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CAPA Convention Recap
It was nearly 30 years ago as President of the Nevada Pawnbroker Association that I attended my first California convention. CAPA was formerly known as the CLSDA. Back in those days there was a new generation of pawnbrokers shaking the roots of original founders of the CLSDA. Today, CAPA is led by a dynamic group of board members fostering and protecting the industry.
As a vendor and former Pawnbroker, seeing the new generation of pawnbrokers emerging, it was a very interesting experience. There is change in the air!
The most interesting project to watch is the partnership between CAPA and the California Department of Justice – DOJ. The partnership centers around DATA. CAPA has decided they would prefer the DOJ to be the gateway collector rather than private industry providers like Leads Online. The daunting challenge that these interchanges have is the dissemination of this data information to all of the law enforcement agencies, which each have their own unique proprietary platforms. It’s like putting motorcycle engine into a Mack truck.
15 years ago our development team worked with Los Angeles Police Department in creating their platform for collection of information. We know this well as experts dealing with every 3 letter government agency. In the end, if the data is purposed for the intended audiences and utilized well it should serve the public well. CAPA is blazing the trails in this new era.
The convention offered the standard industry package. The main focus of pawn conventions from a vendors perspective is the Diamond buyers concourse. It’s amazing to me to see pawnbrokers selling to diamond brokers in this fashion. Over the counter transactions. Diamonds for Cash. Millions were exchanged.
The Gold Rush is over. California has the history of the Gold Rush. Pawnbrokers over the last 7 years made hay like the Gold Miners of the 1860’s. Today, we are all back to our regular jobs. The Pawn Industry in California is very much the same cottage industry. And there is nothing wrong with that (as long as you can protect your turf).
What is the ironic collision in the “Golden State” are the Pawnbrokers and Silicon Valley. Over the last 18 months nearly $500 million dollars of capital have been pumped into the secondary merchandise startups. As eBay and Amazon have become the world’s largest sellers of used merchandise, they have become the market. Wal-Mart is now the largest store merchant dealing in used merchandise in the world.
Technology investment looks for inefficiency. This is a basic premise of tech investment. This is one of Silicon Valley’s mantra. If there is a way to create a mouse trap that creates efficiency, this is where the pocket of gold lies. Attracts the capital. Attracts entrepreneurs. And if they are lucky with their vision and execute well, they cause disruption. Like Uber has done most recently to the Taxi Cab industry. Are Pawnbrokers efficient?
Wal-Mart is not a retail store. They are systems company. They are the most efficient product exchange in the world. This is a well-documented history. Sam Walton created the most sophisticated warehousing network utilizing computing resources and network. Wal-Mart’s disruptive business processes are delivered through technology. Wal-Mart is on now their way to becoming the exchange station of used products to cash. Like Pawnbrokers.
As business people, we all see obstacles each and every day and we have to choose which one to focus on. Where our time should be focused. The biggest bang for our buck with the limited amount of resources and time. What are you focused on?
I have always believed that the Pawn Industry severely lags in many areas of inefficiencies. The major reason for this lag is that we are slow to react because pawn brokering is a lucrative craft.
With the advent of our Industry exposure with reality TV, we now have Lucrative Craft + Inefficiency = Major Target of More Competition.
Start keeping your eyes open and share what you see on your forums to create awareness. Wal-Mart is easy to see, but there are hundreds of incremental competitors poaching your business.
It’s time to start putting your energy into ways to be the most efficient. One more time… It’s time to start putting your energy into ways to be the most efficient.
Many of you know me, some have heard of me, and for some, this might be the first time you have read my blog. My advice has always been…
Get better at what you do every day. In the pawn business don’t strive to be better than other pawnbrokers. Rather, strive to be better than the best lender and retailer.
My vision, the things I do every day, the products that I build, are all intended to put you into a leading position for the next 100 years.
I believe if done well the best days of pawnbrokering are in front of us.