Today, Gerald Shtull & Associates is the largest brokerage firm in Canada specialized in credit insurance, offering companies cash flow protection, asset security, and risk management – but like most Canadian businesses, Gerald Shtull & Associates has humble beginnings.
In 1994, after 20 years in the finance industry – including 5 years serving as the Financial Officer for the Montreal Alouettes – Gerald Shtull decided to take his expertise and experience and open his credit insurance brokerage.
At the time, he had been newly introduced to the credit industry in Europe, where the style of receiving payables was more flexible than factoring, which was still being used in North America.
Gerald saw a gap in the system and decided to fill it.
At first, that meant working 6.5 days a week. He spent his evenings and weekends preparing his prospecting lists, and did the actual prospecting work during business hours.
“I had no idea what a good baseline was; what was expected,” Gerald said. “So I just worked hard. I was sending in so many applications they asked me to slow down!”
Not surprisingly, he broke many sales records in the process.
Business tools have advanced drastically over the last 20 years – but in the early days, Gerald’s most interesting device was his cell phone. It gave him the freedom to travel with his “office” – a banker’s box he kept in the trunk of his car.
“In those days, you could talk and drive,” he said, so a lot of calls were made on the road between those prospecting calls.
Eventually, though, the need to make photocopies of documents required him to rent a small office.
For the first 10 years, it was just Gerald running the company. However, he realized he was spending a large percentage of his time on administrative work, and made the decision to hire someone to help.
One of Gerald’s secrets to successfully growing a company is to always hire experienced team members. Before his sons joined the business, they too had to learn the industry ropes first.
Instead of spending his days on the road, Gerald now returns to Europe to meet with financial executives every few years to develop connections. To date, his company has paid out tens of millions of dollars in bad debt.
Not surprisingly, Gerald and his team no longer have to spend their days prospecting, as calls began coming in to them first.
However, it’s not all about revenue and business growth; charity is important to Gerald as well.
“What you give, you’ll get back ten-fold.”
Some other secrets to success Gerald shared include:
- Ensure integrity, honesty, disclosure, and respect from every team member to maintain the company reputation
- Don’t chase sales – only recommend policy changes if they are needed; never make sales for the sake of sales
- Maintain a low overhead
- Always have reserves available
Today, the company is dedicated to providing expert service with unwavering professional care; prioritizing the protection of our clients’ accounts receivables and the future growth and prosperity of their business. They specialize in finding the right coverage their clients need when traditional insurance companies don’t have any options
Gerald Shtull & Associates has a large portfolio of clients made up of companies from industries of all sizes. Whether you are a manufacturer or wholesaler, generating revenues of less than one million or more than one billion, your company will receive a personalized policy offering you the most overall value.
If you have questions about credit insurance or want to make sure you are adequately protected, contact GSA today.