15 Year Anniversary

Founded in 2009, we look back on what it takes to be more than a flash in the pan

20% of new businesses fail within the first two years. 45% of new business startups don’t survive the fifth year. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more. We ask Rob Hoobroeckx, founder and CEO what his secret sauce is.

“A lot of founders talk about having an idea, with an unshakable feeling it’s a profitable niche and then dive right in with their new enterprise. While this enthusiasm might sustain you through the lean first years, finding a deep enough pool of paying customers is usually the make or break. The beauty of the Inspired Solutions model was combining my passion for doing field engineering with an already addressable market to dip into. The only thing I did was forecast the market for ‘on demand’ risk engineers would grow over time, allowing teams at larger insurers to better manage their workflow with freelance specialists. I developed my franchise in this area long before contracting platforms like FIVRR came along.

While I was quite happy doing this on my own for a while, the confluence of a number of market forces meant requests for inspection capacity swelled. I noticed that a lot of engineers were leaving or retiring and insurers where losing experienced hands faster than they could replace them. I found I could entice those entrepreneurial, retired or semi-retired engineers back to do risk engineering work on their own terms. The insurers got their specialists on demand, and the engineers continued to do the work they loved. Everyone was happy. This was long before Covid-19 made working flexible and I could only see the talent pool getting deeper over time. We were tapping the risk engineer demographic tailwind, so to speak.

The second helpful factor was the changes in the commercial insurance market. Underwriting profits in CI had been scarce for some time, and underwriters wanted more risk differentiation. This supported our revenue till the market ‘came to it’s senses’ and the cycle hardened. By that time the franchise was established, but our secret sauce while riding the upswing is never treating risk engineering as a commodity. This is where some of the bigger competitors are losing their edge. All our assignments are individual business decisions that require a balance of the right skills, people and service to the client. 

So, what has put me in the 25% of business survivors after 15 years? Having great clients, focus on the needs of the teams we work with, dependability and a quality product. If you have these things, then everything else should work itself out!