Jonathan Wingard State Farm
330 E. Martintwon Rd, North Augusta, SC 29841
Opened business in 2018
State Farm Insurance Agency in North Augusta, SC
What inspired you to start your own business?
Being a State Farm agent has always been my plan and my career path has led me to this amazing opportunity in my hometown of North Augusta, SC. There is nothing better than being your own boss - you put in the work and you reap the rewards. Rewards come in many ways. What’s better than being able to work with your community, provide for my family, employ a great team, and watch them succeed? In my career I have worked hard for other companies/employers; now it is my turn to do this for myself and my family.
What inspires your work and what sets you apart from everyone else?
Meeting with my customers, new and existing, is my favorite part of my job and is what sets us apart from other local insurance companies/agents. It is my responsibility to dedicate my time to meet with all my customers on a regular basis, as their needs are constantly changing.
What is your background and how did you develop the skills to start your business?
As a graduate of USC-Aiken with a degree in Finance, I started my career in the insurance field in 2004 with Colonial Life Insurance. During that time, my eyes were really opened as to the significant impact insurance can play on families’ lives. Building the relationships with customers and gaining their trust to protect their families showed me that the insurance industry was where I wanted to be; however, your first “job” is not always your last. After leaving Colonial, I then spent 8 years working for local banks in SC and NC, where I gained invaluable experience in working with and managing teams. My time in both the insurance and banking industries has given me the tools needed to own and operate my own State Farm insurance agency!
What has been your biggest success to date?
To date, my biggest success came in 2020. As an office, we are in the top 3% of issued life insurance policies of all State Farm agents in the country. Our focus as an office is to understand how we need to protect our customers in all aspects of life - not just with life insurance, but also home, auto and health.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I think every business owner would agree that the top challenge is hiring, training, and retaining employees that make a great team. I have been very fortunate with my team; constant commination has made each of us grow together and stay motivated, along with providing accountability. This business is about meeting our customers’ needs, constantly evolving and learning as a team and meeting our goals. Remembering that I am not in a sprint helps keep me grounded as well.
Which small businesses are you inspired by?
Don Robinson, owner of Don Robinson State Farm gave me an opportunity to work and grow through his agency. I worked as a team member for two plus year prior to opening my own agency. With his direction and guidance, I was able to understand the business model and learn to grow as an individual and as a team member. Another State Farm agent that has inspired me is Joan Kight-Piercy. Joan was my fourth-grade teacher and I also kept in touch with her during my professional career. As I explained to her many years ago, she continued to help and guide me in the right direction towards State Farm.
There are many small businesses that inspire me and the last one I want to mention is Queensborough National Bank & Trust. I have worked for and banked with local banks before, and what led me to QNBT specifically is the customer service that I have received. Having someone you can count on when it really matters is the way I operate my business, and that is the level of service I receive from QNBT!
If you could go back to the beginning knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
The only thing I would change would be returning to the insurance industry sooner and opening an agency earlier than I did.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start their own business?
As a business owner, there are a few key things to remember. You will always be your best employee. Now is the time to work harder than ever; your business will be what you make it. Treat your employees the way you would want to be treated as an employee. Find trusted advisors that can help you with your business, such as bankers and CPAs, and develop ongoing relationships with those individuals. Enjoy the grind, the rollercoaster ride and have fun while doing it!
Jonathan Wingard - State Farm agent