Located in Little Falls, MN, I started Allison White Insurance on my own in 2018. There was a need for an independent health insurance broker in the area at that time. It really was an untapped market. We cater to individuals who are 65 years and older who are eligible for Medicare, as well as families who don't have employer-sponsored healthcare. We are really focused on providing personalized sit-down meetings with our clients in order to get to know them and what their health insurance needs are. We walk them through all the options and help them understand the nuances of each. The clients don't pay us anything as we get compensated through the chosen plan's insurance company.
I have always known that being an entrepreneur was in my blood. From being voted most likely to succeed in high school to being a soldier in the Iraq War, I have continually been drawn to leadership roles. I had the right disposition and knowledge, but I needed some guidance on where to start. That is when Darold and SCORE came along.
We provide human interaction and build long-term relationships with our clients. We don't just help them the first year, but every year when it is time to renew. We walk them through the changes and what they need to do as next steps. It's nice for them to have a person locally who can help them, as understanding health insurance and the different options can be a real challenge.
One of the high points was when the need for the business and services were so great that I couldn’t do it by myself anymore. I brought my husband in initially, and eventually five others and built a strong cohesive team. I really enjoy collaborating as a team, as well as being able to provide work in the community. Another high point was being recognized with the "Blue Partner" award for sales growth and retention by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
I tend to view low points as challenges, and challenges as growth opportunities. There are countless opportunities to grow when you run a business.
My county veterans service officer introduced me to a series of business success seminars that were being sponsored through SCORE and DEED. I drove to Minneapolis every week, where I met Bill Lyon with SCORE. Bill and I started talking and really built up a good rapport in the 6 weeks that I was attending the seminars. Bill introduced me to Darold, who was a SCORE mentor local to the Little Falls area.
I relied on Darold's guidance for 50-75% of the decisions that I had to make. Some things I knew, but I consulted with him on everything to include logo design, working through a non-compete, down to inception. Darold helped me think of things that I never would have considered. He also helped me keep to the timelines we discussed and held me accountable to get things done. In addition to Darold, I met with Ralph Carpenter, another SCORE volunteer. The three of us met on a regular basis. They referred me to many classes, and made referrals to networking contacts and lenders.
Even after my business started and was up and running, Darold continued to check in on me. I can’t imagine going through the process of starting a business without SCORE, and I can never repay Darold for the support he gave to me—in the amount of encouragement and in the belief that I could do it.
Pictured below: Employees volunteering at various community events.