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Apr 18, 2018

Jamie Smith left the banking industry and started a payday advance and check cashing store with his wife, Amber. The business grew in 2 locations. They also started an Ebay business selling coins and bullion, which eventually grew into one of Ebay’s most successful retailers in that category, achieving Titanium top-rated seller status. In April 2013, they opened their first pawn store, Allied Pawn, in Dubuque Iowa and business has been great. Over the last 10 years, Jamie has learned from some of the top pawnbrokers, jewelers, coin dealers and marketers in the world. He has used his experience to grow his business and developed his unique approach to grow Allied Pawn to one of the most successful pawn stores in the west.


[02:01] A shift in the business territory caused Jamie and his wife to look at other options and he decided to go into the pawn business based on his experience with coins, gold and lending


[03:02] What are the laws governing pawn in Iowa? We have no law. Operating under a city ordinance, there’s a 5-day hold on buys (precious metals), we charge 25% and Iowa has no mandated pawn hold period, but we hold our loans for 30 days.”  


[04:39] What are the 5 tips for growing your business successfully?

  1. Seek out a business mentor
  2. Say YES more often (have a high-risk tolerance)
  3. Seek out some of your affluent customers
  4. Utilize strong marketing (SEO, Search, Social Media)
  5. Be willing to sell your merchandise fast


[07:00] Mentors challenge you to think differently about the business  


[08:16] How do you market to the affluent to get the big loans? Use advertising towards them, like print, join clubs and organizations and network with the right people


[09:22] Read at least one book from the No B.S series of books by Dan Kennedy. No BS Marketing to the Affluent is especially great.


[10:25] Even when you think spending a ton of money on SEO will make your business successful, there are times when it gives you traffic but it does not convert to actual sales


[12:20] There is a coin dealership that Jamie runs around the back, while Amber handles day-to-day activities in the storefront  


[13:00] Why is it so important to be involved politically? Like my good friend and mentor, Greg Angstrom will tell you, ‘Being involved in politics is insurance’”


[14:04] Joining the NPA and a state association is essential


[14:49] Realizing that to get to be a successful entrepreneur, there are certain improvements that you would need in your life


[15:32] Two books that you would recommend that made an impact in your store and business:


[17:47] What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your five years of the pawn business? Practicing “buy low, sell high”


[18:24] What do you do to create the culture that you have in your business? The business atmosphere is relaxed and the team gets bonuses every now and then


[20:04] You have to be very careful of your surroundings regarding threats to the pawn business. Joining the NPA helps you with the changes happening around you


[21:30] There are many ways you can minimize risks in your pawn business


[22:37] Closing advice

“Say yes more often and see the impact it has on your business