Startups are no longer the little brothers of big corporations.They’re not only competing, but insome cases, they’re winning the battle for market share. Manyare following the lean startup model, which incorporates a “worksmarter, not harder” mentality to eliminate bureaucratic headachesand constantly improve.

Just like agile startups, insurance agencies must constantly learn and iterate to improve theirbase products. Becoming a lean organization begins with addressinginefficiencies and ensuring that constant improvement is the statusquo.

These four strategies can help agencies stay lean and keepimproving:

1. Build a culture of introspection

Inertia is one of the most challenging barriers to processinnovation. If you don’t regularly take a step back and examinewhether a process is necessary or optimized, you run the risk ofcontinuing to do what you do because that’s how you’ve always doneit. Benefits are too important to people to keep things stagnant,so if something doesn’t work, change it. Never get attached to asunk cost.

2. Automate inefficiencies and manualprocesses

Paper-based businesses should not exist in 2016. Agencies mustfind ways to cut the paper out of their workflows and bring theirrecords and communications into the digital age. Not only doesautomation make processes faster and less labor-intensive, it alsomakes everything more accurate — and that’s a big deal inbenefits.

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