Behind the scenes of a small business
Brad Hull was a businessman in corporate America, making big deals for the companies he worked for, while living in Chicago. One day he was driving through the city of LaPorte and saw the interest of living in a small town compared to a big city. The friendly community and beautiful lake life was appealing to him and his family, so he told his wife to find a home and they decided to settle down to start a family.
With Hull’s background in sales and years of experience he was sought out by State Farm to become a business agent. After a year of training, he was sent out to work with some of their best agents to get a feel for the business.
After having the opportunity to open up his own office in downtown LaPorte and being open for only around four months, the landlord for the building he was working out of decided to sell.
At the same time, because he was only open for around four months at that time, State Farm has the ability to shut down his business due to their contract stating that the business has one year to prove themselves to State Farm to have a long-term contract with them. Due to contractors buying the building he eventually was pushed out of his space, so he was led to the decision to move his business and get his own building.
After a great deal of research and looking at market factors he moved to 318 Park Lake Avenue. Now after renovating the whole property, he also has been able to rent out some of the other spaces in the building.
One of the biggest obstacles Hull says he has had to overcome is finding the right employees who fit. He has gone through many employees just trying to find the people who like working there. His office manager Anna has been with him since he first opened; he says that they keep each other in line and get along great, which is what he needs in his business.
For others looking into opening up their own small business, he says the biggest thing is to have a good business plan. It is something necessary to give you an idea on the correct course of actions needed to start a business.
“If you don’t have a pathway set then how do you know which way to walk,” Hull said.
One of the biggest benefits of starting a business in a small town is being able to be close with people and share advice. Being able to have a go to person for most things is severely beneficial. Hull says that he even still goes to his mom for help. She is a successful leader, being a vice president of a hospital at one point in her life.
Hull says when it comes to being an insurance agent there are two ways to work, working in a business or working on a business. He chooses to work on his business, his team does all of the heavy lifting he says by taking all the phone calls, payments, and doing all of the quoting. He works on how to grow the business and maintain it, while also being the go to person for people seeking a one on one conversation you can’t get with a lot of other companies.
“The main thing that I would put out there is I am accessible for what the needs are,” Hull said.
Overall being in a small knit community Hull has successfully achieved opening a profitable business and building a happy home.