Tesla goes 0-60 in what? Fast enough to beat a Gulfstream down a runway? Xfinity lets you download a movie how fast? “Stupid fast” if I remember right. “I feel the need for speed” was a favorite line that came from a “Top Gun” in training. Fast chips. Fast food. Why is speed so revered?
Laying with my granddaughter reciting what I could remember from Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare”. Nearing the end, I paraphrased the final lesson with something like “fast isn’t always the best” just as she was falling asleep, or so I thought. Tallulah calmly and slowly opened her eyes, looked at me and said with the sweetest voice, “grandpa, it’s slow and steady gets the job done”, and fell to sleep with a slight smile and peaceful face.
An incredibly personal memory that came to me in the middle of the night, this fable can remind us to be patient, continue on our path, and move through our challenges.
While 2020 was a hard year for many with seemingly insurmountable barriers, we were reminded that “slow and steady gets it done”. Our team here at Ensure Protect did not experience the growth we expected, but we stayed at it and have laid a foundation for a strong 2021 and beyond. I feel lucky to have the group I get to work with every day and the clients and partners that are engaged with us, not because we are the “fastest” but because they trust our experience, sagacity and commitment to their success.
To that end, I want to share some incredibly positive updates about Ensure Protect. We are one of the many businesses that ran into the Covid Crush of 2020, but thankfully have come through stronger and are in a wonderful growth stage.
Like most, 2020 started out with momentum, ready to rock and roll, and then—–pause—–.
Having launched R.I.D.E.S, (Ride It Daily Extended Service) at the end of 2019, we were poised to ride this incredibly comprehensive program for the bicycle industry at an adoption rate faster than Lance Armstrong. With the endorsement of the NBDA, (National Bike Industry Association), and created specifically for Independent Bike Dealers, (IBD’s), R.I.D.E.S covers their customers for annual maintenance and even failures that occur from accidents while they are riding. We were prepped to on-board them at a blinding pace. You might say we were ready to roll. Like most others, the IBD’s were dealt challenges they never could have imagined. Yes, they sold every bike they could buy and build, but they also had to learn how to navigate managing a safe work environment, operate within their local jurisdictions’ health department guidelines, and how to handle an inundation of service opportunities that often outstripped their labor capacity and parts supply. Suffice it to say, the priority of considering and onboarding a new service program fell down a few notches, as did our rate of growth.
Another challenge we met and worked through was the launch of Rural King, Rural King – America’s Farm and Home Store, a fantastic 13 state retailer that truly serves the farming communities with magnificent stores and a remarkable mix or products. After spending months helping them form a captive it was go time, the seeds had been planted. With our team of 5 trainers, we embarked on March 1st to kick them off…. Pictured here on are Kathleen, Germaine, yours truly, Cris and Dennis.
Our kick-off began in Plano, Illinois before the team dispersed to visit RK’s 120 plus locations in order to “set” the stores with brochures and hang-tags, while training their management and associates. We made it through 55 stores before we were asked to pause on March 13th. Covid-19 was making its move and “better safe than sorry” pragmatism took root. We needed to rethink and execute a new rollout strategy and how we would help Rural King achieve the success we knew they could.
The third challenge: In early 2020 we paddled into the waters of Surfcare, Surfboard Protection Plans (surfcare.co) whereby surfers can cover themselves against dings, dents and breaks. This new program is the brainchild of Nick Stolz with his partner Rhett McNulty, and it took years to get fully baked and moving. It launched on on-line and similar to the bike program, opening up dealers became a challenge. Surfboard sales were skyrocketing, but so were the demands that came with running those businesses.
Even after all of that, we adapted and have hit 2021 with a full head of steam!
R.I.D.E.S, (Ride it Daily Extended Service) continues to grow in numbers, both dealers and sales. This program is being talked about and we are fielding interest from dealers daily. We are proud to be associated with top IBD’s in the country like Wheel and Sprocket who launched on 1-1-21. Wheel & Sprocket Home (wheelandsprocket.com)
Surfcare is growing as they are focused on riding the power of the wave that is just beginning to form.
Rural King ended up 2020 with a massive increase over their previous year and are setting the pace to do that again in 2021. Not only that, they have launched on-line offers of RKPPP in February, and shot out the new RKFPP, (Firearms Protection Plan) in stores which they also launched on-line today. We are poised to start a missed point of sale effort for them using both email and SMS.
Speaking of Firearms, according to Fish and Game, since 1999, the number of concealed handgun permit holders has grown by at least seven-fold. The trend is continuing. That follows news that background checks for firearm sales topped 15.4 million by November 2020, surpassing 2019’s totals and poised to eclipse the 2016 record of 15.7 million background checks in a single year. Forty percent of those buyers, almost 6.2 million, are first time buyers.
In keeping with our love of creating and administrating programs for products used outdoors, Ensure Protect is taking clear aim at the Firearms industry. How many of the first time buyers will need a gunsmith to perform annual maintenance for them? Our guess is the majority.
Our Firearms Protection Plan, like our R.I.D.E.S program, offers customers annual maintenance on top of the typical extended service. Any customer that buys an FPP through an Ensure Protect affiliate will not pay for shipping, maintenance, or the parts and labor necessary to keep that gun in tip top shape. We are proud to have launched this with Rural King, one of the top gun dealers in the country, and look forward to targeting the other ‘best in class” retailers, OEM’s, and Gunsmiths alike.
Two other launches we are embarking on in Q-2 2021 are centered more in the electronics world I grew up in:
IOT. We are test-launching on 4-15-21. Consumers can cover up to any 5, 10 or 20 devices hooked to the Internet for one price. They choose monthly or annual. The coverage includes unlimited technical assistance and if the product needs repair or replacement, we have them handled. We are set to roll and as we move forward. We’ll release more details in the next post.
EDU. After years of massaging and SWOTing around this idea, we are ready to launch Digital Device protection for education on 5-15-21. This will be available for individuals or groups. K-12 or post high school 61MM devices in K-12 and over 70MM in post. This is a nice sized market that we will offer EP solutions through an MGA partner directly to and through schools, districts, and other channels. We are set to move forward and are excited to finally launch this business and be part of the solution for this challenged group of students, teachers and administrations alike. Having a son that teaches, and one of my best friends that is a superintendent, education relies on digital access more than ever. Ensure Protect is here to help them meet the moment.
Thanks for reading. May 2021 be an incredible success for you and yours. Just remember, sometimes we run into a few hurdles that stimy our speed along the journey. Keep at it or as Aesop reminds us, “Slow and steady gets the job done”.
If you want to learn more about our programs, our team, and/or want us to help you customize a program for your company and your customers, reach us at:
844 WARRNTY or 844 927-7689