An open letter to my friends, students and clients – Beware of fraud

My dear friends, students and client,

Some subjects are more fun to write about than others. But when a subject comes along that is unpleasant it still has to be dealt with in an upfront and timely manner regardless of how unpleasant it is. Therefore today I have to make my clients and students aware that I have become aware that there may be an individual calling around pawnshop businesses saying he is connected with either me or my business MIMPSS. Let me state categorically that nothing is further from the truth. At this present time I have authorized no one to use my name or the name of my business in a business transaction. So my dear friends, clients and students if you get a call from anyone other than me that mentions my name or the name of MIMPSS please take note that this is a fraudulent call.  Also please contact me so I can be aware of these calls.

And may I say to the person or persons involved in illegally using my name that I am aware you are out there. I am investigating these incidents as I write and and if I can compile sufficient evidence I will have you prosectued to the full extent that the law allows.

My friends sudents and clients I am sorry to have to burden you with this matter but it must be addressed.

Sincerely,

Isabel

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When starting a business, learn to use the free media

Starting a business of your own is difficult at best. You will enter the landscape very disadvantaged. You probably don’t have the capital you need. You probably don’t have the name recognition you would like. And you have to compete with established business community. So, how will you manage to get through the maze that stands before most entrepreneurs in the Philippines?

First, you must have a business model. What product or services are you going to sell and who are you going to sell to? Is there a demand for what you are selling? Is there a societal need for your product and services? There has to be.

An important part of any business model is advertising. Just how do you plan to reach the public to offer your product or services? The traditional media of television, radio and newspapers are areas where the established businesses have a big advantage over an entrepreneur entering the business world. Of course, TV and radio advertisements are out of reach for someone with a limited budget. Newspapers may work for some applications but still they can be expensive and still only have a limited reach. For instance, a newspaper advertisement placed in Metro Manila, where I live, will not get you any exposure in the provinces.

So how will you reach the public? Try the free media! There is a new media today that is overturning the old established media business. You have an example of it right here as you read this article. I am writing to you using my free WordPress blog. This is a place where I talk about the pawnshop industry which is my field of business. I often talk of my pawnshop skill training courses of gold and diamond assessing , my pawnshop management courses, pawnshop regulations and the general trends of the pawnshop industry. I have made valuable contacts through this blog and it has a much larger reach than a newspaper. Indeed, I get mail from around the world. And it is all free.

Another internet site that has been of help to me is Sulit.com.ph. Through their business model they allow me free advertisements. Once again, these ads have a much larger reach than newspapers. And since they are free too they fit my budget perfectly.  And once again, I have made valuable contacts through Sulit.com.ph

So while starting a business is a daunting task. Remember that the internet is changing the way people do business. It offers a variety of ways to reach more people for free. You don’t even have to have internet access or a computer as you can access the internet from a café. The free media is something an entrepreneur has to be aware of. It may not be the ultimate success of your business – your skills and product will determine that.  But it does not hurt to be able to reach the public free. So whatever your business is – what are you waiting for?  Get a free WordPress blog and start advertising on Sulit.com.ph today for free.

I only offer WordPress.com and Sulit dot.com as examples because I use them. There many free blogging and advertising sites. You have to do the research and find the sites that work for you. Good Luck!

Appraisal skills are key to a pawnshop’s success

The last several years have been a good period for pawnshop industry. Unfortunately, even in this very good business atmosphere for pawnshops I have seen clients badly hurt by not implementing and following the basic and proven proper pawnshop management procedures. This always pains me because by the time I get to such a client much damage to the business has already been done. Fortunately, I have been able to help the client the implement proper procedures to help save the business.

One of the central tenants of MIM Pawnshop Skills and Services is the proactive approach to pawnshop management.  I believe the best defense is a good offense. Pawnshops have to employ the basic strategies that have made pawnshops a successful industry from the beginning.  One of those basic strategies is properly trained appraisers.

The central concept of operating a pawnshop is to lend money in exchange for collateral. In order to lend money for collateral a loan value must assigned to the item the pawner brings in and in order to set the loan value a proper appraisal must be made.

Experience teaches that assessing ones staff’s appraisal skills is big factor in the success of a pawnshop. Appraisers can be key to a successful pawnshop business. They can make the difference between success and failure. What makes successful appraisers? They need the confidence and motivation that can only come from proper procedural training that gives them a foundation of knowledge to carry out their tasks. They also need to keep their skills updated.

Following proper procedure on jewelry and precious metals cannot be overemphasized. The picture you see at the top of the page is a picture of a FAKE gold chain accepted by numerous pawnshops in the Phillipines. This fake gold was even was accepted by some of the big pawnshop chains that should really know better.  Do not let this happen to you. Following the proper appraisal procedures would have detected this metal as fake and saved the pawnshops some lost revenue.

Accepting electronic gadget items can also be profitable for a pawnshop provided that the appraisers have the proper knowledge and skill to perform an appraisal. It is especially important that the appraiser have updated knowledge on electronic items such as laptop computers, digital cameras, cell phones and even original watches. Appraisers must have updated knowledge on all models, makes and their prices so when the item is foreclosed it is easy to sell. They have to stay on the pawnshop motive on “how fast can you sell the items” when foreclosed. This gives the best return for your investment.

Whether you are talking about diamond appraisals, precious metals appraisals or electronic gadget appraisals, MIM Pawnshop Skills and Services appraisal training courses outperforms its competitors. My training is part lecture but very much a hands-on course that takes the student from the beginning to the end of a procedure. I believe in the hands-on method where the more you practice a skill the better you get at it. I believe that a hands-on approach to training works especially well for adult students. After a hands-on training course adult students come away with better skills than an all lecture course.

I go over the material as often as is necessary and I am always there to guide and answer questions. I have been in the pawnshop industry my entire adult life and I take pride in teaching the procedures that have worked for me throughout my career. I know these procedures will work for you. Finally, I take the right amount of time on a subject and cover the points necessary to perform proper appraisals of gold and diamonds.

If you are an established pawnshop, my appraisal training courses will give your staff the confidence and motivation that leads to more accurate appraisals that go to your profit margin.

We also have appraisal training courses for those who are interested in getting into the pawnshop industry or those wanting to start a small capital home-based business. My training will give you the confidence you need to get you started.

Please feel free to use the contact form below to contact me by email to inquire about any of MIM Pawnshop Skills and Services’ training programs.

Bold Philippines pawnshop heists continue

When it comes to pawnshop security, the best defense is a good offense. If you own a pawnshop, make sure you understand that it

FILE. An employee looks at the vault of a pawnshop in Barangay Damayan after robbers broke into it using an acetylene torch

is up to the you to protect your businesses. MIM Pawnshop Sills and Services always promotes being a proactive business owner. Experience teaches that it is important that a pawnshop owners learn to assess their businesses for its shortcomings

Back in 2010, we posted an article on pawnshop security when a rash of bold robberies of pawnshops were being reported on by the Philippine media. It is titled: Is your Pawnshop secure? If you are a pawnshop owner we recommend you read it. We think the article is still timely and has the basic common sense information a pawnshop owners can use to protect their businesses. For certain, the topic is still timely as you can see by the article below from philSTAR.com. Unfortunately, this trend of brash robberies still has momentum in the Philippines. This momentum is likely to continue, and possibly increase, as jewelry prices increase due to the rise of gold and silver prices.

If you, as a pawnshop owner, feel you need help to understand the security issues involved in the pawnshop business, be sure to contact MIM Pawnshop Skills and Services to set up a consultation appointment. Pawnshop management is our business and we can bring you the information you need to keep your pawnshop secure. We support a proactive approach that identifies the deficiencies before they hit your bottom line.

From philSTAR.com

MANILA, Philippines – Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo warned local officials yesterday on the new modus operandi used by criminals in robbing jewelry shops, pawnshops and banks.

Based on the information provided by Chamber of Pawnshops of the Philippines, Robredo said local and police officials should be on alert when individuals take out leases on vacant business space beside, above, or behind an existing pawnshop, bank or jewelry shop.

He said these groups start their operations at night, especially on long weekends, by disconnecting the alarm system and security camera first then drilling through the adjoining walls to gain entry.

“After which, they will forcibly open the vault with a portable acetylene torch and cart away valuable materials such as cash and jewelry,” he added.

In case there are no vacant spaces for rent close to the establishment and if it is located near creeks or waterways, Robredo said these syndicates resort to forcible entry, underground tunneling or passing through a big drainage system along the street in front of the target establishment.

“In this case, they open the floor of the vault of the pawnshop as an entry point,” he said. Robredo called on all barangay officials, as chairpersons of the barangay peace and order committee, to immediately mobilize on a regular basis their barangay tanods for routine patrols during the night until the wee hours of the morning.

“Barangay officials should closely coordinate with and immediately report to the local police any suspicious movements or persons roaming in areas near the said establishments so that the latter can undertake more in depth surveillance and make the necessary arrests,” he said.

1st Batch on Gadget Appraisal Training

1st Batch Gadget Appraisal TrainingCONGRATULATIONS  – MIMPSS – 1st Batch Graduates for Gadget Appraisal Training!

1) Mr. Lino Naguit – Sta. Monica Pawnshop, Inc. (San Fernando Pampanga)

2) Monette Mangulabnan – Sta. Monica Pawnshop, Inc. (San Fernando Pampanga)

3) Gretchen Pagcu  –  Sta. Monica Pawnshop, Inc. (San Fernando Pampanga)

4) Helen Romero –   HTR Pawnshop (FloridaBlanca, San Fernando Pampanga)

5) Angielet Tolentino  –  Rural Bank Luisiana

6) GlaizT. Balahadia – Rural Bank Luisiana

7) Maurine P. Villamor – Rural Bank Luisiana

MIM Pawnshop Skills and Services – Diamond Appraisal Course

MIM Pawnshop Skills And Services

What is the value of a diamond? If you own a pawnshop or want to buy and sell diamonds it is a critical question that your profit margin depends on.

The answer to the question is that appraising diamonds is a complex task. It is a task that only an appraiser with skill and experience can answer. There is no room for mistakes.

That is why training is so critical when it comes to diamond appraisal. Training is the process of developing skills in order to more effectively perform a specific task. It emphasizes achieving a certain level of skill attainment. The goal of the training is to teach someone to be able to successfully perform procedures such as appraising diamonds and precious metals. In return, a positive return on investment comes from the benefits gained by applying the new knowledge, skills, and information.

A Diamond appraisal procedure involves multiple skills. This is where the training from MIM Pawnshop Skills and Services outperforms its competitors. My training for diamond appraisal is very much a hands-on course that takes the student from the beginning to the end of a procedure. I believe in the hands-on method where the more you practice a skill the better you get at it. Some may believe that is old-fashioned but in my experience it works best. Hands-on training is also a method proven to be effective when training adult students. After a hands-on training course the student come away with better skills than in an all lecture course.

I go over the material as often as is necessary and I am always there to guide and answer questions. I have been in the pawnshop industry my entire adult life and I take pride in teaching the procedures that have worked for me throughout my career.  I know these procedures will work for you. Finally, I take the right amount of time and cover the points necessary to perform proper appraisals of gold and diamonds.

MIM Pawnshop Skills and Services Appraisal Diamond appraisal courses include a thorough covering of procedures to appraise 4 C’s of a diamond.  The 4 Cs are the most important and relevant points when determining the quality of a diamond.

CARAT WEIGHT

 
Carat is the unit of weight for all gemstones. One carat is subdivided into 100 “points”. Therefore a diamond measuring 75 points is 3/4 carat in weight, or 0.75ct. There are five carats in a gram.

carat – weight

 CUT 

When applied to diamonds, the term “cut” simply refers to the cut of the diamond. The “Cut” of a diamond ensures that a given stone has maximum brilliance and sparkle which would not be the case if the stone cut for weight alone.

The overall cut grade is assigned on a scale from Excellent to Poor and depends on the proportions, angles, polish and symmetry of the facets. If any one feature is out of line the entire cut grade is affected. An excellent cut grade is preferred as it maximizes the diamond’s light performance. A low cut grade is often assigned to diamonds that are too shallow or too deep which results in lower shine.

 

diamond shapes

 

COLOR

Ideally, a diamond should have no color at all, like a drop of spring water. Increasing degrees of body color are measured on a scale ranging from no color at all (D) to deeply colored (Z). Beyond “Z” is the range where the diamond’s color is vivid and rich, called “fancy colors”.

Diamond Color Examples  

CLARITY

A diamond’s clarity is determined by the number, nature, position, size and color of internal characteristics called “inclusions” and surface features called “blemishes”. These irregularities occurred when nature created the diamond and show themselves as the various characteristics which make up the clarity of a diamond (included crystals, feathers, clouds etc).

Clarity is measured on a scale ranging from pure (flawless) to heavily included (I-3). The clarity of a diamond is graded by using 10X magnification under good lighting by an experienced grader. The final clarity grade is usually determined by how easy the inclusions and blemishes are for the grader to see.

diamond clarity chart

 

Other procedures included in the Diamomd appraisal course are

1.      The Procedure in testing gold

2.      The Procedure in appraising gold

3.      How to determine the approximate current price range of diamond’s loan / market value.

If you own a pawnshop or want to buy and sell diamonds, do not leave your appraisals to chance. There is no room for mistakes when appraising diamonds. MIM Pawnship Skill and Services Diamond Appraisal Course is designed to teach the appraiser how to precisely determine the price of a diamond by following step-by-step procedures.

You can contact me by using the form below or see the contact page above for other contact information.

Online Pawnshop gets big Capital Boost and Face Change

By Jerry Whitehead

Pawnshop Consulting Group Inc.

June 7, 2011

Interesting Piece on Todd Hills the Founder of Jumping Jack Cash Pawn and now the first true Internet Pawn Lending site, way to go Todd!

Next Big Thing in E-Commerce? Groupon Founders Fund Online Pawn Shop.

Grupon founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, who have famously extracted all sorts of money from the soon-to-IPO deals start-up and now run an investment group called Lightbank, are onto the next big thing in e-commerce: Pawn shops.

Lightbank recently led a $2.3 million Series B round for a company that has been renamed Pawngo. Previously, Pawngo was one of the only internet pawn shops around, and it was called Internet Pawn. The two big differences between Pawngo and Internet Pawn are: The new site is much less sketchy looking, and Pawngo will give you a valuation for your valuables online rather than making you send them in before hearing what they’re worth.

Internet Pawn launched in August 2009 and had written approximately 1,000 loans worth $1.4 million. Lightbank founder-in-residence Kevin Leland came across the company, helped hook up the deal, and has now joined as VP of marketing.

The Pawngo business model, as CEO Todd Hills explained it, is aimed at people who need between $1,500 and $15,000. They send in information about items they wish to pawn and Pawngo’s valuation lab in Denver returns an estimate within an hour. The items get shipped to Pawngo’s vault, and loans are built to last three to six months. Pawngo nets a “monthly option charge” to keep the item (it can’t call it interest because it’s not a bank) of three to six percent per month.

On an APR basis it’s a big number but these aren’t long-term loans,” said Hills, a veteran of the pawn industry. “We don’t have experience with the inventory side but we do with data-driven marketing and user experience,” Leland said of Lightbank.

“There’s nothing shady about using something you already own to get cash quickly,” Leland added. “We’ll loan up to $100,000 in 24 hours, which is something no bank would ever do.”

Historically, 90 percent of Internet Pawn users returned to pick their assets up, but eventually if Pawngo is a big enough business it may set up an online storefront to sell unretrieved items, Hills and Leland said.

Pawngo has now raised a total of $4.5 million. Its core operations will remain in Denver, while marketing and customer service will come out of Chicago.