The Last Word: Master the fundamentals

Ken Riesch co-founded R&R Insurance Services Inc. in a small building in downtown North Prairie in 1976. The company, with steady sales growth and some strategic acquisitions, has grown to become one of the largest independent insurance agencies in the Midwest, with $21.2 million in annual revenues and 169 employees. Today, Riesch is the sole owner of the company. Riesch says the key to business growth is keen attention to the fundamentals.

“There have been major thoughts in our business over the course of the last 30-plus years. Our major thought has always been to remember that we are a sales and service organization. Every thing we do revolves around that commitment.

“Know your financials. You need to control expenses and lower costs where you can. Look first at owner and principal compensation.

“Look for growth. Look for new business opportunities that need service. Anybody can sell just price. Ask yourself , ‘What more can we offer a class of business than just price?

“Always be looking for new talent. Be sure not to hang on to the marginal producers. Look for sales and service people that really make a difference.

“Look at business acquisitions that fit your organization from a cultural view and then talent pool. There most likely will be some great buys out there.

“Consider borrowing for business disciplines like expansion, acquisition or technology. Just because the economy is poor, we cannot forget that we need to continue to invest in the business. Be sure your financials are in order, or banks will take advantage of you. Maintain the best credit you can for the business and yourself. If you don’t, you will lose the opportunities to expand your organization in this economic downturn. Banks will simply not look at bad credit risks today. But they do need to lend money.”

Ken Riesch, President

R&R Insurance Services Inc.

1581 E. Racine Ave., Waukesha

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