We've all fallen victim to fake or unfair reviews. Reviews can be a blessing and a curse. They're a blessing because when you do business the right way, your satisfied customers want to get the word out for you. They can be a curse because ANYONE can write a review. That includes a customer who was asking for something unreasonable you couldn't provide or your competition if they are feeling desperate.
I can recall my first NPA Expo event. A group of some of the well-known vendors were having a bite to eat and they were discussing many topics. I can recall them all sitting there and saying to myself, "There is a lot of knowledge sitting right here." This knowledge could have benefitted me during my investigation of this industry, as I made the decision to enter into it. I then thought how great it would be if we could gather as much information related to the industry and put it in one place for consumption. As I researched, I found there was no one real go-to spot for this kind of information.
For years, people have talked about waiting for the "big one" to happen. With each little tremor, they wonder if it is going to progress into a powerful 9-magnitude devastator. As the leading software in the industry, we’re just using this as an analogy, but it really is a reality when it comes to looking for point-of-sales software.
In 2016, many operators were forced into unchartered waters when a portion of the market had to search for new pawn software. Be it because of unfortunate life circumstances or business decisions of companies to take alternative directions in their business models to attempt to fast track success. Many operators did their homework and changed direction themselves by moving over to PawnMaster. There were many reasons for this besides great products and services. Stability, integrity and transparency were key elements for people making the move.
With the election not long ago, we all know that negative advertising exists. But what if it happens to you? How do you combat a competitor who is telling lies about your business?
With so many pawnbrokers making the decision to change software vendors in 2016 as a result of several unfortunate circumstances, we feel it is important to provide these types of resources. When you're entering into a SaaS agreement for the first time, you may have some questions or concerns. That's normal. According to CIO Review, "The best means of protecting yourself is to carefully read and understand the terms of the contracts with your data vendors. Often these provisions can be negotiated--for example, you can require that your data to be anonymized when it's used by the vendor."
Validation is always a good thing in business, especially for paying customers who put a trust in their vendor to ensure their business is in good hands when it comes to their technology systems. Over the years we have worked very hard to deliver consistency, stability and high performance for our customers. As we rolled out our new product IGNITE, which is the only true cloud platform on the market, we reinforced this concept by selecting Amazon Web Services as our cloud provider. During our due dilligence process, we had every top-five provider in the market seeking our business but we wanted the best and the most stable company out there. We could not have a single-point-of-failure platform, which many have unfortunately experienced… We needed multiple data center backup capabilities to ensure no down time for our customers.
2016 was a year for the ages for our industry. Wow, a lot went on that directly impacted so many brokers, however, as the industry has done for years, everyone made due and pressed forward. Data Age continues to grow and lead the way as the number one software vendor with more than 3,000 customers. Data Age also led the way in helping many brokers overcome several challenges presented to them in 2016. Changes imposed by federal and local agencies, which placed the broker in some uncharted waters. Data Age, in early January delivered the California Department of Justice package to keep customers in California compliant, in concert with text message notifications. These builds immediately quelled the concerns of the California brokers and in the process drove a lot of new business to PawnMaster. The product and the support in tandem made these brokers feel at ease and allowed them to focus on the basics of their business again. The Military Lending Act was another new regulation so many people were and are still concerned about. PawnMaster swiftly addressed this need in their software and again helped alleviate concerns relating to this Act.
Before coming to Data Age I had the pleasure of going to several Disney seminars. When I came to Data Age and found out my first NPA Expo would have Disney doing the educational seminar I flipped out and was elated. I did not know our industry too well at the time but knew the Disney seminar would help each and every broker who attended. Over the years I have spoken with many of you and we all seem to agree this seminar was the bomb. I reflect back on this event because I just did a Disney cruise with my family. For those who know me I do actually take time off here and there… But not a lot. My time aboard the Disney Magic cruise ship along, with a day on their private island just reinforced to me their approach to business is world-class and we should all take as much away from their approach as we can and apply it to what we do every day. Before I proceed let me drop a for fact nuggets on you regarding this company.
While professors can teach you a lot of relevant information for running your business, there are some things you just have to learn on the job. Personally I experienced the same thing coming out of school and then opening up my first business. My school knowledge was useful but I was not prepared to address the challenges and situations that arise every day in business, which are not taught in school. One of the areas impacted by experience is the ability to know how to manage. The management team here at Data as well as many of our customers have to apply the on-the- job experience they have gained every day in our management approaches.