Thought Leadership

BroadStreet Partner Smith Brothers Featured at the Yale School of Management: Business Succession

Our partner in Connecticut, Smith Brothers, was recently featured as the subject of a case study at the Yale School of Management.

Joe Smith, CEO of Smith Brothers in Glastonbury, Connecticut has built a reputation as a forward-thinking entrepreneur, and Yale University approached him to provide his perspective on strategies for business succession and M&A.

The case tells the story of Smith Brothers prior to partnering with BroadStreet. They were (and continue to be) a growing, profitable, Top-100 Agency, actively making tuck-in acquisitions in the Northeast.

Joe Smith speaking in front of a podium at Yale University

The case narrative builds up to a strategic decision for Smith Brothers: How would the management team handle succession in the context of the rapid consolidation underway in the insurance brokerage industry? The leaders at Smith Brothers were considering their options:

  • Stay the course, remain independent, grow organically and acquire opportunistically…but defer action on ownership succession;
  • Sell all or part of the business, create liquidity and accelerate growth…but risk cultural and operational disruption with a new partner;
  • Arrange for internal ownership and maintain Smith Brothers’ unique culture…but limit investment in growth initiatives.

We know that the case study has a happy ending. Since partnering with BroadStreet in 2014, Joe Smith and his team at Smith Brothers have continued to prosper: they’ve made multiple tuck-in acquisitions, grown organically, added new owners and continue to consistently deliver on their “Be Sure” promise to their colleagues and clients.

Smith Brothers was considering three mutually exclusive options. What they found with BroadStreet, is that agency owners don’t give up culture in exchange for partnership; it doesn’t have to be “either / or”.

Our co-ownership approach succeeds in delivering the best attributes of each option and eliminates the negative consequences for agency owners facing the same alternatives that Smith Brothers considered: our partners maintain the advantages of staying the course, accelerating growth with a partner and perpetuating ownership internally.

It’s a big promise, but one that we’ve made, and kept for each of our 22 Core partners.

We’ve been helping agency owners navigate succession and growth for over 15 years. I encourage you to contact me to begin a conversation about becoming a BroadStreet partner.

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