(Topic ID: 221673)

Left career to learn family business and one day take it over, tips?


By Grinder901

9 months ago



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    #1 9 months ago

    Ok so I’ve been with my wife for fourteen years now in total counting dating and marriage. Her father has owned a successful pawn business for the past 25 or so years.

    It’s always been talked about that I would/could possibly one day learn the business and take over the store. Well, I’ve left my job with the Sheriff’s Office and now I’m working at the store. I’ve been there three weeks now. I’ve worked there before very part time many years ago but now I’m there every day.

    He has a website: www.advantagepawntn.com

    So he has some online presence but not much else. I was surprised that no one working for him or he himself had done more in the social media areas like Facebook, eBay, or Instagram. So the second day there, I created a Facebook business page for the store: @advantagepawntn (please go on there and take a look at my posts and hell give it a like and some feedback for me)

    I created an Instagram account though I’m not that familiar with IG. I created an eBay store to try and sell items there that aren’t moving in the store. I’ve designed, ordered and we’ve received a few days ago business cards for all the employees. It had been years since they last did cards. I and the vista print employee designed fridge magnets for customers and the first 50 were gone in two days so I’ve ordered 250 more.
    I’ve had new mousepads for the employee’s computers made plus car magnets for my vehicle to help with marketing while I drive around town. I’m also making pens for the business that we can use and customers can also take home with them.

    I have a lot to learn but I’m a fast learner. I was wondering if business owners or any one else really has found or seen cool marketing ideas that have worked. Any tips on running a small business as this place will be mine to run in the coming years. I’d love any thoughts or tips.

    Thanks guys.

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    #2 9 months ago

    No tips.

    Best wishes and every success for you !

    LTG : )
    Disclaimer : Do a TV show set in a major gambling city, have a cranky old guy there who eventually dies. Have a brother working there arrested for drug abuse.

    #3 9 months ago

    But what about my get out of jail free card????

    11
    #4 9 months ago

    No credit.

    Don’t do business with friends.

    #5 9 months ago
    Quoted from extraballingtmc:

    No credit.
    Don’t do business with friends.

    Great advice! I’ll def give deals and take care of people, friend or stranger but def no credit. Thank you

    #6 9 months ago

    Best advice I have is to (if you don't already have one) get a four year degree in business in case the shop has to close say, due to a change in regulations so you have something to fall back on.
    You may not be able to get your prior job back due to internal changes or your age.

    #7 9 months ago

    Schedule regular time off, remember that you’re doing this for your family. Don’t be a Slave to it, but if you have to be for a season; do it to train employees that you can trust so you can be away, or spend time promoting the business. Grow in a way so you can manage from afar, or only have to go to the office a few days a week.

    Of course all this if these are your goals.

    Sometimes, these things take a long time to attain

    Read books that pertain to your goals

    #8 9 months ago
    Quoted from MrBally:Best advice I have is to (if you don't already have one) get a four year degree in business in case the shop has to close say, due to a change in regulations so you have something to fall back on.
    You may not be able to get your prior job back due to internal changes or your age.

    What happens if you have marital issues? It would be terrible to lose spouse and employment at the same time. Make sure you have some time of agreement that protects you down the road.

    #9 9 months ago

    Can't offer advise - but when I saw the picture here of the large led sign my first thought was what it'd give if you could connect it with a dmd extender to a pinball machine

    #10 9 months ago

    May I suggest you set up 2 pinball machines inside in the front part of the shop that are set on free play or low cost such as $0.25 or $0.50 per game for customers to play {and for employees to play during break time or when off the clock}.
    Perhaps machines like: Judge Dredd, The Getaway HS-II, TWD, WWFRR, ...and an e-m like Hocus Pocus so you can rip some spinners.

    And try to always have 1 to 3 machines available for sale that are in good working order.

    #11 9 months ago

    May want to train employees in first aid/cpr, and in dealing with heat stress/exhaustion and cold weather health concerns.

    Provide employees with business ethics training, harassment awareness training, data security training, and appropriate workplace safety training.

    Could train your employees on how to deal with situations when really bad people walk in pointing guns and demanding money.
    I realize you are in law enforcement, so I figure you have a handle on that kinda stuff.

    #12 9 months ago

    Just for fun, you might read my old friend Stephen Schottenfeld’s novel, BLUFF CITY PAWN, which is set in Memphis, and whose protagonist runs a struggling pawn shop. It’s fiction, but it offers a panoramic view of the pawn business in that particular town.

    amazon.com link »

    #13 9 months ago

    I really like that you have prices on items. Very professional.

    There’s a local pawn shop that you have to ask the price of everything, and when you do the store owner pulls up the past eBay sales to decide what price to charge you for the product. He doesn’t have a clue what he all has, or what any of it is worth. If the product is unique then you might get a good deal, but that’s only if he can’t find an eBay price to quote.

    For customers bringing stuff in (I’ve only tested retro games) he pulls up the price charting website and decides his price biased on The lowest amount there. Which is always lower then eBay prices.

    If you call him out on it, and tell him to use the same website for both evaluations then he gets all pissie with the customer.

    Example. You want to trade Mario 2 for Mario 3. He looks on price charting to see the valu for mario 2 (let say it’s $5). The monitor is in view of the customer so you can see the price of $5 too. Right next to it you can see mario 3 valued at (let’s say $10). But he will close that webpage open eBay if front of you and search previously sold items. Then he will say that his mario 3 is worth (let’s say $35). When waiting for him to search eBay I can also search eBay on my phone to see that mario 2 is worth (let’s say $30). But he will offer you $5 on trade credit and then charge you $35 plus tax. I understand that pawn shops need to make money but use the same evaluation process for comparison.

    #14 9 months ago
    Quoted from Grinder901:

    I’d love any thoughts or tips.

    Try and remember to promote the benefits of your shop in your marketing message.

    This is good: Get More Money. Get Items for Less.

    Those are 2 benefits of coming to your shop.

    This is doesn't mean much or help much: Get the Advantage.

    So perhaps as an exercise, I'd brain storm a list of what the benefits of coming to your shop are. You would know this. Figure out "the why" people come in, and use that to promote yourself. Speak to those needs and benefits you offer.

    #15 9 months ago

    Make sure you clarify your role, responsibilities, renumeration with your father in law.
    Working in a family business is hard.
    Another key is to make the employees respect you by being a hard/smarter worker as they will initially resent the son in law coming in as their new boss. (I am the son of a business owner, so have been through it)
    Good luck!

    #16 9 months ago

    A friend of mine has a pawn shop and he can't keep up with online sales. Prices are right and he can't seem to get enough merchandise in to supply the demand. Lots of people out there sitting on the internet looking for specific stuff, so I say make sure you have an online store( ebay?, facebook marketplace) easy to spread your name...good or bad.
    -Mike

    #17 9 months ago

    I hope it works out for you.As for me I used to work for my dad in his Pawn shop for over 6 years. I still have nightmares about some of the people I encountered. Good luck.

    #18 9 months ago
    Quoted from extraballingtmc:

    No credit.
    Don’t do business with friends.

    I 100% agree with the NO credit, but if you can't trust your friends then they are not friends to begin with. You know who you can trust and who you can't. My portfolio of business is 25% friends and has been very beneficial to my business.

    #19 9 months ago
    Quoted from Grinder901:

    I’ll def give deals and take care of people, friend or stranger but def no credit.

    But it says "LOANS" on the front of your building.

    #20 9 months ago
    Quoted from SirScott:

    But it says "LOANS" on the front of your building.

    I'm assuming they get some collateral for those loans.

    #21 9 months ago

    Contract. You may have every intention of being in that family forever. But shit happens. Make sure that you are getting equity in your name for what you are doing. Don't rely on a handshake and a good word.

    #22 9 months ago

    It can be very hard to work in a family business. In my case I worked with my parents, 4 siblings, an aunt and uncle, 2 brother-in-laws and 2 cousins. I gave it 20 years before I finally went completely mad.
    Tread carefully and as gambit3113 said "contract".

    #23 9 months ago
    Quoted from gambit3113:

    Contract. You may have every intention of being in that family forever. But shit happens. Make sure that you are getting equity in your name for what you are doing. Don't rely on a handshake and a good word.

    First hand experience on that one.

    LTG : )

    #24 9 months ago

    I cannot agree more with many of the above posts. Family and money can mix like water and oil.

    Make sure your responsibilities, compensation, schedule, etc. is in writing/made clear so everyone is on the same page.

    Working for yourself can have its advantages, but it often brings some headaches. I've worked for the family, I've worked for other people, but at the end of the day working for myself was the best decision I could have made. Hopefully your journey can get you to that point.

    Great ideas with the promotion of the shop via websites/social media/online approaches. Best way to get exposure today. Best of luck going forward!

    #25 9 months ago

    A few years ago, I was told by a guy that's been in the pawn business for a LONG time, that it wasn't what it used to be and that pawn was on the decline. Quick/predatory loan shops have really put a dent in the business, as people don't pawn things like they used to (he said).

    #26 9 months ago

    I want to thank everyone for taking the time to post. It was scary to leave my job but I was burned out and not happy. I felt like I was settling. I have a four year degree but hell, I got it in Criminal Justice with a minor in History. To be honest, I’ve been wearing a uniform since I was 17 (Marines and Sheriff’s Office combined) and I’m tired of it.

    This may be a mistake but I’m going to give it my all and we’ll see and evaluate things after a year. I have made some positive impacts on the store in a short time. I can’t imagine how it’ll be after a whole year of being there. The crew there see how hard I’m working (I came in today on my off day and worked all day just to clean and organize the layaway and back room storage areas). I know I need to pace myself so I don’t burn out but I’m excited and just want to be an asset.

    I have some ideas on how we can bring in more revenue for the store by starting a litigation loan business along side the pawn store. We’ll see. We have been doing pay day loans but have been phasing it out as it has been more headaches for him than it’s worth.

    #27 9 months ago

    Not sure how much experience you have in the shop, but you should start at the very bottom.

    When I was 14, I started to work in the family business during the summers. My brother made it very clear to every employee there, that they were my boss.

    #28 9 months ago

    That’s exactly what I am. I’m just an employee learning the business. My experience is limited and I’m learning more every day

    #29 9 months ago

    I think there is a new reality TV series starting about family business being handed down to the children Called blood money but not positive in the name

    #30 9 months ago
    Quoted from Trekkie1978:

    Not sure how much experience you have in the shop, but you should start at the very bottom.
    When I was 14, I started to work in the family business during the summers. My brother made it very clear to every employee there, that they were my boss.

    This. You have to know what every employee deals with every day. You do that and you're halfway there without breaking a sweat

    #31 9 months ago
    Quoted from Grinder901:

    I want to thank everyone for taking the time to post. It was scary to leave my job but I was burned out and not happy. I felt like I was settling. To be honest, I’ve been wearing a uniform since I was 17 (Marines and Sheriff’s Office combined) and I’m tired of it.

    I admire your gumption & believe everything will work out for you in the end. After donning the uniform for so long, I think you deserve a different type of work stress from here on out. Good luck in your future endeavors!

    2 weeks later
    #32 8 months ago

    You wearing a fedora yet? Any pics?

    #33 8 months ago

    Congrats!! People like yourself, with your passion and work ethic are usually successful no matter what they do. Best of luck!

    #34 8 months ago

    1a) thanks for your service, all of it
    1B) see 1a)
    2) mod your store like you mod your games and you’ll be fine
    3) stay consistent with everyone, in the store, customers, everyone. set the example. Sounds like you’re doing it already.
    4) patience and realize that every minute you spend working, building the website, etc is all part of a cohesive effort. Important to remember when you’re doing a task that does not seem to translate directly to revenue.

    #35 8 months ago

    You'll do fine. You're willing to ask for advice and you listen to it, that's huge, Most people think they know everything and have to do things their way. Just curious, does the shop specialize in anything particular? You might want to highlight that on your sign or cards. Since you are on Pinside you must be a pin owner or collector. Why not combine business with pleasure and advertise "pinball machines wanted" to your customers?

    #36 8 months ago

    Hey thanks everyone. Every day I’m there my goal is to make progress in some way to better the store. That could be getting customers to leave reviews/recommendations for others to see and read or just cleaning, organizing and merchandising the store better.

    As I clean and organize the mess that the back storage areas are, I find items that had been lost in the system or forgotten by the staff, we pull it and put it out for sale and it almost always sells immediately. It could be something as simple as a complete Makita drill set or a 70 inch smart Vizio TV.

    We have a pretty huge parking lot so I’m wanting to organize some food trucks to come by like on a Friday or Saturday and maybe tap into some of our long time regular customers who are also musicians to play some music outside during the day. I think it’ll be fun for the regulars as well as possibly drive new ones to the store.

    Check out the Facebook page and give me some feedback if you have time and feel like it. On it I list interesting or cool items for sale plus I’ve posted videos of myself giving a tour of the store and even a blind 78 year old bass player who wanted to test out some of our guitars.

    https://www.facebook.com/advantagepawntn

    #37 8 months ago

    Probably too late for this critique since orders have likely been placed, but you should definitely try to have more consistency in your logo across your marketing materials. Magnets, business cards, Facebook, etc... all of them should have the same logo as the sign in front of your business. I do freelance design work fairly cheap as I don't rely on it to pay my bills. If you'd like some help feel free to reach out! Best of luck to you and your family!

    #38 8 months ago
    Quoted from Camvr2013:

    Probably too late for this critique since orders have likely been placed, but you should definitely try to have more consistency in your logo across your marketing materials. Magnets, business cards, Facebook, etc... all of them should have the same logo as the sign in front of your business. I do freelance design work fairly cheap as I don't rely on it to pay my bills. If you'd like some help feel free to reach out! Best of luck to you and your family!

    Thanks! I’m def open to critiques and help. I’m not an expert and but I’m a fast learner. The thing is we (my father in law) don’t have a true logo for the store. He had a diamond on his last business cards and he said he wanted the new ones to look the same as the old ones.

    I took a picture of the store and I’ve used that on our Facebook page and magnets for the customers. I’ll PM you but I’m totally open to any ideas or thoughts you have to make it a better store.

    Side note: so we have all this smart tech in the store (chromecast sticks, roku devices, echos, google home devices,etc). And the truth is our employees didn’t know what they were and had no experience in using them. When I started I immediately hooked up one of the echos we had for sale to the store’s WiFi. The customers loved seeing us talk to it and they began selling so well that we are currently sold out of them. I connected rokus to some of the TVs to show customers how easy it is to plug in and turn any tv into a smart tv. It’s funny that the TVs with the rokus inserted sell over and over again. I even plugged in an iHome smart plug across the store and put a oscillating fan into the plug. Using the echos and google homes to turn the device off and on has led to several sales of the plugs.

    The father in law and I sat down before I started and he told me he wanted me to “make things happen”. Don’t just wait for things to come in or for customers to walk in, do things proactively to help the store. I think about that daily and I’m def trying my best.

    #39 8 months ago
    Quoted from Pinballmike217:

    You'll do fine. You're willing to ask for advice and you listen to it, that's huge, Most people think they know everything and have to do things their way. Just curious, does the shop specialize in anything particular? You might want to highlight that on your sign or cards. Since you are on Pinside you must be a pin owner or collector. Why not combine business with pleasure and advertise "pinball machines wanted" to your customers?

    Thank you. No we honestly try to be a one stop shop and carry as much as we can to attract a cross section of customers. We have the tools, both hand, power and land scaping. We have a huge selection of jewelry. We sell fire arms. We have electronics like TVs, laptops and tablets. Our biggest obstacle is space. We need more space for the show room as well as for the storage. Due to some zoning changes, we can’t expand apparently. I plan to look into that too.

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