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Group paves the way for growth (Disponible en anglais seulement)

With more than 1.1 million small businesses across Canada – and close to 100,000 new operations starting up each year – small businesses represent over 95% of businesses in Canada, and that number continues to grow.1 More than 500,000 of those small businesses – representing more than 4 million Canadians – do not offer a workplace savings plan.2 Group benefits is not far behind – while some small businesses have adopted a group health and dental plan, the majority operate without a workplace benefits plan.3 This represents an unprecedented opportunity for you and your business.

We have established a partnership with Manulife that gives you access to their suite of small business Group products, tailored specifically for the small business market. We’ve worked together to create tools and resources to help you capture the opportunity of this largely untapped and rapidly growing market segment.

Needs based analysis

Understanding the small business client is key to positioning solutions that will have the greatest impact on their business. Small business owners are faced with many challenges that are both personal and professional in nature.

As an advisor, you can leverage this understanding to position the specific Group solution that will meet your client’s needs.

The small business lifecycle

Every year, Manulife conducts an annual survey of over 1,000 small business owners. In 2013, Manulife’s Small Business Research Report uncovered that there is a connection between the lifecycle of the small business and the time at which they choose to purchase workplace health and savings plans.4

The survey asked respondents to choose from three stages:

  1. Start-up: Owners are concentrating on setting up their company, hiring staff and investing all of the revenue back into the business.
  2. Growth: The business is set up and owners are now concentrating on expanding the client base and hiring additional staff.
  3. Established: The business is now stable and owners are equally concerned with client retention and finding new business. Hiring is about replacing staff.

Segmenting businesses by lifecycle stage provides a unique way to think about your small business clients and the challenges they face. It also demonstrates the way in which you can better approach clients and anticipate their existing needs.

  1. Start-up businesses

Starting a new business is exciting, but it requires an enormous amount of energy and perseverance. Owners of “Start-up” businesses are more likely to behave as consumers rather than business owners, as they are typically focused on survival and getting through their first critical years. Typically, new business owners give little thought to their personal financial plan – all of their energy goes into the business. Many Start-up operations do not have the budget to maintain a workplace health or savings plan.  However, this does not disqualify them from being a potential client in the future.  Taking the time to develop a relationship with this type of prospect can pay dividends later when the business is in a position to look at a group solution.

  1. Growing businesses

Once a small business moves into the Growth phase, there are often more opportunities than there is time, people, and resources. Growing companies face a number of challenges:

  • Attracting and retaining employees
  • Ensuring business continuation should the owner or a key employee die or become disabled

The small business owner that you built a relationship with during the Start-up phase will be better positioned to implement a group solution during these Growth years. Group Benefits are a common product for these types of businesses as they address the real risk of a business losing the key employees that keep their company running.

  1. Established businesses

This is the time when the business is likely generating the most cash. It is also the time when business owners realize they have outgrown the strategies that worked for them in the earlier stages of their business.

At this stage, business owners look for strategies to:

  • Minimize the tax implications of withdrawing retained earnings from the company
  • Build personal wealth and plan for a rewarding retirement

Owners of established businesses are looking at more options for their employees, including workplace savings plans. Implementation of a workplace savings plan is highest during this phase of the business, as employers are looking to reward the people who have helped them achieve their success.

The time is now

When it comes to your business, don’t leave anything on the table - start working on expanding your business now and prepare yourself to speak with business owners about their needs. Your competitors won’t wait, so why should you?

If you'd like support to help you tap in to the Group opportunity, contact group benefit support services at IDC/WIN or talk to your Manulife Representative today.

IDCWIN Group Benefit Support Services
Phone: 1-844-535-3919
Email: groupquotes@idcwin.ca

Contact your local Manulife Group Benefits or Group Retirement Account Executive.


1,2Key Small Business Statistics, Industry Canada, August 2013
3McKinsey analysis; LIMRA
4Manulife Small Business Research Report, 2013

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