on their behalf.
What advice would you give 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 that taught me what they knew and the many clients whom I’ve had the privilege of serving.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Today I see a lack of accountability and responsibility for one’s own circumstances. I come from an immigrant family and we were taught that we had to make 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. Albeit America also offers the opportunity to fail.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Persistence! My beginning are rooted in the “one card system” which was designed to create good habits in the art of prospecting in the life insurance business. These habits in prospecting and setting appointments allowed a focus on the details and the business side took care of itself.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Education. Understanding the needs of your client. Understanding business in general. I work in a field where everyone pretty much has access to the same products. Understanding the perspective of my clients has had an exponential effect in growing the business. Who are you going to buy from when the price is equal? The one who can empathize and articulate what his client needs and wants or the one who just has a product to sell. Operate as a consultant not as a sales person.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In sales, you will fail often. I don’t see failure as a problem. Success often means that you’ve failed more often than the competition. I strive to increase my batting average but I will NEVER be 100%. Overcoming means learning from your mistakes. I’ve gained more knowledge from cases that I have lost than the cases I have won.
What is the best $1000 you recently spent? What and why?
The best monies that I have recently spent went to: Clovis Hills Community Church, a non-profit called Total Life Change, another named Warrior’s Heart Ministry and another called IHope. I know each of their missions well. Each of their missions align with my beliefs and I feel that is the best way I can give back for the opportunities that I have been given in my life.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
BeneftPoint which is CRM software specifically for the employee benefits industry. This system allows me to track renewal dates and tracks everything that we do. As your business gets bigger, you still need to track the details and make sure that you are getting in front of your clients at the appropriate 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 employee benefits? Do they have a employee who should consider Medicare vs the group plan?
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I know this will be controversial but….”The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. Lee was a investigative journalist with the Chicago Tribune who sought to disprove Christ’s existence. He found otherwise. The rest of your life doesn’t really have any meaning unless you have a good foundation for why you do things. Chasing money, chasing career, chasing reputation, chasing women, chasing pleasure….is all meaningless at some point.