Ok, I have sometimes written my blog without taking time to let my rage subside but I have waited to speak on this latest fiasco so as to not fly off and say something off handedly. I have heard the pundits say that our President was taken out of context when he made his statement, “You didn’t build that.” So I took the effort to listen numerous times to the entire speech and I am still pretty sure that he doesn’t believe that individuals are responsible for business but rather only because of government do they exist. He mentions that schools, roads, and infrastructure are the reasons that these businesses exist. I call male cattle dung! Every single American has those things and yet, not every single American builds a business. We are all given the same government supplied systems and yet, some decide to take a chance and put everything on the line. They are the ones who build that. Everyone in our industry has taken a chance that others won’t, and because of their efforts, not the government’s, they decide their own futures. Even those who go into the insurance field are separated by their accomplishments. Some find a special niche while others may devise unique marketing ideas. Each builds their own brand and company. How dare our President make a statement that tells our youth that it doesn’t matter if you work hard, take chances, and maybe stay in school to better educate yourself? His statement that those people who start businesses are not smarter (education doesn’t matter), they haven’t worked harder (putting in extra effort or working extra jobs doesn’t matter), and if you built a business, you didn’t do that, someone else made that happen (don’t take chances, don’t hire people, don’t believe in the American Dream). You don’t think that is what he said, listen to the speech. Here is the link. http://youtu.be/YKjPI6no5ng Tell that to the small business owner that struggles every day to make payroll. Tell that to the small business owner who hasn’t had a vacation in three or four years. Tell that to the small business owner that hasn’t been able to take a paycheck from their companies because there just isn’t any money left after paying for everything. The only thing the government has done to the small business is make it more difficult to survive. Regulations, taxes, and oversight have strangled the business owner to a point that they question why they are in business. I know because I am that small business owner.
Ten years ago, on September 1st of 2002, I took a chance. I had a successful insurance practice that paid my bills and left me a life that was comfortable. I could have continued to live that comfortable life but I decided to take a chance. Along with Rob Collins, we opened OCI and signed a ten year lease at our current location. Not only did taking that chance risk everything I had built, but the chance of losing was far greater than the chance of success. We spent many evenings putting our office furniture together so as to save a few dollars. We worked nights and weekends to continue our own private practices. We went without income from the company simply because there was none to take. We worked hard to convince brokers and agents to place business with us. We begged carriers to allow us to distribute their products and at times, did so without any compensation so as to convince the carrier that we were for real. We continued to grow and strived to find good qualified people to work with us in the company. At times, we would make mistakes and because of our size, a small mistake can destroy a year of successes. At the end of the day though, we were building a business and today, 25 employees enjoy the fruits of our labors. Twenty five people and the dependents that rely on them are able to live a better life than had we not built OCI. Over 2000 brokers are better equipped to assist their clients because we took a chance and built our company. Over 60 carriers are able to market their products more efficiently and at a lower cost because we built our company. Our government didn’t build OCI although they do get a good portion of the income through taxes. Our government didn’t hire these twenty five people, OCI did. The only thing that our government has done is to make the small business like OCI jump through hoops, make things more difficult, and now, threaten to put us out of business. I am sorry Mr. President, I did build this company!
Thanks to all our business partners for allowing us to serve you over the last ten years. To our brokers, congratulations on taking a chance on your businesses and for taking care of your clients and the businesses they built. To our carrier partners, thanks for standing by us as others tried to put us out of business. I look forward to the changes in November and I look forward to the next ten years of working in this business called OCI.