Roy Binger is founder of Binger Financial Services, a St. Petersburg-based insurance brokerage that serves both businesses and individuals. He started the company in 2015, after serving 25 years in the financial services industry, including as city president for St. Petersburg for SunTrust Bank.
Binger Financial is certified under the DBE [Disadvantage Business Enterprise} program with the Florida Department of Transportation as well as holds MBE [Minority Business Enterprise] status with the state’s Office of Supplier Diversity and is certified as an SBE [Small Business Enterprise] with the cities of St. Petersburg and Orlando.
St. Pete Catalyst: What were your company’s biggest accomplishments in 2018?
Binger: Getting back on track with our DBE certification, which is designed to level the playing field between small and minority owned businesses, when dealing with Main Street businesses.
The Florida DOT certified us, so that I can do an insurance bid with the airport, for example. We’ve been a DBE firm for a couple of years and we’re working with some of the contractors to use our services so they can get better qualifications.
St. Pete Catalyst: What was a challenge the company faced in 2018 and what did you learn from it?
Binger: The difference between a client knowing you and actually closing the business. Getting them to sign on the bottom line can challenging.
I learned that there’s a process. You have to have patience to just keep trying and not take it personally.
St. Pete Catalyst: What are your goals for your company in 2019?
Binger: My primary goal is to execute on the business model. A lot of times goals are numbers driven but I’ve learned over the years that executing on the model is important.
St. Pete Catalyst: What do you see for your business sector or industry in 2019?
Binger: I see there is nervousness out there because there are indicators that tell us by the end of the fourth quarter we will be in a recession, or the beginning of one. It tends to make people indecisive and it becomes a hard market. A lot of companies have debt, because it’s been cheap. I’ve been through four or five recessions and I know what banks will do in a recession, so I see companies coming to us for a loan or an insurance policy to protect their business.
St. Pete Catalyst: What business insight (advice or a tip) can you share with readers?
Binger: Whatever industry you are in, become a student of that industry, understand your industry and understand your product. When you become a subject matter expert on your industry, then the products you select for your clients make sense.
St. Pete Catalyst: What’s your morning ritual/How do you organize your day?
Binger: I reverse engineer it. A morning ritual is too late. In my evening ritual, I reflect on the day, review internal notes, and take care of the things other people do when they wake up, like check the calendar
St. Pete Catalyst: What are you listening to?
Binger: There are always audio books in my car. The last one was “The Fallen Angel,” by Daniel Silva. I’ve recently listened to “Unshakeable” by Tony Robbins, “Origin” by Dan Brown, and “The Circle” by Dave Eggers.
I also listen to podcasts by industry subject matter experts.
St. Pete Catalyst: What are you watching?
Binger: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
St. Pete Catalyst: What’s a must-read or must-listen for our readers?
Binger: A book that former Florida CFO Jeff Atwater gave me when I was at Barnett Bank and just got my first executive job. It’s “Leading with Soul,” by Lee Bolman. It really enables you to understand leadership and that when you make decisions, you have to have a set of core values. It helped me and could help others see through a different lens.