Management Tips, Remote Work, Professional Growth, EOS®, B.O.S., Case studies | June 14, 2024

SMB Case Study: Executing a successful merger with Heritage Advises

image representing SMB Case Study: Executing a successful merger with Heritage Advises

Heritage Advises is an independent insurance agency based in Washington, Arizona, and Missouri. It came together in 2022, when industry veterans Jeromy Huerta, Michael Overstreet, and Caleb Walker merged each of their agencies to become an insurance dream team, serving people across three states.  

SMB Case Study: Executing a successful merger with Heritage Advises

When Jeromy, Michael, and Caleb made the decision to merge, they decided to be intentional about creating a singular company vision. They wanted their teams to work together and uplift each other, and not operate in silos. It was a tall order, but through their dedication to creating and upholding a company vision and operating system, they have succeeded.

We spoke with the guys to find out the most important key to their successful merger and how Strety became a part of their continual striving to do better for their clients.

How did your EOS® journey begin?

The three of us (Jeromy, Caleb, and Michael) merged our agencies together two years ago. We’d all owned and operated our individual agencies for some time, so when we came together, it was really important to ensure we were on the same page as far as our company vision went. 

We had all individually read Traction at some point, and thought that running EOS® would be the perfect way to give ourselves a common language and way to move forward with the business. That being said, implementation was new for all of us, so we learned a lot while we self-implemented.

The really important thing for us was getting our vision and long-term strategic plan organized, as well as our core values. They built the foundation for how we operated after the merger.

What were you using to track your EOS® implementation when you first got started?

We had Excel spreadsheets, and we housed those spreadsheets in Microsoft Teams under each channel. So for instance, we had a spreadsheet for sales, we had a spreadsheet for service, we had one for owners, and for management. We used the spreadsheet method for about a year and a half.

What were the issues you saw in using spreadsheets to run your EOS® implementation?

The biggest pain point by far was adoption. We had the spreadsheets ready to go in each channel, but between meetings, no one was looking at them. So we would have a meeting, list the to dos, the rocks and things like that, document it the way we were supposed to. But then we won't look at it again until the following week when we had the next meeting. It just wasn't front of mind because it wasn't there in front of everybody. 

Why did you decide to move off of the spreadsheets and onto a SaaS tool for EOS®?

Over time, we felt a decline in the usage, or implementation of EOS®. We weren't using the spreadsheets as much for meetings, issues weren't getting put in. Essentially, we weren't even doing rocks. There was getting to be less structure and accountability for our team. 

We knew how crucial EOS® was to solidifying ourselves as a company and we didn’t want to let it fall to the wayside. We were like, “We have got to get back to this.” So finding a platform to make our EOS® implementation easier was a recommitment to the process.

Did you investigate any other EOS®-compatible platforms?

We searched around online and from our initial investigation, it came down to Strety versus We did have a free trial with, but we didn't do much with it at all. We played around with it a little bit, but it was kind of confusing. It wasn't simple and straightforward. Versus when we used Strety, it was like, “Oh, this is easy. This is straightforward.”

What were the biggest factors in choosing Strety versus

Strety seemed easier to use, first of all. And then the big thing was the Microsoft Teams integration. It's really nice to have it living in Teams. We’re huge adopters of Teams. Being a virtual team with people all over, it’s basically our main hub, where all of our people find connection to each other. So it's nice that Strety was also connected within that. 

In addition to that, in the insurance space, there's so many different software pieces we can use. Our team can get overwhelmed, because there's so many applications. It's like “Jump from here, and then jump over here and jump over there.” So we didn't want one more thing that they had to log into and pull up on their computer. It made it nice that it was all in one. 

What do you see as the biggest differences now that you're using Strety versus using the spreadsheets?

Before, we all had different ways of tracking projects, like a notepad on a computer. And it wasn't the best way to keep track. We might come in each day and almost not know exactly what we need to do. But now we have rocks and To Dos that are easily tracked. Every day it’s easy to see what we need to do and just start busting out to dos.

The second thing overall is organization with the scorecards and KPI tracking. Now we can hold all of our team accountable, including ourselves, and it doesn't get lost in translation. Before, we would say, “Okay, we're going to do this.” And we would implement it but then a month from then no one would be doing it because we had no way to continuously follow up on it and track it accurately. But now we track with the scorecards, that's been a huge game changer. 

I love how easy our meetings have become with Strety. It's boom, boom, we're out. 


Our meetings are so much more efficient now. We know exactly what we're going to talk about and we just follow the order and knock them out. Being virtual it's just inevitable that we have to have more meetings, right? Because there's no impromptu talking to Bob at the watercooler to figure something out. So we have a lot of meetings during the week. And Strety allows us to just get in and get out and take away what we need to accomplish. Our leadership meetings are now 45 minutes. So that's a huge improvement.

Overall, with Strety, it’s easier to be hyper-focused. Organizing ourselves, having meetings where we know exactly what needs to get done, and nothing falls through the cracks. We talk about it, document it, and we know what we need to do. 


How did you roll out using Strety to your team? 

We ran our leadership team meetings first, then started using the agendas with the rest of the teams. We use different tools for different teams. The leadership team really benefits from the project management component. Our people on the front lines, like account managers, don’t have as many big projects, but their scorecards are super important. Using the meeting agendas with everyone has been super helpful too. 

It was simple to get everyone on board, too. We got everyone logged in and got them to add it in Teams on the little sidebar, from there it was pretty easy to get people in and using the tool.

What impacts do you see in the future of your EOS® implementation after using Strety?

We’re delighted with the results of using Strety so far, and we’re excited to see how it’s enabling us to have a better implementation. From here, we hope to continually dig deeper and have a more thorough and compliant EOS® implementation. 

While EOS® seems simple, the truth is, especially when you self-implement, it really takes time and dedication to continually add new things from the framework, and have them be successfully integrated into your processes. What's most important for us are the pillars that we've really focused on, but there's other things that we don't do as well. With Strety, we definitely envision ourselves using more and more of the system.

Do you have any advice for other SMBs who are interested in implementing EOS® in their business?

Don't rush through anything. At the moment, it feels like you have 10,000 other things to work on, which we always do as small business owners. But it's going to set you up for success in the long term. Get it right the first time and then you're not still worrying about it two years from now.

Make your vision and traction organizer a living part of who you are as a company. Because again, even though we haven't been perfect on everything, the vision really helped us define who we were going to be.

We reference our entire existence basically back to what we created that first time, sitting down and creating that V/TO™. We fire and hire today based on what we did two years ago, based on our core values. That one exercise of really focusing on the vision is still very much with us today. So don't breeze through anything, and take it all seriously. 

Thanks, guys! Learn more about the dream team at Heritage Advises and their personalized services on their website. If you want to start organizing your EOS® implementation, download a free spreadsheet to get your company organized!


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