Guerrilla Warfare is commonly defined as ”a wartime strategy involving a small attacking, mobile force, typically deployed against a larger orthodox military force with less mobility.”
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.
As business owners and executives tasked to grow a business, we should all strive for ubiquity in our business. When your clients need something they should automatically point right at your business as the go to place for them to address their needs. Over the years we have all used phrases like "Xerox this document", "I need a Kleenex", "I need to Google this", and "I am looking to purchase a Polo shirt". These words are blanket terms in the way they are used but the truth of the matter is they are all brands. World class brands for that matter. These companies become synonymous in their core domains and do things so well they create ubiquity in the market place. Customers may not buy a Polo brand shirt but they say they need a "polo" shirt, which is a sleeved and collared shirt.
Let’s face it, I have said it once and I will say it again. We are in the people business. We talk a lot about our customers. We speak to understanding their needs, what motivates them and how we can best help them. The other side of the coin sees us all operating businesses and having to hire people to help the plan in place succeed. Over the years, I have known many entrepreneurs, VP of Human Resources and countless corporate hiring managers investing thousands of dollars into tools to help make this process more efficient and successful. These tools, in the own way, are effective but I will never discount instinct as a very powerful tool in this process.
Many of us take the entrepreneurial route for a host of different reasons as we try to carve out our path in life. Some are born into it, some want control over their livelihoods, others want to see their ideas and hard work flourish. As for me... Prior to jumping into the corporate world, I went into business because I was somewhat lost after college and jumped on the first opportunity that came to me. This opportunity began as a conversation I had in a gym and materialized into a door buzzer ringing in my apartment, which I almost did not answer because I was not sure I wanted to go in the direction of opening a business. I answered the door. Next thing I know I was headed to city hall with my new partner to get a business license. I borrowed some money from my parents while my partner sold his car. We opened up our first retail operation in a flea market. Needless to say this was a tough road but we knew there would be an interest if we did business the right way; with a store front operation.
Jim Collins' book Good to Great has been well read and well sighted for many years. The insight this book has brought to the business world has been well documented however, many companies don’t embrace some of the concepts this book has brought to light by countless years of studying "great" or highly successful companies.