I’ve been watching the new training bicycles cropping up all around, and I’m blown away at the simplicity and sheer obvious logic behind them. As I watch little tiny kids ride the streets and trails on these bikes, it’s gotten me thinking about the options and transitions that we’ve traditionally taken to learning to ride a bike and how ineffective it actually is.
Tricycle: Three wheels, gives a sense of stability, and no balance required. Center of gravity is high and tipping over is common. Peddling is limited and going up hill is nearly impossible and going down hill is dangerous.
The traditional insurance model of being dependent on selling carrier products is akin to the tricycle. It can be a solid, stable option as long as the conditions are right. If there are hills or obstacles, your ability to keep up and the agility to quickly make adjustments is extremely limited and quite honestly, a bit dangerous to your well-being.
Training wheels: We move to training wheels because it’s been the logical step to learning to ride a two-wheel bicycle. But the problem is, you’ve really got 4 wheels, not two. You’re not learning to balance. You’re not relying on your own ability to control the bike. You’re relying on the bike to keep you upright. Your success is dependent on those extra wheels doing their job.
The training wheel model is probably the most dangerous place to be as an agency because it gives you a false sense of achievement plus a false sense of security. You think you’re branching out to the new model and reducing your dependence on the traditional model and reliance on the carriers for your complete livelihood.
However, you’re really not working independently. You’ve got another wheel or two that’s really holding you up. You are not reliant on your own balance and success to move yourself forward. In this case, you might feel like you’re riding that really cool two-wheeler, but to everyone else, you’re actually and obviously riding a 4-wheeler.
Balance bike: Enter the balance bicycle. Two wheels; no pedals. Here the focus is on using your balance to ride the bike. It’s got a low center of gravity (compare to the position on the tricycle). You’re not dependent on anyone to push you or any other wheels to keep you upright. Movement is up to you - simply push yourself with your own two feet. If you’re feeling unstable, you just put your feet on the ground, regain balance, and keep going. With a balance bike, the only things to think about are keeping your balance and moving yourself forward. And you can go as fast as your legs will push you, you can glide with your feet off the ground, you can go over any terrain, and take it on jumps – you are limited only by your imagination and your willingness to give it a try.
You might wonder about the pedals, or lack thereof. Despite common thinking, pedals are really just a distraction from the fundamental factor of learning to ride a bike: Balance.
Pedals are a piece of cake to learn – once you’ve learned to balance. Unfortunately, tricycles and training wheels don’t help develop balance. So all this time, we’ve been focusing on the wrong thing to achieve success.
Going without the stability of additional wheels might initially seem like a scary, crazy idea. But it’s actually the safest option, and it’s the best option for teaching self-reliance and independence and seeing immediate success. (Watch a video from Strider Sports on learning to ride.)
Agencies that drop the training wheel method of mostly traditional mixed with a little new-model and, instead, go with the balance bike approach of all new-model see immediate results.
Agencies that continue with this traditional/new mix remain training-wheel dependent for extended periods of time and more often than not, never actually make the transition to the two-wheel bicycle. They never allow themselves the opportunity to develop their balance, and instead continue to work with a sense of fear and instability because they don’t have the self-belief that they can, in fact, make the transition.
And the thing is, moving to the new model really isn’t dangerous. In fact it’s more secure. Remember the center of gravity? It’s actually better on the balance bike.
Think about it this way – businesses need help running their business. They need help thinking through the innumerable issues they have to contend with as a business owner. They can’t, and shouldn’t, be an expert in everything – that’s why they hire experts.
Businesses want help.
If you make the transition away from the traditional tricycle model of just selling a product, and instead, become an agency that helps businesses run better businesses, you are not only developing your balance, but you’re lowering your center of gravity at the same time. If the carrier commission model goes away, you’re still a business that helps other businesses, and you don’t need the carriers in order to continue running your business.
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