In my previous life as a small business owner, this was always the time of year when I was heads down looking to crank out sales. Having a multiple store chain and selling straight retail, the holidays was where I made my mark. At the time, I didn't realize that the entire year leading up to the holiday season we were unconsciously making sure that we went the extra yard for our customers. This is always the correct approach when supplying and supporting a large customer base.
Time is short and every day matters. Each day is 24 hours that cannot be reclaimed. I believe it is important to take the time to invest in yourself and know where you want to go. Below are a few things I do consistently for my own growth, and believe these are helpful for anyone.
No product or service – or end user – is perfect. This is especially true when it comes to hardware and software. Most entrepreneurial-dominated industries are successful because the people who make up the industry focus on what they do best. In the collateral lending industry, PawnMaster users are heads down with their customers, loaning, buying, and selling. They don’t have the time to focus or be concerned if an issue arises around the technology they depend on to help operate their business. Should they have an issue, they know that they can make a call and get an answer, and never have to worry about getting their vendor on the line to help them.
There are several schools of thought when going to market with software and technology. Many companies pick the market they want to go after. The “upstream” market consists of the larger enterprises and public space. This market, albeit very lucrative, places great strain and demand on a technology company in a host of ways. Specifically, round the clock support, custom development, hyper-specific service level agreements, and of course, special reduced rates. If a technology firm is primarily seeking this kind of business and does not want to scale, the model works-but it is very tedious to sustain. This model can’t sustain the smaller downstream clients because of the lack of resources to succeed at both. Companies who are constantly shifting their focus and toggling from one client model to another are doomed to implode, and the client base on both ends suffer. Not as damaging for the larger customers who may have the resources to go out and build custom software for themselves, but for smaller customers these events can be catastrophic.
"My name is Vernon Stading and I am the owner and founder of Devoted Business Development and we help pawn shops and jewelry stores make more money and be more profitable. I got into this business really kind of by accident, one of the fun stories I like to tell is that my background is actually in franchising.
- Maintain Relationships
Establishing relationships is one thing, but maintaining them is a business art form all its own. According to a study, repeat customers spend nearly 70% more on average than new clients. This is especially true in the hospitality and retail industries. Thus, it pays to continue strengthening these existing relationships, remembering to engage with your customers on a regular basis. Feel free to set up reminders in tune with a schedule that works for you, but quarterly check-ins are a solid rule of thumb for starters. What have you done to stay in contact with your customers?
PawnMaster can act as a database for you. You can easily reach your customers regularly through their text messaging platform.
From the moment you start the pre-hiring process until the exit interview, you are vulnerable to an employment-related lawsuit. As a result, your business should take a hard look at whether it can afford to defend itself against alleged wrongful employment practices accusations. If not, there is an insurance solution called employment practices liability that protects against wrongful termination, discrimination or sexual harassment suits from your current, prospective or former employees. This coverage applies to Directors, Officers and employees, and can sometimes extend to third party liabilities.
According to a recent study, more than half of all claims filed for employment-related liabilities are against employers with fewer than 50 employees. Alarmingly, the study also reveals that not even 2% of small businesses have employment practices liability (EPL) coverage.
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.