Don't let the word “small” mislead you—there's nothing smallabout them. Their numbers are big, they’re growing and they serveas the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. And, most importantly, theyneed your help.

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Yes, I’m talking about small businesses with fewer than 100employees. According to LIMRA, they make up about 98 percent of allemployers. And, according to Moody's, with more than 5.6 millionsmall businesses employing over 64 million people, they encompass55 percent of the working population. That's big.

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The struggle with most small businesses is that they havelimited or no human resource staff to help evaluate benefit optionsfor their employees. And, because many of them don't currentlyoffer employee benefits, that translates into an untapped marketfor you, the broker.

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Here are a few suggestions to help get big results.

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Small business owners rely on and nurture relationships. Partnerwith attorneys, accountants and local associations to connect withthese business owners.

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Offer your help in meeting their core benefits needs first, suchas medical, dental, life, disability and vision, as foundationalelements of the program. Consider voluntary options if cost is alimiting factor for the employer. Then, later expand coverage toinclude supplemental benefits like critical illness to fill gaps.Remember, too, that because of so many benefits choices, smallemployers might worry that they’ll make the wrong choices inchoosing offerings. Your job is to help relieve that anxiety andhelp them pick the right benefits for them.

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Small businesses don't view themselves as small—they cravechoice and flexibility just like everyone else. So be sure totailor a package that meets their specific objectives. While it canbe simple, be sure it feels customized to the employer. Don'tsuggest a generic pre-packaged benefit design.

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Partner with a carrier that has expertise in the small casemarket—one that offers creative product solutions and can provideflexibility and robust support for both you and your clients. Thisis critical in the small case market.

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All in all, don't let the word “small” deter you from goingafter this market segment. It's big business and, if done well, itwill produce big results and help you expand your client base.

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