"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.
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.
As we continue to examine the power of the customer in a one-click market and how social media impacts business, the need to have the market validate the value you state you deliver, has become more important than ever before. Social proofing is no longer a phenomena it is a legitimate methodology and one any great company needs to embrace and master. What we now call social proofing, used to be mainly driven by endorsements. The big name athlete getting paid to talk about a product. As we all know the concept does drive people to the product but once the product was consumed no one really had the chance to hear about the end results.
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.