For nearly 40 years, Stacy Kahan has been helping businesses and individuals navigate the often-complex world of insurance and employee benefits. As the founder of 1706 Advisors, she and her team specialize in a product-neutral approach, providing guidance and support to clients looking to attract, retain, and nurture talent while balancing budget and productivity.
In this exclusive interview, Stacy shares her insights on the insurance industry, the importance of a customer-focused approach, and the secret to building a successful business.
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We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Stacy Kahan: My name is Stacy Lang Kahan, and I have been in the Insurance and Benefit Brokerage business for almost 40 years. The reason I feel passionate about my work is I get to discover what people’s dreams are – for their businesses and in their personal lives – and then use insurance as a tool to help them get there and keep them safe en route.
I founded 1706 Advisors over 30+ years ago, using a product-neutral approach specializing in employee benefits and individual insurance programs. We are a customer-focused company that helps clients attract, retain and nurture talent while balancing budget and productivity. We act as an extension of our client’s companies, taking the work of protecting employees off their plates. We offer ongoing support from the initial meeting through implementation.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffett, how would you describe your company, services, or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Stacy Kahan: Insurance is for people who love someone or something.
As a third-generation women-owned and operated company, 1706 Advisors has deep expertise in saving clients time and money while helping them take care of their employees. And, whether it’s a work family or your family at home, 1706 Advisors provides solutions that create peace of mind.
Our holistic approach is based on a business owner and his family: if one side fails, the other has unknown pressure. By properly planning, both sides will succeed in an unfortunate situation.
We pride ourselves on being agnostic in the industry and representing mid to large-sized companies of 25-1000 employees. Our team is always available to strategize, help a client make a good decision, or be an insightful sounding board.
And, with the succession of my two daughters, our clients will be well taken care of in the future. Our planning is not just for today but for years to come, and having our clients know and meet our team from the beginning makes an easy transition.
What advice do you wish you received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Stacy Kahan: There are two things I wish I had learned when I started working in my career almost 40 years ago.
- Take excellent notes and keep very clean files – you may need them later to either remember the path you took to get to a solution or the problems you had along the way.
- Make a decision early on your market and go for it. Please be sure to stand your ground.
I have met the most unbelievable business owners in almost 40 years of working, but many companies are under the size of employees I was interested in. I realize now that I have the capacity and, more importantly, the understanding of the more complex cases that should have been pursued. Obviously, the larger the company, the more we earn.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Stacy Kahan: We have hired a marketing and PR firm to help our brand receive recognition. We are looking at the analytics to see if the thought-leadership we are posting is well received or making changes to the topics that are not relevant in the mainstream.
This cost is important and paying attention to the analytics and the bandwidth you receive are key to spending the money well.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Stacy Kahan: The real challenge today is getting consumers to trust you. Our business demands profound discovery to get the planning right. Remember, the programs we sell are long-lasting for a family or their businesses. Getting people to sit down and divulge the information we need to do this right, is painstaking. With a warm heart and a clear voice, people do respond eventually.
Today, most people want instant gratification, and doing the work we do requires financial and emotional answers. One lucky piece is that during COVID, the carriers began allowing DocuSign for applications. This sped up the process and made it easier to get signatures from not just one but multiple signators.
And, even more exciting is that underwriting for large amounts of coverage could be issued within a few hours if you are healthy. Another hurdle is gone, waiting to have the carriers decide to insure or not insure you.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Stacy Kahan: I walk in and out of businesses every day and see what most business owners fail to do:
- Make sure their employees are happy and productive.
- Make sure you have the cash flow to continue the business operations day to day
- Make sure you have a detailed plan of your goals. How do you get these goals?
I see both successful and failed businesses in my business, and it appears one thing is true: they either have a good cash flow or a bad one. If you can not pay your bills, a different mindset of struggle occurs. It is most important always to know where you are.
Reviewing your profit and loss reporting is the key to running a business and knowing where you are financially. Taking the time to understand and make modifications is the key to catching and changing course, if necessary. a good businesswoman must evaluate and change course for the sake of the business.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Stacy Kahan: Success is a combination of life balance. It has always been that way for me. I have always wrapped my personal life around my business life, which has been successful. How do I know?
Success has many meanings, but it means a strong marriage and relationship with my friends and family. My husband and I have been married for 35 years, and my daughters are now my business partners. And the best is having my first grandchild, a boy named after my dad, that passed away a year ago—our mentor in the business and named after my grandson. Life is full circle and excellent.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Stacy Kahan for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Stacy Kahan or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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