As we find our way heading deeper into 2021, I wanted to share some highlights of our 2020 year and look forward – bigger picture – to 2021 here at Smith Brothers. As a company with a Conscious Capitalism philosophy, where we drive to optimize all stakeholders, not one at the expense of another.
The year 2020 was filled with uncertainty, both in the health pandemic and the economic fallout. As a company we fared well through it – a testament to all our people and stakeholders. Here are a few highlights.
- We went remote on March 16, 2020 and were able to keep our people safe and be responsive to our clients – and in 2020 – our clients needed us more than ever.
- We realized how important the remote work infrastructure we started over a decade ago, and enhanced each year, was so important to our survival and ability to serve all stakeholders.
- We stressed tested our company financials to what could have been an economic disaster. For some industries it was and remains extremely hard. Our financial wellbeing is strong, and we ended the year with slight growth, low debt, and healthy financials.
- We affirmed our strategy of ballast. Diverse revenue streams matter. We saw this with ourselves and our clients.
- We set up a Survive and Advance model that was internal and external. We communicated and advised our clients and helped them from PPP loan advice, new regulations, risk transfer, payments deferrals, and coverage advice.
- We started the year with a wellbeing theme of Power of the Brain intended to educate and discuss how important understanding how the mind controls our thoughts and thus behaviors or responses to triggers. In early 2020 as shelter in place happened and fear set in, we enhanced our program and offered several mental health resources and discussions, so our team members had an outlet to rely on.
- We acquired a great firm- Shank & Falvey out of the Albany area, which helped us expand our New York Region and brought a great group of people to join us.
- We invested in people and technology. We think long term, so even as we had to focus short run on survive and advance – we also stayed discipline on long-term investing for our sustainability well into the future.
We look at 2021 as a year of opportunity. We are not through the pandemic yet, and economic conditions seem fragile. For sure, we know there is more friction and uncertainty ahead. We also see opportunity. Here are some of our themes for 2021.
- Stay flexible – financially and operationally. We will all need to adjust and be great at managing change.
- Seek opportunity for new products or services, be entrepreneurial, be creative, and aim to grow – not stand still. We will invest in creating better solutions for our clients.
- Don’t overextend and do not under invest. Be smart on overhead and debt and invest wisely with calculated risk. Keep our financials healthy and strong.
- Stay in what we know – and do it better.
- Process improvements through the client lens. This helps us improve client service while scaling our operations and will be key in the near term and long term. This is hard work and we won’t stray from it.
- Acquire where we pick up great people and leadership – this really matters.
- Invest in R&D and smart tech investments that help our client experience and our operational efficiency. We are all over this.
- Focus on people and their total wellbeing. We will continue to add resources for mental health and helping people manage with the stress and anxiety that the world delivers. We want to be helpful in having our team members become better at how they respond to toxic triggers and work towards a life of fulfillment and joy.
- We will dig deeper into our cultural foundation to make sure we are inclusive and more proactive on equal opportunity for all.
- Our plan is to continue to grow and remain in the top quartile financially of our peers – allowing us to reinvest and take care of all stakeholders.
We appreciate your interest in Smith Brothers and our wellbeing.
Joe B. Smith
President & CEO