Meet Marty Haynes, Founder of HFC Insurance – an independent insurance agency, established in 2003 to provide specialized insurance coverage to individuals and businesses. In part, specialized for them means local. Part of a quote Marty uses describes what he means. “You can always talk with an agent in a faraway state or deal with a customer service department in India. Insurance is specialized and local. What works in one part of the country may not work well in another. Consult a local expert! Your professional services should never be farmed out to a call center thousands of miles away.”
Prior to his entrepreneurial journey, he worked 8 years for a national insurance carrier in Charlotte NC.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Marty Haynes: I always had this desire to start a business. That journey was placed on hold when I joined the Airforce in 1988. After my service, I attended USC-Aiken in Aiken SC. That is where I received my Marketing degree and shortly after, begin my career in the insurance industry. I started working for CIGNA Health in Charlotte, NC. My experience began with customer service, serving small businesses as a client manager, then consulting brokers and small businesses on the products to help provide employees with the financial protections that benefits give. The opportunity opened up in January 2003 to begin my entrepreneurial journey. It’s a journey I still enjoy today!
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your view point, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Marty Haynes: I believe entrepreneurs are both born and made. What I mean by that is, some are born with a shorter learning curve and maybe a higher tolerance of risk. Others develop that over time by learning and growing. That can be by having a great mentor, reading or both.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Marty Haynes: I love to serve. Serving meets a need. Needs if served well keeps a business running.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Marty Haynes: I started the business on January 13th, 2003. Since my professional career began in employer benefits, I started with what I knew. As time went on, our clients’ needs evolved. We started adding individual health insurance as employees would leave their employer. As that segment grew, we were asked about home and auto coverage, then Medicare products. Our employer clients wanted help on their general liability and workers comp coverage. Since our goal is to serve our clients, we added products over the years to meet a need and provide a better service to them.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Marty Haynes: There will be challenges and failures. Never stop learning. Find a good mentor. We live in a time where there is so much information. Not all of it is wisdom. Find the nuggets. Read, then read and read some more. Stay away from mindless TV. There is a wonderful world of podcasts that give new businesses today a quick boost.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Marty Haynes: Business just doesn’t come to you. Even with the digital age, one must beat the pavement. We are social people. Business is still made by shaking hands. One must figure out the balance between old-school selling and new technologies.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Marty Haynes: Get a mentor fast and when someone gives you a book that will help you in business read it then. Don’t wait 5 years after it was given to you and after the death of the person who told you to read it!!
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Marty Haynes: LinkedIn will solve all your sales needs. The lesson learned is we must continue to have face-to-face relationships.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Marty Haynes: If someone wants to start a restaurant, there must be a drive-thru option. Covid showed us that those who had one faired much better. Think of “what if” situations. What hasn’t changed? The realization that we still need personal relationships to stay in business. Providing great customer service. That’s one thing Covid exposed. If you had horrible customer service before Covid, Covid exposed it!
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Marty Haynes: The myth. The harder you work the more successful you will be. What do I mean by that? It’s working smarter. Yes, you will work hard, but you must look for ways to do it better. Ways your business will grow without you being there. Work processes that make things easier. Use technology to your advantage. Find the right technology not just the next shiny object.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Marty Haynes: Know your “why”! That will get you up in the morning. Have a desire to work hard and smart. This is not easy. That’s why 75% of businesses fail in the first 5 years. Get a mentor and read a lot.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Marty Haynes: I’ve addressed this in several answers. Mentors, books, podcasts. Talk with current business owners in and out of your area of focus. Look at those outside of your industry and see how they do business.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Marty Haynes: Weatherman. I have always had an interest in the weather. With today’s technology, it makes it even better.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Marty Haynes: Jesus. The one person who has had the most impact on this world over the last 2000 years.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Marty Haynes for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Marty Haynes or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
Did you enjoy this article? Check out similar stories:
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.