There are so many reasons that I’m proud of my Dad. Among them is the fact that he wrote a New York Times Bestselling book entitled For What it’s Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker. Now, anyone can enjoy the benefit of learning from him the way that I have. Here’s an excerpt:
YOU’RE HERE TO HELP PEOPLE
I know it might not be the first thing you think of when you think of a pawnshop, but I really do try to help people if I can. I’ve found some really loyal customers with that approach. One of my best relationships is with Cora McCann. She has pawned with us more than six hundred times over thirty years. She has diabetes and needs daily medications. Her disability checks didn’t always arrive on time and she needed cash to carry her over a few days so that she could pay for her medication. She would come in about every three weeks and pawn three TVs and a portable radio. We always gave her more money than the items were worth because we knew she needed us, and we knew we could help her out.
It sounds a little corny, but that’s my higher purpose: helping people–helping my customers, helping my community, helping my family and my employees’ families. Focusing on that gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps me working hard all day. And I think my employees work harder when they have that ideal in mind, too. Focusing on the reason your business exists will help you work harder, help you remember to do the right thing, and help you build a better business or be a better employee.
People know a lot more about business today than they used to, and they know especially that if you’re building something new, one bad interaction, one customer or client who walks away feeling mistreated, can ruin your reputation. Every conversation matters. That’s what I believe and that’s what I try to teach my employees. The only way to get a reputation for being trustworthy, is to be trustworthy–and then keep being trustworthy, for thirty or forty years. Focus on relationships, remember that the good guys will win in the end, ignore the voice of greed, and make sure that you deserve trust every single day. I believe I’ve done that at American Jewelry and Loan, and I believe it’s one of the secrets of my success.
Excerpted from For What it’s Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker by Les Gold